Engineers Canada has submitted its annual pre-budget recommendations to the federal government in advance of the 2023 budget. This year’s submission includes four recommendations on specific topics important to the engineering profession.
First, Engineers Canada is calling on the government to increase infrastructure investments and accelerate projects promised in the Investing in Canada Plan program.
Much of Canada’s core public and private infrastructure requires significant immediate and future investments to ensure its sustainability for its complete life and service cycle. Well-designed, properly built, continually maintained, and reliable infrastructure is critical to public safety, quality of life, and a competitive economy. By continuing to invest in infrastructure projects and accelerating project approvals, jobs across the country will be created and the economy will continue to be supported.
Second, Engineers Canada is urging the federal government to continue to support green infrastructure and natural resource investments.
The federal government must continue to invest in green infrastructure to grow the Canadian economy, as well as to deliver on Canada’s climate commitments. Retrofitting Canada’s existing infrastructure to become energy efficient will support these economic and climate targets. In addition, supporting Canada’s natural resources sector remains critical to the national economy. Increasing support for natural resource projects will reduce the need and cost of importation, support the labour force, and increase Canada’s self-sufficiency.
Third, Engineers Canada is calling on the government to continue to support equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives across Canada, including supports for employers to address discrimination, harassment, and improving EDI in the workplace for women, Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and persons with disabilities.
Federal support is needed to incentivise small and medium-size employers, as well as large corporations, to make EDI a business priority. The federal government must take the initiative to fund employer training programs, workplace mentorships for women and underrepresented engineers, and work-integrated learning opportunities that encourage women, Indigenous, Black, people of colour, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and persons with disabilities to pursue engineering education and engineering careers. Additionally, the federal government should provide funding towards the creation of EDI training and resources, focused on engineering, for small and medium-sized business enterprises, as well as remote workplaces in construction, mining, natural resources, and other engineering sectors that lack access to EDI resources.
Lastly, the pre-budget submission calls on the government to provide funding to support Indigenous people’s access programs to post-secondary engineering education programs across Canada. While Indigenous people make up more than 4.9 per cent of the total Canadian population, Indigenous people account for only 0.6 per cent of engineering undergraduate enrolment and an 0.73 per cent of the engineering profession.
Although the federal government has outlined their commitment to support Indigenous people in STEM, it is important that the government provide sustainable funding for Indigenous learners, along with support programs that provide adequate tools for Indigenous students to succeed in the post-secondary environment. Doing so will not only sustain the economy and Canada’s innovation output, but it will also support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
Read the full recommendations in Engineers Canada’s pre-budget submission.