There has been a lot of talk in the media about infrastructure spending. The Liberals campaigned on a promise to create jobs from Infrastructure spending, and then their recent budget laid out a plan to spend billions in infrastructure over the next decade.
So how do we maximize the benefit to Canadian industry from these infrastructure projects?
The most obvious step is to ensure that Canadian companies and people are hired to do the work itself, since we are trying to maximize economic impact to the country. This direct work will have long term spin off effects to the economy, but there are also other considerations which will have potentially longer term impacts.
Focus on investments in Canadian technology and innovation
First, is a focus on investments in Canadian technology and innovation. If Canadian start ups develop IP to help with infrastructure projects, sell their innovation as a result of these upcoming immediate Government projects, and then in turn export - there will be longer term value to the economy.
Hire Aboriginals and Aboriginal owned businesses
Second, are a consideration for hiring Aboriginals and Aboriginal owned businesses. I have talked about the benefits and importance of including Aboriginals and Aboriginal owned businesses in Canadian supply chains, well this is an easy way to do this.
Incentivize the use of clean technologies
Lastly, there are a lot of inefficient, highly bureaucratic intensive ideas that we have as Canadians to help the environment. Our commitment to the Paris Agreement commits us to reduce carbon emissions. Well, one simple addition to infrastructure spending could be to incentivize the use of clean technologies. We want to encourage Canadian made and Canadian owned IP of these technologies. If they can be first sold into infrastructure projects, then exported, then a sustainable business model has been developed and sustained.
Sometimes, there is more to consider beyond price. It doesn't necessarily justify paying a lot more, but incorporating a small budget to encourage infrastructure projects focused on delivering the best product for the best price AND delivering long term economic impacts to Canada would be a good thing.
You can read my additional thoughts on this topic in one of the latest Globe and Mail Op Ed pieces.