Keeping our commitment to communities
The Liberal party has committed not to let funding lapse. The idea is that every dollar committed by the government will eventually be invested in communities, whether or not that dollar is spent within the fiscal year. The Liberal party has committed to do this by “automatically [transferring] any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund”. Therefore, if a municipality or province is unable to spend money because they lack the resources (e.g. administrative resources) to use that funding, they will still receive it in the end.
The Liberal party’s commitment to spend money it has committed to spend is commendable. It is important to make sure investments are actually made, instead of getting lost in an administrative logjam. But it is also important that this does not compromise procurement standards and practices. The Liberal party has committed to introduce “clear project criteria” for infrastructure spending, but it is not clear if these criteria will apply to money transferred to the Gas Tax Fund. Procurement standards exist for good reason and should not be circumvented by re-categorizing funding.
ACEC will encourage the Liberals to follow through with this promise so that funds do not lapse as has previously happened. It will be important to hold the Liberal government accountable in this regard.
ACEC will advocate to ensure that procurement reform will consider QBS and that it applies to all infrastructure funding so that funds diverted to the Gas Tax Fund are not inadvertently exempted from procurement best practices.