On September 23, 2020, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the federal government’s Speech from the Throne, A Stronger and More Resilient Canada.
“There are a number of promises in this Speech from the Throne that will impact engineers and the work that they do to support Canadians,” said Gerard McDonald, CEO of Engineers Canada. “In particular, Engineers Canada is happy to see the government’s commitment to improving high-speed broadband connectivity, and the government’s continued support for women in the economy. We look forward to seeing these important commitments addressed in the fall economic update or Budget 2021.”
Engineers Canada has been actively advocating to improve Canada’s high-speed broadband connectivity, which formed one of our three key recommendations in our pre-budget submission in August 2020. We are encouraged by the government’s commitment in this Speech from the Throne to accelerate the connectivity timelines and ambitions of the Universal Broadband Fund to ensure that all Canadians, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet.
Engineers Canada’s pre-budget submission to the government also advocated for continued support for diversity and inclusion initiatives across Canada. We are happy to see the government commit to creating an Action Plan for Women in the Economy to help more women get back into the workforce and to ensure a feminist, intersectional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.
Engineers Canada is also happy to see the federal government’s promise to support green infrastructure and natural resources. Government investments in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, and affordable housing, particularly for Indigenous Peoples and northern communities, are key to building a stronger and more resilient Canada. Investments in the energy sector, in which the engineering profession plays a critical role, will work to meet a net zero future, creating good-paying and long-lasting jobs.
The federal government's engagement with the engineering profession is crucial in delivering on these priorities. Engineers are essential in the design, implementation, and maintenance of all types of infrastructure, making the engineering profession critical in connecting communities, driving our economy, and keeping Canadians safe. In addition, Engineers Canada is actively working to support the recruitment, retention, and professional development of women in the engineering profession, primarily through its 30 by 30 initiative.
Engineers Canada submitted budget recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in August 2020, and submitted recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the Canadian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these submissions, Engineers Canada outlined the need for investment in green infrastructure, support for women’s role in Canada’s economic recovery, investment in R&D and innovation, and improved broadband connectivity for increased participation in the Canadian economy for everyone.