Year in Review 2023

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. 2023 brought many opportunities for ACEC to ensure your voices are heard in Ottawa. Below are four selected highlights of our work to advocate for our member firms and promote public policies that benefit the consulting engineering industry.

Advancing Your Priorities in Budget 2023

As a trusted and influential partner to the federal government, ACEC continued outreach with parliamentarians and officials over the past year, with emphasis on advancing the National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), a national infrastructure corridor, and Qualifications-Based Selection.

We ensured ACEC’s Budget 2023 recommendations were front and centre with our submission to the pre-budget consultation process leading up to its release. The Budget, released in March, contained investments that will create significant opportunities for consulting engineering companies, including in skilled trades, clean energy, and attracting investment into Canada.

Championing our Industry

Following the release of a new procurement policy in 2022 that requires all engineering and architectural documents prepared for federal government tenders to be submitted in both official languages, ACEC has been quick to raise concerns about its unintended consequences—notably, that it precludes many consulting engineering firms from participating in federal procurement, while also increasing risk of higher costs, delays, and commercial and professional liability.  Furthermore, it will severely diminish the federal government's capacity to deliver on its capital programs.

ACEC has twice met with the office of the Public Services and Procurement Minister on this issue and continues to engage with relevant departments. Further, as we have not yet seen the government’s often-promised public consultation on this new policy, ACEC commissioned its own third-party, independent research to study its impacts on engineering firms. The research was completed in the fall, and ACEC plans to present the results to government officials during a meeting on December 18, so they understand the magnitude of the problems created by the new requirements. 

Deepening Strategic Partnerships

Finding alignment with other stakeholders strengthens ACEC’s ability to shape federal public policy. In June, ACEC met with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities—Canada’s foremost municipal advocacy organization—to leverage our strong alignment on the delivery of the NIA, which will lay important groundwork for the next national infrastructure funding program.

ACEC has also been advocating for a national infrastructure corridor, calling it “Canada’s Infrastructure Network.” A concept that has been around for over 50 years, it has the transformative potential to create jobs, encourage investment, empower Indigenous communities, and promote sustainability. Over the summer, ACEC was pleased to host a multi-stakeholder luncheon to discuss potential collaboration on this, with participation of many organizations across infrastructure-related industries such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Electricity Canada and the Mining Association of Canada. 

Promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Consulting Engineering

ACEC recognizes that equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) helps facilitate healthy workplaces and creative problem-solving, while also being key to attracting and retaining the next generation of consulting engineers.

In June 2023, ACEC released a report to summarize the findings of our national EDI research project. Our Board accepted all of the recommendations, including building an EDI framework for firms, providing more training, advocating for better parental leave and pathways to leadership, and more. ACEC’s Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee has begun the groundwork to implement the recommendations and support our member firms as they advance EDI across our industry.

Shaping Public Policy and Celebrating our Members

ACEC quickly engaged with the new federal Cabinet after the major shuffle in July 2023, including the new Ministers for public services and procurement, and infrastructure and housing. In August, ACEC was excited to participate in the House of Commons Finance Committee’s Pre-Budget consultation once again. ACEC made three recommendations that champion our industry, enable strategic infrastructure investments, and align with government’s focus on economic growth.

On October 19th, ACEC hosted our annual Parliament Hill Day—our cornerstone government relations event since its inception over a decade ago. ACEC members from across the country had the opportunity to share their perspectives and reinforce policy recommendations with legislators in person for the first time since the pandemic. The event was a success: it resulted in a total of 35 meetings with MPs, Senators, and political staff from across party lines, with close to 95% of participants expressing their support for ACEC’s goals and advocacy messages. 

Later that evening, ACEC celebrated the incredible accomplishments of our member firms at the Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards Gala. This annual event recognized a number of incredible projects that connect and strengthen communities, improve safety and sustainability, and enhance quality of life for Canadians and people around the world. 

Looking Ahead to 2024

After another solid year of promoting the consulting engineering industry, we are well-positioned for 2024. We look forward to the busy year ahead and continue to be strategic and deliberate when it comes to our advocacy, partnerships, and government engagement—particularly leading up to a likely 2025 federal election. 

DID YOU KNOW? You can reach out directly to your ACEC-Canada Board representative or at at any time to share your thoughts and perspectives. We always appreciate hearing directly from you on how we can best advocate on behalf of your firm and the consulting engineering industry.