Federal Budget 2013:
What it means for ACEC members
Minister of Finance
On March 21st in the House of Commons, the Honourable James Flaherty, Minister of Finance, tabled the federal government’s budget, Economic Action Plan 2013. With a focus on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, the budget introduces new initiatives including the largest and longest federal infrastructure plan in Canadian history. ACEC applauds the government for this significant investment in Canada’s future. In addition to infrastructure, other key themes include skills training and new investments to support manufacturing and innovation. The budget projects elimination of the national deficit by 2015-2016.
ACEC President John Gamble is interviewed by the media following the release of Budget 2013
ACEC’s President John Gamble participated in the Budget 2013 stakeholders’ lock-up on Parliament Hill. The lock-up allows invited stakeholders access to the budget before its official release to the Canadian public. As a participant in the lock-up, Mr. Gamble had access to senior officials in the Department of Finance who were on hand to answer questions related to the content of the budget. Mr. Gamble also participated in a media opportunity in Centre Block and gave a number of interviews with members of the press gallery.
The Big Story: Infrastructure Dollars
to Flow in 2014-2015
In committing to a long-term infrastructure program, the federal government has adopted a number of recommendations put forth by ACEC and its many partners. While this program in itself will not erase the infrastructure deficit in Canada overnight, it is nevertheless a step in the right direction and may form the basis for even more infrastructure investment once a balanced budget has been achieved. ACEC is particularly pleased to see a commitment of 10 years. This will help provide our industry and our partners with the confidence they need to invest in resources and expertise required to meet Canada’s infrastructure needs. ACEC looks forward to participating in the government’s review of the infrastructure plan within five years to ensure it is effective and provides value to Canadians.
The federal government has adopted a number of recommendations from ACEC and its many partners
The new Building Canada plan represents the largest and longest federal investment in provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure projects in Canadian history—$4.7 billion per year in new funding over 10 years, starting in 2014–2015.
The New Building Canada Plan
- Community Improvement Fund, consisting of the Gas Tax Fund and the incremental Goods and Services Tax Rebate for Municipalities, will provide over $32 billion to municipalities for infrastructure projects; Gas Tax Fund payments will be indexed at 2 per cent per year starting in 2014–15
- New Building Canada Fund; will provide $14 billion to support major economic projects
- Renewed P3 Canada Fund; will provide $1.25 billion to support innovative ways to build infrastructure projects faster and provide better value for Canadian taxpayers through public-private partnerships.
In addition to the new Building Canada plan, other infrastructure commitments in the budget include $7 billion over 10 years for investments in First Nations infrastructure and an additional $10 billion to fund federal infrastructure assets.
Key Federal Infrastructure Projects
- $124.9 million to build a bridge-causeway between Nuns’ Island and the Island of Montreal, as part of the New Bridge for the St. Lawrence that will replace the Champlain Bridge
- $25 million over three years to advance the Windsor-Detroit International Crossing project
- $54.7 million in 2013–14 to support VIA Rail’s operations and $58.2 million over five years to maintain passenger rail services for remote communities that have limited access to the national transportation network
- Up to $5 million in 2013–14 to support the rehabilitation of the Port Weller Dry Docks
- Further funding for the rehabilitation of the Parliamentary Precinct
- $248 million over five years to strengthen Canada’s meteorological services, which includes new investments in federal infrastructure
- $19 million in 2013–14 for improvements to highways and associated bridges that pass through Canada’s national parks.
In addition to the government’s commitment to infrastructure, a number of other initiatives will be of interest to ACEC members.
Skills Training and Job Creation
- $225 million to expand and extend the temporary Hiring Credit for Small Business for one year in recognition of the important role that small businesses play as job creators in the Canadian economy
- The Canada Job Grant will directly connect skills training with employers and jobs for Canadians: the Grant will be introduced by negotiating renewal of the $500-million-per-year Labour Market Agreements with the provinces and territories in 2014–15
- $19 million over two years to inform young people about fields of study that are relevant to existing and forecasted demand for labour in fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades.
Support for Small Business Owners
- $800,000 increase in the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption and indexing the new limit to inflation.
- Implementing economic and security initiatives to enhance perimeter security and facilitate legitimate trade and travel under the Canada-United States Beyond the Border Action Plan
- Enhancing Canada’s foreign trade zone policies and programs to strengthen our globally competitive business environment
- Extending Export Development Canada’s domestic activities in order to provide capacity in the domestic credit market to meet the needs of Canadian exporters, in a manner that complements private sector lenders
- Closing the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and transferring its mandate to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).
- Extending the 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year, at a net cost of $100 million.
Protection of the Environment
- $20 million in 2013–14 for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to continue to conserve ecologically sensitive land: each federal dollar will be matched by two dollars in new funding from other sources
- $4 million in 2013–14 to support marine conservation activities in Canada’s oceans
- Expanding tax relief for clean energy generation to include a broader range of equipment
- Amending the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to support the regulation of nuclear facilities by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission through cost-recovery from nuclear licence holders.
Research and innovation
- An additional $37 million annually to the granting councils in support of research partnerships with industry to create and deploy new technologies, products and services into the marketplace
- $20 million over three years to help small and medium-sized enterprises access research and business development services
- $325 million over eight years to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to support the development and demonstration of new clean technologies.
This communication has been prepared by ACEC for the convenience of its member firms. It is not intended as a comprehensive guide to the budget. To access Economic Action Plan 2013 and other official information about the budget, please visit the Government of Canada’s Budget 2013 website.
ACEC, the voice of consulting engineering in Canada, advocates for a business and regulatory climate that allows its members to provide a high level of service and value to their clients. For information on ACEC’s advocacy on behalf of its members, visit www.acec.ca.