Report paints worrying picture of Canadian infrastructure

by Steve Randall10 Oct 2019

Canada needs to make significant investment in infrastructure to address aging and inadequate structures that communities rely on.

That’s the conclusion of a report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities which says there is an urgent need for long-term investment.

"We’re talking about roads, bridges, libraries, arenas and more—things Canadians rely on every day," said Bill Karsten, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). "Good, reliable infrastructure supports our quality of life in communities across the country, so Canadians should find these results concerning."

The federation’s 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card reveals that:

  • Nearly 40% of roads and bridges are in fair, poor or very poor condition, with roughly 80% being more than 20 years old;
  • Between 30% and 35% of recreational and cultural facilities are in fair, poor or very poor condition. In some categories (such as pools, libraries and community centres), more than 60% are at least 20 years old;
  • 30% of water infrastructure (such as watermains and sewers) are in fair, poor or very poor condition.

“This report shows the importance of long-term investments in renewing the infrastructure that’s already in our communities—even as we envision new projects to build,” President Karsten said. “For municipal leaders, the best way to do that is through the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer.”

The Gas Tax Fund transfer provides around $2 billion to 3,600 municipalities to enable local leaders to address the infrastructure challenges in their area. But the federation says it is not enough to fund all the projects that need investment.

“The Gas Tax Fund transfer works because it empowers local leaders on the ground who know what’s needed, and who have renewal projects ready to go,” President Karsten said. “Without action now, the services Canadians rely on today will be at risk in the next decade.”

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