Budget 2017: Building smart cities

March 2017

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Smart cities. That’s what the 2017 budget is working towards as it picks up where the 2016 budget left off in terms of infrastructure. The federal government has a 10-year plan to spend $180 billion improving Canada’s aging infrastructure. In keeping with the theme of the entire budget, the Finance Minister was light on specifics with respect to how, when and where that money would be spent. Of course, in order to complete their 10-year plan, the Liberals need to be elected to two more terms, but that is another story. 

“The vision is to build stronger, more inclusive communities, with internet access for all, improved public transit, new hospitals, roads, highways, bridges, rail, ports, parks, museums, water and sewage plants, affordable housing and childcare spaces,” said David Mueller, partner and BDO’s Public Private Partnerships Leader. The larger projects will likely be public private partnerships that will benefit private companies, particularly in the construction industry, and the Canadian economy long term.”

The investment, when it comes, will create jobs and have a multiplier effect, with each dollar earned worth $10 in the economy. To date, 744 public transit projects, 746 clean water and clean wastewater projects, 1,030 projects to renovate or retrofit social housing and 6,000 housing units on reserve have been approved. 

“The government has targeted $11 billion to support a national housing strategy,” says Salmaan Alvi, partner and BDO’s Real Estate and Construction Leader. “This is the largest single commitment in the budget. It’s great news for the real estate and construction industries and Canada.” 

The infrastructure spends tie in with the government’s overall focus on building an innovation economy. Improved infrastructure, in the form of new highways to cut commute times, affordable housing and hospitals will help support the creation of innovation superclusters of people, business and academia in high tech, clean tech and advanced manufacturing. 

“This commitment to infrastructure is going to build a strong foundation for the economy,” says Mueller. “It’s smart planning.”

To learn more about the impact of the 2017 federal budget, watch BDO’s webinar Budget 2017: Business as usual? If you have any questions about the Federal Budget and how it may impact your business, please contact your local BDO office


The information in this publication is current as of March 27, 2017. 

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