New report finds Canada’s public infrastructure ‘at risk’

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A recent report from a number of infrastructure-related associations shows a significant amount of public infrastructure in Canada is aging and in poor condition. It argues there is an urgent need for long-term investments in infrastructure renewal to meet the needs of Canadians.

The 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card examines the state of Canada’s public infrastructure. Among the key findings:

  • 30% of water infrastructure, such as watermains and sewers, are in fair, poor or very poor condition.
  • Nearly 40% of roads and bridges are in fair, poor or very poor condition.
  • Between 30% and 35% of recreational and cultural facilities are in fair, poor or very poor condition.

The Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA), one of the report’s producers, said that since municipal governments own and are responsible for maintaining the vast majority of Canada’s public infrastructure (more than two-thirds of all roads, over three-quarters of potable water assets, and more than 80% of wastewater assets) it strongly supports continued long-term federal investments in renewing existing infrastructure.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), another producer of the report, said that Gas Tax Fund transfers are the best way to fund municipal infrastructure investments.

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According to the FCM, the federal Gas Tax Fund delivers $2 billion directly to 3,600 municipalities for infrastructure renewal each year.

“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,” said FCM president Bill Karsten in a press release. “For municipal leaders, the best way to do that is through the federal Gas Tax Fund transfer.”

According to the CPWA the report shows that while larger municipalities have increasingly adopted a strategic approach to managing infrastructure assets, there is a need to continue supporting smaller municipalities with funding and technical support to adopt asset management practices.

“Support for asset management, particularly for small communities who often lack capacity to undertake important planning activities, has been a CPWA priority for many years and will yield long-term benefits,” said CPWA president Chris Hamel in a press release. “We welcome continued investments to assist infrastructure owners in maintaining and operating infrastructure assets effectively.”

The 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card is produced by the following organizations. Reports were also produced for the years 2012 and 2016.

Click here to download the report card and click here to read the original press release.

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