Engineers Canada has published its highlights and analysis of the impact of Budget 2024 on the engineering profession. 

Budget 2024, released April 16, 2024, contains $52.9 billion in new spending, partially financed by new changes to the capital gains inclusion rate.

As we outline in our analysis, several new budget measures will impact Canada’s professional engineers. Engineers Canada was engaged throughout the pre-budget process, including through written comments to the Standing Committee on Finance. Several of these new measures reflect Engineers Canada’s policy priorities as we have outlined in our National Position Statements and government submissions. 

Housing and infrastructure 

In prior budgets, the federal government has promised broad-based infrastructure funding, most notably the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. This budget leverages federal infrastructure funding in a more targeted way to achieve the government’s housing goal through a new Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund. The budget includes tax changes to spur apartment construction and a new fund to acquire and lease public lands for housing construction. 

Budget 2024 also outlines new funding for advanced manufacturing for housing construction, directs the National Research Council to engage with stakeholders to address regulatory barriers and streamline the inspection process for homebuilding innovation, and finalizes funding for the Housing Design Catalogue. 

As we note in our analysis, engagement with the engineering profession will be essential to ensuring the protection of the public while expanding pre-fabrication and pre-approved designs. 

Economic growth and innovation

The Budget’s economic investments are focused around innovation and productivity. This includes significant new funding to build Canada’s capacity in artificial intelligence, along with a small funding commitment to create a new AI Safety Institute. The federal government must prioritize safety and risk management in the deployment of AI tools where they may impact the health or safety of their users, and engineers are uniquely suited to do this. The AI Safety Institute is an essential step, and professional engineers must be involved in its work.

Budget 2024 also contains significant funding for post-secondary education and university research, including support for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Engineers are a critical part of the research enterprise, and Engineers Canada looks forward to engaging with the federal government to shape a mission-driven engineering research agenda for the new capstone agency.

Internal trade and labour mobility 

Advancing national and international labour mobility is a long-standing priority for engineering regulators. Canada’s engineering regulators have made significant progress at fairly recognizing foreign credentials. Budget 2024 commits to streamlining the Foreign Credential Recognition Program for individuals in the construction sector. 

Budget 2024 also promises a new Canadian Survey on Interprovincial Trade, which will survey Canadian businesses to identify internal trade barriers hindering their commercial activities. The goal of this survey is to chart a pathway toward national regulatory alignment where possible. It will be important that the federal government engage with regulators on the design and impact of this survey. 

Reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion

Engineers Canada has long-advocated efforts to improve access to post-secondary education for Indigenous people, particularly engineering education. Budget 2024 commits to expanding First Nations K-12 education programs as well as the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for Indigenous students. As the federal government continues to expand access to post-secondary education for Indigenous students, it is vital that engineering education be a priority, and that students receive the support they need to pursue engineering.

Continued support for federal equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives was a top priority for Engineers Canada in our pre-budget engagement. Budget 2024 announced the government’s intention to amend the Employment Equity Act to modernize it and expand the number of designated equity groups. Engineers Canada is pleased to see the federal government commit to changes that will contribute to the goal of a more equitable engineering profession. 

National defence 

The largest funding envelope in Budget 2024 is the suite of new measures aimed at bolstering Canada’s national defence. The defence sector is a major employer of engineers, who are indispensable to Canada’s defence and security. We note that of the $9.975 billion in new defence spending outlined in the budget, professional engineers must play a critical role in the upgrading of naval vessels and other military equipment as well as the maintenance and renewal of defence infrastructure. 

Read Engineers Canda’s full Budget 2024 highlights and analysis here.