Tag: Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

Rapid Policy Update: 2017 Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

On November 28th, the Government of Ontario released the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) entitled Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2017The plan sets forth a vision for Ontario infrastructure planning and investment and is a key interim step in meeting the requirements of the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015 (IJPA).

The LTIP outlines a vision for how Ontario’s infrastructure must be evidence-based and should be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and disruptive technologies, seamlessly interconnected and supportive of economic growth for the whole province. While the plan is a welcomed announcement in ensuring Ontario’s infrastructure meets the needs of its rapidly changing economy, the Ontario Chamber Network encourages the government to continually update and monitor the plan to identify what is—and is not—working well.

Below is a high-level synopsis of the plan, including the Chamber’s analysis and comparison to the Ontario Chamber Network’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan Submission, Building Better.

Advocacy Wins
Overall, the Ontario Chamber Network achieved a number of advocacy wins in the 2017 LTIP that directly align with recommendations in their Building Better report.

The Government of Ontario will:

  • Implement a broadband strategy outlining a vision for broadband connectivity across the province;
  • Integrate climate change considerations into infrastructure planning to ensure environmental sustainability;
  • Evaluate AFP projects against an evaluation framework to track the success of the delivery model; and
  • Commit to ensure evidence-based decision making as it works on best practices in infrastructure planning and prioritization.
Key initiatives identified in Building Better Lives: Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan 2017

Strengthening Evidence-Based Decision Making
The LTIP places a priority on enhancing the government’s capacity for evidence-based decision making, in particular through good asset management practices.

The government is undertaking extensive research to understand best practices in infrastructure planning and prioritization, and will apply these findings through ongoing work to improve consistency in business cases. This is to ensure the clear identification to decision-makers of the critical investments that are necessary to address health and safety; deliver critical services; address vulnerabilities to climate impacts; or to deliver on government mandate commitments or time-limited opportunities.

As government practices continue to improve, there will be clear prioritization criteria to assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of these investments. There will also be business case improvements to ensure that decision-makers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions. This evidence will include the current provincial infrastructure capacity, the gaps between what Ontario has and what Ontario needs, and a clear strategy on how the government will meet those needs.

Analysis
In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network encouraged the Government of Ontario to ensure that future infrastructure planning and spending commitments are planned methodically, fully, and in a transparent fashion. Infrastructure investments should be targeted based on sound criteria, including return on investments and evidence that the investments will reduce or eliminate existing barriers to service. The Chamber is pleased to see that evidence-based decision making will be a key pillar of the LTIP.


Climate Change Adaptation
The Province will be undertaking a provincial climate change risk assessment to help build a better understanding of the current and anticipated climate change impacts facing Ontario and help to provide a better understanding of the vulnerabilities and risks facing Ontario’s communities, infrastructure, ecosystems, and economy. Infrastructure planning and investment based on the outcomes of this risk assessment will allow for a more strategic approach to adaptation by government, helping to ensure that decisions are evidence-based and resilient.

Ontario-led efforts to increase resilience will be achieved in a variety of ways, including through climate change-related policies in infrastructure asset plans, investment directives and decisions, and land–use planning direction such as the Provincial Policy Statement (2014) and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2017).

The Province is also establishing a new organization that will provide municipalities, Indigenous communities, and businesses with up-to-date and critical information and data, as well as practical services to build resilience and help keep Ontarians safe. This information will assist government in making evidence-based investment decisions to build resilient infrastructure across Ontario.

Analysis

In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network recommended the LTIP focus on building infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable to climate change. We noted that as part of this climate change should be incorporated into asset management planning. Additionally, we recommended resiliency and adaptability be considered within procurement criteria. This could include having specific sections of a tender devoted to how a proponent is addressing the impacts of climate change on the asset being built, closely aligning with the LTIP’s outlined resilient infrastructure components.


Supporting Modern Service Delivery – Broadband in Ontario
The Ontario Government is working towards developing a broadband strategy that outlines a vision for broadband connectivity through identification of key priorities. This will include leveraging private sector expertise and financing as well as federal cooperation through the Canada Infrastructure Bank. A draft broadband strategy will be developed for consultation in 2018. Through collaboration with federal and municipal orders of government and First Nations, the Province will prioritize the need for coordinated and strategic investments as it continues to expand broadband infrastructure and improve connectivity in communities across the province.

Analysis

The Chamber has consistently advocated for trade-enabling infrastructure, including both traditional and digital infrastructure such as high-speed broadband internet. As part of this, the OCC has continually supported recommendations for the development of a robust investment strategy in the province, which identifies broadband as an infrastructure investment and does not dissuade private sector investment. A broadband strategy will help the Government achieve an evidence-based approach to broadband infrastructure development.

The Ontario Chamber Network has also encouraged the building of partnerships across all levels of government to better leverage funding and respond to local needs. The private sector has long driven investment in broadband infrastructure and the Chamber has recommended the Province commits to an intergovernmental funding model that will incentivize and leverage investments in a way that expedites the closing of the digital divide. The Ontario Chamber Network would be welcomed to participate in ongoing dialogue with the Government of Ontario as it develops the provincial broadband strategy.


Improved AFP Evaluation and Analysis
To ensure that the AFP model continues to provide value, the government has developed an evaluation framework to track the success of this delivery model. This framework aims to assess the AFP delivery model’s ability to:
(a) deliver projects on-budget, on-time and on-specification;
(b) ensure proper risk transfer to the private sector was achieved at final completion; and
(c) ensure timely procurement.
The government will start by evaluating a selection of completed AFPs and traditionally delivered projects of a similar size to assess the performance of each model against these criteria. Over time, this framework will provide a stronger evidence base for the AFP delivery model which will help decision-makers choose the right delivery model for future projects.

Additionally, as part of its AFP work, the Government of Ontario is committing to support municipalities to successfully deliver key infrastructure projects. For example, it is exploring how it can encourage and support municipalities in leveraging the AFP delivery model more frequently to achieve their infrastructure priorities, and what support and advice Infrastructure Ontario can potentially provide to municipalities.

Analysis

In Building Better, the Ontario Chamber Network recommended the Government of Ontario should work to develop comprehensive principles and elements from successfully procured projects that were delivered using alternative financing and procurement methods which can then be applied as best practices to smaller scale projects.


The Ontario Chamber Network’s Position:

The Ontario Chamber Network has been advocating for building infrastructure that sets Ontario’s foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth and prosperity, cumulating in their Building Better report. We are encouraged to see that the 2017 LTIP delivers broad alignment with the Chamber’s recommendations.

The Network was pleased to see a strong emphasis on evidence-based decision making as well as a focus on building resilient and adaptable infrastructure. We also applaud the government’s commitment to expanding broadband infrastructure and improving connectivity in communities across the province by working towards a broadband strategy.

The Ontario Chamber Network will continue to work collaboratively with the Government of Ontario as it works to execute its vision outlined in the LTIP.



Ontario Needs More Resilient Infrastructure to Confront Challenges of 21st Century

Report points to a $19 billion infrastructure gap which must be addressed through new accountabilities in Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released Building Better: Setting the 2017 Ontario Infrastructure Plan Up For Success, a report calling on the Ontario Government to implement key recommendations in its imminent Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP) that will help ensure accountable planning and building resilient, adaptable infrastructure for the future.

With relatively stagnant infrastructure investment since the 1970s, the province of Ontario currently faces a significant infrastructure gap, where it would need an estimated $19 billion to improve current infrastructure alone. The gap exists because governments have not invested in upholding original infrastructure and Ontario’s harsher climate has contributed to the deterioration of the province’s infrastructure.

“Here in Oakville, and across Ontario, there is a need for significant infrastructure spending to fill the current gap –  to ensure Oakville is equipped for the future; a future that has very different infrastructure needs from the past,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “To succeed in our constantly evolving economy, we must ensure that infrastructure dollars are spent on innovative and forward-looking projects that will grow our province’s capacity to do business and grow our economy.”

The Government’s LTIP is expected to be released this fall with stakeholders greatly anticipating its release. Ontario’s Chamber Network is contributing to the development of the LTIP by recommending that: 

  • While the Government has made significant infrastructure investments, it should bring fresh accountability methods around how infrastructure dollars are spent to ensure spending and planning are transparent;
  • Governments of all levels should confront challenges of the 21st century by ensuring planning considers how we can build infrastructure that is resilient and adaptable and deals with variables such as climate change; and that,
  • The Long-Term Infrastructure Plan must be strategic, robust, and based on long-term thinking.

“We commend the Government of Ontario for their impressive allotment of infrastructure funds; this investment in our province’s infrastructure has the potential to yield tremendous benefits for all Ontarians,” said Richard Koroscil, Interim President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “To ensure the Ontario government’s investments do not suffer the same fate as those of federal government, where significant funds have been committed but few projects identified, we hope the Government of Ontario will implement our recommendations, to better strengthen the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.”

“We have heard from our members about the need to invest in crucial transporation infrastructure in Oakville. In fact, the top three infrastructure priorities identified by our members in our 2016 Advocacy Survey were local roads and bridges, public parking, and transit” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “This is why we are recommending the Provincial Government to adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding with project prioritization based on clear, transparent criteria such as resulting in economic growth, efficiency, sustainability, and community benefits.”

Research shows that investment in infrastructure, such as roads, transportation, communication, utilities and more, have resulted in lowered business costs and increased labour productivity. It is estimated that for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending 16,700 jobs are supported for one year and the GDP sees a $1.14 billion increase.


Read the report.