On February 11, Economic Action Plan 2014 was tabled by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in the House of Commons. Economic Action Plan 2014 is the federal government’s fiscal blueprint that defines how the government intends to implement its priorities.
Mr. Flaherty confirmed that the government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. “It is important that we continue to build on our successes and remain focused on the drivers of growth and job creation—innovation, investment, education, skills and communities—underpinned by our commitment to lower taxes and returning to a balanced budget in 2015.” The government expects a surplus of $6.4 billion in 2015–16.
ACEC President John Gamble was among a select number of stakeholders invited to participate in the lockup on Parliament Hill. The budget lockup allows stakeholders and the media to preview the budget prior to it being tabled in Parliament.
The Bottom Line
There were very few surprises in this “stay the course” budget. Most important to ACEC members is that the government remains committed to infrastructure investment through the new $53 billion, 10-year Building Canada plan announced last year. Investments from the new Building Canada plan are to start in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The government projects annual investments of approximately $3.3 billion in 2014-2015, gradually increasing to about $5.75 billion in 2023-2024. ACEC is continuing to press for details on the Building Canada plan that will allow all levels of government to establish and deliver their infrastructure programs. An announcement from the government is expected shortly.
The government also committed an additional $1.3 billion over two years in strategic investments in public infrastructure and transportation services. There are also specific initiatives for First Nations communities and for northern transportation and infrastructure projects that will benefit northern and remote communities as well as the resource sector.
Other initiatives include extending a tax credit for junior mining companies and creating a national disaster mitigation program.
For an overview of what the budget means for ACEC members, please see “Selected Highlights” below. To access Economic Action Plan 2014 and other official information about the budget, please visit the Government of Canada’s Budget 2014 website.
Confirmation of the 10-year Infrastructure Plan
This budget confirms previous commitments by the government that starting in 2014–15, the $53-billion Building Canada plan will provide:
In addition, the Building Canada plan includes:
New Strategic Infrastructure Projects
Economic Action Plan 2014 includes new strategic investments in public infrastructure and transportation services beyond what had been previously announced:
Continuing the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan
$323.4 million over two years is committed to continue implementation of the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan.
Northern Economic Development
Economic Action Plan 2014 provides $40 million over two years, starting in 2014–15, to renew the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program delivered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
Developing Transportation Infrastructure in the North
The Government of Canada will continue to work with territorial governments and local municipalities to develop transportation infrastructure in the North. These investments include:
Extension of Mineral Exploration Tax Credit
Economic Action Plan 2014 supports mineral exploration by junior companies by extending the 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year.
Review of Pipeline Projects
Economic Action Plan 2014 provides $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board to review project applications, such as TransCanada Pipelines Limited’s Energy East Pipeline Project, within legislated timelines to provide timeline certainty and to enhance the Participant Funding Program. This funding will be fully cost-recovered from industry.
National Disaster Mitigation Program
The budget allocates $200 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to better protect Canadians through a National Disaster Mitigation Program. This program will support investments in structural mitigation measures, such as infrastructure to control floods that can reduce the impact of severe natural disasters.
Enhanced Broadband Internet Service
$305 million over five years is allocated to extend and enhance broadband internet service for Canadians in rural and Northern communities.
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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