01/21/2016

Minister Sohi, at today’s Toronto Region Board of Trade luncheon, broadly described the federal government’s approach that will marry economic growth and infrastructure work in both the short term and longer term.
He reiterated the government’s overall infrastructure commitment of $60 billion (through $20b in each of social infrastructure, green infrastructure and transit funds) as well as $10b over the next two years.

The Minister said there will be two approaches. The first is getting the $10b working for the economy now. He has dismissed the previous top heavy method and will speed up project approvals, noting that he trusts municipal governments to set priorities. At the same time, he wants “shovel ready and shovel worthy” projects. As such, he spoke to the importance of investing in maintenance deferral to extend the lifecycle of assets, using examples such as water and waste water, housing, upgrading bus fleets. The second approach is work on the longer term that sees a plan that is rooted in predictable, dedicated and transparent funding.

In addition to framing the infrastructure investment approach of both the short term and longer term, Minister Sohi was very forthright that he wants to work together. This was AMO’s message to both Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Sohi, as well as to the Premier and her Ministers. The Minister’s speech today opens the door further for more discussions on how the federal government’s approach and its perspective on collaboration will work in Ontario.