Canada's municipal infrastructure is at risk, with more than half of municipal roads requiring significant repairs and one in four wastewater plants needing major upgrades. This was the key finding of the first-ever Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, a major study released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and three industry partner organizations.
“The report card shows that core municipal infrastructure like roads and water systems, assets critical to Canada's health, safety and economic prosperity, are at risk,” said FCM President Karen Leibovici, speaking at a news conference in Ottawa. “Investments in infrastructure over the last few years have helped, but without long-term action we are still headed for a crisis.”
The report card, which surveyed more than 120 municipalities representing 60 percent of the Canadian population, says more than half of municipal roads are falling apart. One-in-four roads is over capacity, transporting far more people and goods than it was designed to handle. And one in four wastewater treatment plants needs to be upgraded or replaced to meet new federal standards introduced this summer, at a cost of at least $20 billion.
Without immediate improvement and ongoing maintenance, the cost of fixing or replacing the assets studied will explode over the next decade. “Two billion dollars in federal funding for local governments is going to lapse by March 2014,” Leibovici said. “The new federal long-term infrastructure plan is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put our essential infrastructure back on solid ground. Municipalities are ready to work with all partners – federal, provincial, territorial, and the private sector – to fix the problem once and for all."
The FCM partnered with the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) to deliver the report card. This marks the first time a group of national stakeholders worked together to measure the state and performance of municipal infrastructure from one end of Canada to the other.