The federal government’s fall economic statement, announced this week by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, included an even greater focus on infrastructure spending than the spring budget. Specifically the fall economic update included the following new announcements:
- The $48-billion initially allocated for Phase 2 infrastructure spending will be increased to $81 billion over 11 years
- $2 billion of funding dedicated to support the infrastructure needs of northern, remote and rural communities
- A promise of setting up a Canada Infrastructure Bank with seed capital of $35 billion ($15 billion will be taken from the $60 billion of existing funds set aside for infrastructure projects, while another $20 billion will financed and recorded as equity/debt so as not to negatively affect the government’s balance sheet)
- The government will also include an Invest in Canada Hub to attract foreign investment
The economic statement was greeted positively by a number of stakeholders in the municipal sector. FCM President Clark Somerville noted:
These unprecedented infrastructure investments will mean more growth, more jobs and stronger communities….Municipalities are ready to partner with this government to deliver truly transformative returns on this investment for all Canadians.
As part of the economic update the Minister of Finance also announced that federal government’s deficit for 2016-17 is projected to be $25.1 billion, which will shrink over the next five years to $14.6 billion by 2012-2022. Over those five years the government will add a total of $31.8 billion more to deficits than was announced in the last budget.
Other highlights from the economic update include:
- The government will adopt a global skills strategy that will speed up work permits and visas for foreign workers
- The parliamentary budget officer will become accountable only to Parliament, rather than the Library of Parliament
- The chief statistician will be granted greater independence
- The House of Commons’ board of internal economy, which adjudicates disputes, sets office budgets and polices the expenses of MPs, will now conduct its business in public
You can read the full fall economic update here.