Infrastructure Collapsing in Canada?

This is going across the wire today.

Canada’s infrastructure deficit hits $123 billion, report says

OTTAWA – Canada’s water treatment facilities, roads and public infrastructure is on the verge of collapse because of a $123-billion building deficit, a new report warned Tuesday.

The report, released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, suggests that the cost of fixing crumbling infrastructure has more than doubled over the past four years, and will continue to rise if no new investments are made.

“Across Canada, municipal infrastructure has reached the breaking point,” reads the study written by Dr. Saeed Mirza, a McGill University civil engineering professor in Montreal. “Most was built between the 1950s and 1970s, and much of it is due for replacement. We can see the consequences in every community: potholes and crumbling bridges, water-treatment and transit systems that cannot keep up with demand, traffic gridlock, poor air quality and a lack of affordable housing.”

the deficit into five categories. He estimated that $31 billion would be needed for water and waste water systems, $21.7 billion for transportation, $22.8 billion for transit, $7.7 billion for waste management, and $40.2 billion for community, recreational, cultural and social infrastructure.

“It points to a looming crisis that if unchecked, will reduce our standard of living, our safety and our quality of life as Canadians,” said Gord Steeves, president of the federation, at a news conference. “The report says that Canada’s public infrastructure is at 79 per cent of its service life and that municipal infrastructure has reached its breaking point. It shows that the physical foundation of Canada’s cities and communities are near collapse.”

The federation estimated that municipalities would need to raise property taxes by 40 per cent to cover the estimated infrastructure deficit, so it is calling on the federal government to replace its existing patchwork of ad hoc program’s with a new national program to address all of their concerns.

“It is a wakeup call to everyone who thinks we can ignore our decaying municipal infrastructure or tackle it with half measures,” said Steeves. “We’re not saying that our bridges will begin falling down tomorrow, but we are saying that if serious action is not taken now, our infrastructure is headed for collapse. The problem will simply overtake us.”

6 responses to “Infrastructure Collapsing in Canada?

  1. This is I think the case across the western world as our peak in wealth has passed and moved on to the likes of China and parts of the middle east (e.g. Dubai). Cruel but true. Even if the tax base is strong enough to take a direct hit for funding massive infrastructure improvements it’s doubtful that enough immigrants will be available to do the work.


  2. Excellent point, Matt! I think the in the West we have found a powerful force of denial in our comfort. Lately I had the thought that in science fiction films depicting the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust or a major war, it is usually the fringe dwellers that survive. Our middle classes are rolling right into extinction having little inclination to believe that some things, like food, may not be available to them in the not too distant future.

  3. The ONS (Office of National Statistics) UK has just released a report determining that the UK’s population will almost double to 110m (from current 60m) in 75yrs! Higher fertility rates (really?), immigration and longer living apparently contribute to this.

    Food will be oh such a big issue. Bread is now £1 a loaf here and eggs have gone up 20% etc. Food is becoming an issue already.

  4. I think we will be seeing massive migration to Canada in the future. And aside from obvious waves, like people from the Caribbean Islands which will become inhospitable, we will be seeing a new kind of refuge – middle class Americans from places like Florida and Texas, Arizona and other southern states. I can easily imagine the US population shifting to around the Great Lakes and a city like Chicago with 40, 000, 000 people in it s area.

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