April 21, 2015

 

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Federal Budget Update

Infrastructure investments and support for resource sector positive news for consulting engineers

 

The Honourable
Joe Oliver,
Minister of Finance

On April 21, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled the federal budget, Economic Action Plan 2015, in the House of Commons. As promised, the Minister presented a balanced budget in the lead-up to the federal election on October 19.

Prior to the release of the budget, ACEC participated in a stakeholders’ lock-up on Parliament Hill. Participation in the budget lock-up is by invitation and allows stakeholders and media to preview the budget document in advance of being tabled in Parliament.

Highlights

• New dedicated infrastructure fund to support the renovation, expansion and improvement of existing community infrastructure

• New investments in infrastructure – $750 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, and $1 billion annually ongoing thereafter for a new Public Transit Fund

• Investment in northern infrastructure and the resource sector

Investing in Infrastructure

Budget allocations include:

  • Building and renewing federal infrastructure: the government is providing $5.8 billion on a cash basis over six years, starting in 2014–15, to build and renew infrastructure assets and on-reserve schools across the country. Investments include:
    • $2.8 billion to support infrastructure improvements to heritage, tourism, waterway and highway assets located within national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas across Canada.
    • $500 million for the repair and construction of on-reserve schools.
    • $452 million to repair and upgrade Canadian Armed Forces facilities.
    • $440 million to expedite the replacement of border infrastructure.
    • Approximately $400 million to maintain, upgrade and construct federally owned buildings and other assets across Canada.
    • $380 million for major repairs and upgrading of federal laboratories and research facilities.
    • $288 million for repair and maintenance of small craft harbours.
    • $204 million to support enhancements to federally owned and operated airports as well as improvements to VIA Rail Canada Inc.’s rail infrastructure.
    • $191 million to undertake renewal and repairs of heritage and museum sites.
    • $183 million for the repair and procurement of vessels and small craft for the Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to support activities including search and rescue, science and conservation.
  • Under the New Building Canada Plan, the government continues to provide $5.35 billion per year on average for provincial, territorial and municipal infrastructure.
  • Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program: creation of a new dedicated infrastructure fund to support the renovation, expansion and improvement of existing community infrastructure in all regions of the country as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.

Investment in Transit Infrastructure

  • Support for major public transit projects: allocation of $750 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, and $1 billion annually ongoing thereafter for a new Public Transit Fund to promote public transit infrastructure investment in a manner that is affordable for taxpayers and efficient for commuters. 


Northern Development

  • Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to increase the borrowing limit for the Government of the Northwest Territories to $1.3 billion and for the Government of Nunavut to $650 million, upon Governor in Council approval.
  • Increasing the borrowing limits will give the territories greater flexibility in their fiscal planning as they consider future investments, including in infrastructure, to support ongoing resource development and economic growth. This is consistent with the Government of Canada’s Northern Strategy and is yet another step towards unlocking the North’s economic potential.
  • This additional borrowing room would support these governments in their planning to grow their economies and promote Northerners’ long-term prosperity.

Supporting the Resource Sector

Supporting Junior Mineral Exploration
The budget affirms the Government’s intent to extend the 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year.

Supporting Jobs in Mining Through Geoscience Investments
Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $22 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to Natural Resources Canada to renew the Targeted Geoscience Initiative, with a focus on developing new in-depth geoscience knowledge to inform the exploration of deeper mineral deposits.

Cleaning up Federal Contaminated Sites
Building on work to date, Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $99.6 million over four years ($1.35 billion on a cash basis), starting in 2016–17, to renew support for the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan. The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan systematically assesses, remediates and monitors contaminated sites for which the Government is responsible.

More Good News for ACEC Members

Reducing Taxes for Small Businesses
The 2015 budget proposes to reduce the small business tax rate from 11 per cent to 9 per cent by 2019. This will be the largest tax rate cut for small businesses in more than 25 years. This 2-percentagepoint reduction will be phased in as follows:

  • 10.5 per cent effective January 1, 2016;
  • 10 per cent effective January 1, 2017;
  • 9.5 per cent effective January 1, 2018; and
  • 9 per cent effective January 1, 2019.

It is estimated that this measure will reduce taxes for small businesses and their owners by $2.7 billion over the 2015–16 to 2019–20 period.

Fostering Trade

  • Providing $50 million over five years for a program to share the cost of exploring new export opportunities with small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Providing $42 million over five years to expand the footprint and resources of the Trade Commissioner Service.
  • Creating an Internal Trade Promotion Office within Industry Canada to support efforts to renew the Agreement on Internal Trade.

Reducing Barriers to Internal Trade
The budget announces the creation of an Internal Trade Promotion Office within Industry Canada to support federal-provincial-territorial negotiations to strengthen the domestic economy by comprehensively renewing the Agreement on Internal Trade.

Contributing to the Safety of Energy Transportation Infrastructure
Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $80 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to the National Energy Board. These resources will contribute to safety and environmental protection, and enhance engagement with Canadians related to energy transportation infrastructure. This funding will be fully cost-recovered from industry.

Major Projects Management Office Initiative
Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $135 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of project approvals through the Major Projects Management Office Initiative. The Office will continue to provide a single window into the federal regulatory process and improve accountability to support the effective approval of major resource projects.

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. For details on Economic Action Plan 2015, please visit the Government of Canada’s Budget 2015 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.

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