Thank you for having us here to speak before you.
I am joined today by Robert Judge, director of sectoral policy at Infrastructure Canada, and Bogdan Makuc, director of program integration.
We're here today to speak to you about Infrastructure Canada's progress in addressing the recommendations made in chapter one on federal support for environmentally sustainable infrastructure.
This chapter of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's 2016 Spring Report examined federal municipal infrastructure programs that are intended, among other objectives, to improve the environmental performance and sustainability of Canadian communities.
At the time the report was issued, Infrastructure Canada agreed with all of the recommendations made by the commissioner. I would like to briefly review the progress we've made in response to the recommendations.
With respect to performance measurement for the gas tax fund, in January of this year the department held a gas tax fund national workshop that brought together all partners responsible for implementing the gas tax fund. Part of the conversation included discussions around options to improve the GTF reporting. We agreed to work with our signatories to consult further on how to improve the indicators collected for the selected outcomes.
For the longer term, the department will also align the approach to performance measurement and reporting for the Gas Tax Fund with the new suite of outcomes-based programs of the Investing in Canada Plan launched in 2016 and further expanded in budget 2017.
Infrastructure Canada also committed to improve data on infrastructure. Over the past year, we've worked with Statistics Canada to develop the Canada core public infrastructure survey, which is launching this summer. The survey will provide a national picture of the current state and performance of infrastructure across Canada and will be the first national survey regarding core public infrastructure: Canada's roads and bridges, and water, waste-water, and public transit infrastructure.
We are working with other federal departments, provinces and territories to determine how best to integrate climate change mitigation and resilience considerations in our infrastructure investments.
These requirements will be incorporated into the upcoming integrated bilateral agreements with provinces and territories.
We are also working closely with our partners at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, who will be delivering a $50-million municipal asset management program and a $75-million “municipalities for climate innovation” program. These are both five-year programs and, respectively, will support municipalities in their adoption of good practices in asset management and in adapting to the impacts of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As we have demonstrated with our new initiatives—the FCM-delivered programs, and the Core Public Infrastructure Survey—Infrastructure Canada recognizes and supports the importance of innovation, particularly in the context of ensuring the environmental and financial sustainability of infrastructure.
As identified in budget 2017, phase two of the federal government's infrastructure plan signalled that the federal government will work with partners over the next year to examine new innovative financing mechanisms to increase the long-term affordability and sustainability of infrastructure in Canada.
Two of these new innovative financing mechanisms include the Canada infrastructure bank and the smart cities challenge. Legislation to establish the bank has been tabled in Parliament, and the Prime Minister introduced the smart cities challenge at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference at the beginning of June.
The department is looking forward to having more information on both of these initiatives in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, the department will continue to examine its own programming for opportunities that will maximize innovative mechanisms for program delivery and project funding. It will also aim to better support the use of state-of-the-art infrastructure technology to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of existing assets.
Infrastructure is the backbone of our communities, big or small, and our department is committed to implementing the Government of Canada's long-term plan to support the resilient and sustainable infrastructure that is at their core.
Thank you for inviting us to speak with you today.
My colleagues and I will be happy to respond to any questions.