Chamber network identifies a number of key infrastructure issues challenging Canada and Canadian Businesses
Sault Ste, Marie, ON – The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce has joined with its national counterpart, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, to release a new report which identifies a number of key infrastructure issues facing Canada and impacting Canadian business growth and competitiveness.
‘Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve’ examines the effects of various deficiencies in infrastructure, ranging from traffic in major cities to access to broadband internet, improving the Ontario-Québec trade corridor with the U.S., lack of new pipelines and the unexplored potential of Canada’s North.
Lack of proper infrastructure is leading to lost opportunities and wasted time for both businesses and Canadian citizens. The report directly identifies seven infrastructure challenges that government must target to keep Canada competitive, including:
- Traffic congestion in major cities
- Facilitating trade along the Asia-Pacific Gateway and corridor
- Improving digital access and infrastructure
- Maximizing potential in Canada’s North
- Enhancing the Ontario-Quebec trade corridor
- Getting Canadian oil and gas to markets
- Green electrification and transmission
The issue of inefficiencies in digital infrastructure in rural areas discussed in the report, mirrors an earlier call by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce to the provincial government to commit dedicated infrastructure funds to developing and expanding broadband internet access in remote and rural areas of Ontario. Businesses and communities will never reach their full potential unless inefficiencies in its digital infrastructure are addressed, suggests the new report.
“Coverage gaps in Canada’s rural and northern areas result in lost productivity and stifle innovation. Other major economies are looking at advanced network technology and the business opportunities that lie therein. We can’t afford not to invest in a more inclusive and competitive digital economy,” says Perrin Beatty, CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
SSMCOC CEO Rory Ring notes that “creating a strong digital infrastructure is essential for communities in rural and Northern Ontario. It is a key factor in closing the geographic divide that separates Northern communities from major Canadian and international centres and allows businesses to access markets that they previously could not and to compete globally.”
‘Stuck in Traffic’ addresses concerns that major highways on both sides of the Canada-U.S border will be operating at excess capacity within 15 years and that existing infrastructure along the Quebec-Ontario continental trade corridor will not be able to accommodate increased transportation demand. More than 70% of Canada’s manufacturing revenue comes from Ontario and Quebec. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce has long promoted Sault Ste. Marie as a viable point of access to the Northern United States market and its manufacturing sector, with access to the Trans-Canada highway, rail, the Great Lakes shipping route, port facilities and an entry point to the U.S and its interstate system.
Paul Johnson, President of the SSMCOC notes that while the report deals with several infrastructure issues, some of which are not directly related to Sault Ste. Marie, “we can relate to the infrastructure challenges directly. As part of its ongoing advocacy, the Sault Chamber of Commerce promotes investment in economic enabling infrastructure such as the Port of Algoma, rail expansion and the development of the Ring of Fire.”
He adds, “our local Chamber will continue to push all levels of government to identify and support the location-based competitive advantage of infrastructure investment in Sault Ste. Marie.”
The report draws its name from the fact that ten thousand years is how much additional time commuters in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver spend stuck in traffic every single year as a result of road congestion from key bottlenecks in those cities. Severe congestion is an issue not just for businesses and residents of those cities, but for the entire Canadian economy. Highly focused infrastructure investments can help solve this problem and other major economic challenges that Canada faces.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce has been the voice of the Sault’s Business Community since 1889, representing more than 700 local employers. In addition to advocating on issues that impact businesses and economic prosperity in Sault Ste. Marie, the Chamber offers a number of programs and services that add value and helps improve the bottom line for its members. Visit www.ssmcoc.com.