New Report Finds Canada’s Public Infrastructure “At Risk”

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – October 8, 2019 – A new report shows a significant amount of public infrastructure in Canada is aging and in poor condition—reinforcing the urgent need for long-term investments in infrastructure renewal to meet the needs of Canadians. Given that municipal governments own and are responsible for maintaining the vast majority of Canada’s public infrastructure – more than two-thirds of all roads, over three-quarters of potable water assets, and more than 80% of wastewater assets – the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) strongly supports continued long-term federal investments in renewing Canada’s existing infrastructure.

“Reliable public infrastructure directly affects the day-to-day lives of Canadians in dramatic ways,” said CPWA President Chris Hamel. “This report helps make Canadians aware of the state of our infrastructure and our concern about the results. It is critical that municipal governments and public works agencies have the resources they need to support Canadians’ quality of life.”

The 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card—produced by CPWA and seven partner organizations—examines the state of Canada’s public infrastructure. Among the key findings:
  • Nearly 40 percent of roads and bridges are in fair, poor or very poor condition.
  • Between 30 and 35 percent of recreational and cultural facilities are in fair, poor or very poor condition.
  • 30 percent of water infrastructure (such as watermains and sewers) are in fair, poor or very poor condition.

“Local governments across Canada continue to face challenges when it comes to infrastructure investment,” said CPWA Executive Director Scott Grayson. “This report illustrates that without urgent action, the services Canadians rely on today will be at risk in the next decade.”

The report also highlights that while larger municipalities have increasingly adopted a strategic approach to managing infrastructure assets, there is a need to continue supporting smaller municipalities with funding and technical support to adopt asset management practices. This is vital to public works agencies who plan, design, build, operate and maintain transportation, water supply, storm drainage, sewage and refuse disposal systems, public buildings, and other community facilities and services that are essential to Canada’s economy and quality of life.

“Support for asset management, particularly for small communities who often lack capacity to undertake important planning activities, has been a CPWA priority for many years and will yield long-term benefits,” said Hamel. “We welcome continued investments to assist infrastructure owners in maintaining and operating infrastructure assets effectively.”

Building off similar reports in 2012 and 2016, the 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card is produced by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Canada, the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, the Canadian Public Works Association, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Canadian Network of Asset Managers and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Download the report card.

More Information:
Press Release
Canadian Infrastructure Report Card 2019

Charles Arena