RCCAO joins council that will advise Ontario Chamber of Commerce on infrastructure issues
By Nadia Todorova
On June 1st, I had the honour of participating in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Infrastructure Policy Council (IPC) inaugural meeting. RCCAO is delighted to be a founding member of this important forum.
This is a timely and key initiative and I look forward to contributing knowledge and expertise on behalf of RCCAO and supporting the infrastructure policy and advocacy work of the Chamber, its network and boards of trade.
As it is for RCCAO, infrastructure is a top priority for the Chamber and, as such, the IPC will guide continual progress on infrastructure issues. The group will also ensure that the province works with the private sector to make the necessary infrastructure investments needed to keep Ontario competitive. The IPC’s work will be guided by a focus on economic recovery and the intersection between climate change and infrastructure.
The objective of the IPC is not necessarily to reach a consensus on every issue, but to exchange ideas and information on costs and benefits of different policy options. While everyone around the table is involved in infrastructure, I expect there will be varied views and priorities. The many thought leaders around the table have a wealth of knowledge and valuable expertise that can serve to shape the meaningful and influential work of the Chamber and inspire new thoughts and perspectives for each of the groups.
As a member of the IPC, I will have input into various Chamber advocacy documents, including pre-budget submissions and election messaging, media statements and other public-facing campaigns. Given the unpredictable year ahead, I expect the Chamber will seek the IPC’s perspective and advice to direct positioning and action on infrastructure issues as they arise.
The council is in very good hands with chair Ester Gerassime, economic analyst at the Chamber.
For RCCAO, being part of the IPC is an opportunity to present some of the most important concepts for our labour and management organization. Given our unique membership, we have a distinct perspective of Ontario’s critical infrastructure issues. Guided by our evidence-based research, one of our core priorities is to consistently advocate for investment in Ontario’s infrastructure. Not only for those legacy defining infrastructure projects such as the Ontario Line, which are without a doubt vitally important, but also for the less glamorous, everyday state-of-good-repair projects. These types of projects, the regular infrastructure maintenance work seen across cities year-round, are an important source of employment and ensure that critical infrastructure across the province is operating efficiently and safely.
The importance of the IPC is only magnified by the crucial role that infrastructure will play in Ontario’s economic recovery. Members of the Chamber and IPC are keenly aware of the fact that investing in infrastructure is one of the best ways to help Ontario recover from the effects of COVID-19. In addition to the social benefits of infrastructure and creation of a hard asset at the end of construction, each dollar of infrastructure spending has a positive effect on the economy: in the short-term, by supporting jobs and businesses, leading to lower levels of unemployment and a higher level of economic growth; and, in the long-term, by boosting the competitiveness of businesses, thus leading to greater wealth creation and higher living standards.
Increased investment in infrastructure also spreads throughout the economy via a series of multiplier effects. For every $1 billion in infrastructure spending, GDP is boosted by an average additional $1.46 billion, or an average multiplier effect of 1.46. The importance of the role that infrastructure will play in our economic recovery is reflected by the recent fiscal stimulus plans announced by the federal and provincial governments.
The IPC has already mapped out several strategic priorities for 2021 and four themes have emerged: competitiveness, economic recovery, innovation, and sustainability. Policies have been identified, many of which are near and dear to RCCAO. Some of those priorities are: environment and resource management; funding and accountability; innovation; transportation; and regional economic development.
I could not be more excited to be part of this forum and bring RCCAO’s perspective to the respected and influential Ontario Chamber of Commerce table.
For more information on the IPC, including a full list of members, click here.
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