Press Release

Report: Canada’s municipal infrastructure at risk of rapid deterioration

Ottawa – One- third of Canada’s municipal infrastructure is at risk of rapid deterioration: that is the key finding of the 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC).

Informing the Future: The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card assessed the state of municipal roads and bridges, public transit, buildings, sport and recreation facilities, stormwater, wastewater and potable water infrastructure. The results indicate that much of Canada’s municipal infrastructure is at a critical juncture.

Investments in repair and upkeep are needed in the short term to prevent a rapid decline in the condition of municipal assets, according to survey findings. Furthermore, the report uncovered that reinvestment rates in Canada’s municipal infrastructure are not meeting target rates, despite continued efforts on the part of municipal governments. If this trend continues, the overall cost for infrastructure repair will increase substantially from where they stand today.

The CIRC project is the continuation of a collaboration struck in 2012 between the Canadian Construction Association, the Canadian Public Works Association, the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The 2016 edition also received support from the Canadian Urban Transit Association, as well as the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Committee. Technical support and advice was provided by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association.

The 2016 CIRC survey gathered more detail on inventory, condition and replacement value than the survey developed for the 2012 edition. There was a marked increase in the number of questions answered by participants. There was therefore an improvement in the availability and quality of data that informed the findings of this new report. As a result, the 2012 and 2016 CIRC report should be viewed as separate snapshots in time.

Quotes

“The report shows that we have an opportunity to improve quality of life for Canadians, strengthen the economy and save money over the long term. That should be all the motivation we need to act now.” Nick Larson, Chair of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Renewal Committee

“What this survey shows is that we need to repair our existing infrastructure. Our infrastructure is aging and we need to accelerate the rate of renewal. As any homeowner knows, repair costs skyrocket once you let things go past a certain point. We don’t want to get to that point.” Kealy Dedman, President, Canadian Public Works Association

“This isn’t complicated. Homeowners know you need to stay on top of repairs if you want to avoid larger bills down the road. If you see a small crack in your foundation, you fix it now. You don’t wait until water is pouring into your basement.” Michael Atkinson, President, Canadian Construction Association

“In the end, it is not a question of investing or not investing, it’s a question of cost and good infrastructure management. The bottom line is that the longer we wait to act on these repairs, the more expensive it will get. Canada needs to start planning for the future by reinvesting in our existing assets now.” Raymond Louie, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

"While governments have increased investments in transit over the last decade, the report shows that over 40% of transit infrastructure is in need of rehabilitation. We look forward to working with all orders of government and stakeholders to renew our infrastructure, maintaining our solid foundation for current needs and preserving a sound footing for future growth.” Patrick Leclerc, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Transit Association

“Almost one in two sport and recreation facilities across the country are in immediate need of attention. This infrastructure is at the heart of Canadian communities. The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card is a call to action.” Dean Gibson, President, Canadian Parks and Recreation Association