Other relevant commitments
Opportunities for Young Canadians
The Liberal party has committed to invest $40 million each year to help employers create co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business programs. Additionally, they have committed to offer 12-month breaks on Employment Insurance premiums and will waive employer premiums for all those between ages of 18 and 24 who are hired into a permanent position in 2016, 2017, or 2018. ACEC member firms will thus be incentivized to create co-op positions and to hire young people.
The Liberal party has committed to encourage the construction of new rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing, to the tune of $125 million per year in tax incentives. ACEC member firms involved in housing construction may see some growth as a result of this.
The Liberal party has committed to develop a new climate change platform that will contrast with the preceding Conservative government’s policies. They do not offer many specifics, but they claim they will:
- Meet the provincial and territorial leaders within 90 days (i.e. before the end of January) to establish a pan-Canadian framework.
- Set national emissions-reduction targets while allowing provinces and territories to design their own programs to meet these commitments. These targets “must recognize the economic cost and catastrophic impact” of climate change.
- Create a Low Carbon Economy Trust ($2 billion) to provide funding for projects that materially reduce carbon emissions.
It is not clear what changes to the economy these commitments will require or how this will affect Canadian resource development. It is possible that firms involved in the fossil fuels industry will face challenges. Firms developing green infrastructure may see a boost from this policy.
The Liberal party has committed an investment of $100 million in clean technology products and $200 million more per year for the innovation and use of clean technologies in the natural resources sector, including forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture. They have also committed to encourage investment in energy saving retrofits to industrial, commercial and residential buildings. This may prove a boost to firms involved in clean energy technology, both as an opportunity to develop their own technology and techniques, and as an opportunity to be involved in retrofit contracts.
The Liberals have also committed to provide additional support to companies exporting clean technology. While ACEC encourages and supports all Canadian firms exporting engineering services, even the Liberals’ focused support could be an opportunity to receive training, data and technical assistance on export opportunities.
The United States and Mexico
The Liberal party has committed to reduce barriers to trade with the US and Mexico. Although the bulk of this is related to developing border infrastructure (i.e. so that goods can move more quickly), it is possible regulations concerning engineering services will be relaxed.
This may also provide an opportunity to convince the federal government to harmonize public procurement with the Brooks Act in the US which mandates the use of QBS.
Getting Canadian Goods to Market
The Liberal party has committed to “carefully consider” all trade opportunities as it recognizes that free trade agreements are good for the Canadian economy. The Liberal party has committed to explore closer trade relationships with “emerging and established markets, including China and India”. This will include an export promotion strategy that will help businesses take advantage of new trade agreements. This policy suggests that the Liberals will support the Trans-Pacific Partnership and give trade assistance to Canadian firms doing work overseas.
Promoting International Peace and Security
The Liberal party has committed to support international peace operations of the United Nations, giving emphasis to Canada’s strengths. This includes, but is not limited to, engineering services. It is possible Canada will provide foreign aid in the form of engineering services, which could benefit domestic firms.