The Honourable William F. Morneau, Minister of Finance, presented his second budget which expands on infrastructure commitments made in Budget 2016 to support Canadian communities making investments in their infrastructure and adapting to evolving patterns in transportation, green energy, smart and connected cities and affordable housing.
These commitments are expected to be delivered in part through the soon-to-be-created Canada Infrastructure Bank, which was announced in the Government's 2016 Fall Economic Statement. Aimed at leveraging expertise and capital of the private sector, the Canada Infrastructure Bank will support strategic, large and transformative projects through $35 billion in investments over 11 years, including $2.1 billion earmarked in the next five years for public transit and green infrastructure.
Budget 2017 also announces several measures revolving around infrastructure spending geared at Communities Built for Change, and aimed specifically at public transit, clean growth energy, social infrastructure and better-connected communities. It expands on prior commitments, notably by expenditures made available for better data collection and measurement of the success of public transit and housing initiatives, building an inclusive National Housing Strategy and launching the Smart Cities Challenge.
Key Budget 2017 announcements include:
- Establishing the Canada Infrastructure Bank by late 2017, with $35 billion in targeted investments over 11 years to support transformative projects.
- Implementing a National Housing Strategy to improve accessibility to affordable housing, including though a $5 billion National Housing Fund administered by CMHC.
- Deploying $300 million over 11 years for a Smart Cities Challenge encouraging Canadian cities to implement Smart Cities Plans improving the quality of urban life through green, clean and connected technologies.
- Supporting public transit infrastructure projects with $20.1 billion in funding over 11 years, to be deployed through bilateral agreements with Provinces and Territories.
Canada Infrastructure Bank
The Government is expanding on the previously announced Canada Infrastructure Bank and plans to entrust it with the mandate of investing at least $35 billion over 11 years, using loans, loan guarantees and equity investments in strategic, large and transformative projects such as regional transit plans, transportation networks and electricity grid interconnections. The Government plans on introducing enabling legislation shortly, targeting late 2017 for the Canada Infrastructure Bank to be up and running.
The announced deployment of these funds includes $5 billion for public transit systems, $5 billion for green infrastructure project (such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, delivering clean air and safe water systems and promoting renewable power) and $5 billion for trade and transportation priorities.
National Housing Strategy
Budget 2017 announces investments of more than $11.2 billion over 11 years allocated to a variety of initiatives targeted at Canada's inventory of affordable housing options as part of Canada's new National Housing Strategy. Developed through extensive consultation, the Strategy provides a roadmap for developments and stakeholders to obtain support in developing affordable housing offerings.
Developers and community organizers can look forward to a new $5 billion National Housing Fund, administered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to address critical housing issues and support vulnerable citizens, as well as targeted initiatives for Northern housing, Indigenous Peoples and combatting homelessness.
$3.2 billion over 11 years is earmarked for provinces and territories to support key priorities in affordable housing, such as construction or renovation of affordable housing units, rent subsidies and independent living solutions for seniors, disabled persons and other vulnerable individuals.
Smart Cities Challenge
The Government is proposing to provide Infrastructure Canada with $300 million over 11 years to launch the Smart Cities Challenge Fund, modeled after an existing U.S. competition, to invite Canadian cities to develop Smart Cities Plans to improve the quality of urban life through better planning and implementation of clean, digitally connected technology for greener buildings, smart roads and energy systems, and advanced digital connections for homes and business.
Winning cities will be selected through a process facilitated by the new Impact Canada Fund, a new mission- or "challenge"-based approach to focus and accelerate efforts toward solving Canada's big challenges. The Impact Canada Fund will focus on two problem-solving streams: clean technology and smart cities.
The Government is also announcing its plans to invest $20.1 billion over 11 years through bilateral agreements with Provinces and Territories, using an allocation based on ridership and population (each accounting for 70% and 30%, respectively, of the allocation formula).
Among the projects identified are:
- Stage 2 of the Ottawa LRT project;
- The Calgary Green Line LRT, connecting Keystone and Seton to the downtown core;
- Metrolinx's GO SmartTrack Project linking Scarborough and Etobicoke;
- Montreal's Réseau électrique métropolitain; and
- Vancouver's Broadway subway project, extending the Millenium Line SkyTrain.
Clean Growth Economy
Budget 2017 adds to prior commitments of the Government by introducing a plan to invest $21.9 billion in green infrastructure, including supporting the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Grown and Climate Change and a number of specific programs for clean and renewable energy and green infrastructure.
Social Infrastructure Funding
The Government also introduces a number of social infrastructure measures and programs aimed at supporting Canada's diversified arts and culture industry, including a $1.8 billion investment over 10 years, the bulk of which will be made available to Provinces and Territories as part of a second phase of social infrastructure funding.
Budget 2017 also includes $300 million over 10 years for the development of Canadian talent and support of entrepreneurialism in the arts and culture through investment in the newly announced Canada Cultural Spaces Funds for the construction, renovation and equipment needs of creative hubs.
Highlights of Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
Budget 2017 includes the proposed allocation of the Government's Investing in Canada initiative, with long-term infrastructure plans including the following expenditure over 5 years (2017 to 2022):
- $5.8 billion for Public Transit;
- $5.4 billion for Green Infrastructure;
- $3.5 billion for Trade and Transportation; and
- $5.4 billion for Social Infrastructure;
which will be delivered through a number of initiatives including bilateral agreements, the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the Smart Cities Challenge.