Minister Morneau’s Fall Economic Statement was framed in the context of a low growth environment for the foreseeable future and shows that the Liberal government is committed in the near and long-term to its strategy of using public infrastructure expenditures as a tool for growing the economy.

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), has been actively advocating that Canada’s social and environmental objectives will not be met without increased growth, and a significant increase in foreign direct investment (FDI).

“We were extremely pleased to see several key measures of relevance announced that will benefit the chemistry industry,” said CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson. The announced measures include:

  • Investing an additional $81 billion over the next 11 years in public transit, green and social infrastructure, transportation infrastructure that supports trade.
  • Establishing a new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide innovative financing for infrastructure projects, and help more projects get built in Canada, where public capital can be leveraged.
  • Investing $10.1 billion in trade and transportation projects over the next 11 years to build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets.
  • Recommitment of Budget 2016 investments of $143 million in spending to ensure that railway operations and the transportation of dangerous goods are done in a manner that is as safe and secure as possible.
  • Creating a Global Skills Strategy, supported by improvements to Canada’s immigration system, to help Canadian and international companies access the talent and skills they need to grow and succeed in Canada.
  • Creating the Invest in Canada Hub, staffed with a dedicated high-impact sales force to promote Canada, and to work with global companies to increase investment that will benefit Canadians.
  • Strengthening the independence of Statistics Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Officer to provide fair and unbiased evidence and analysis, and make government more open and transparent.

However, CIAC cautions that budgetary deficits be managed in a manner that does not hinder Canada’s future competitiveness. Investors need to see a plan that leads to deficit elimination. Moreover, CIAC believes that, to be effective, the new Invest in Canada Hub must have a clear mandate and alignment with all key stakeholders (i.e., provincial, municipal, industry).  But, more importantly, more effort is first needed to assess the root causes of why Canada lags other countries in attracting FDI.

“As Canada looks to expand beyond 2% annual growth, the chemistry industry is poised to become a major economic driver,” said Masterson. Canada has the resources, market access and talent to make this happen. “We won’t get there, however, without keeping up with our competitors and making significant improvements to the overall investment environment in Canada as seen by global investors.”

CIAC congratulates Minister Morneau on a thoughtful Fall Economic Update and looks forward to further engagement in lead up to Budget 2017.