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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has penned nine recommendations to the Ontario government to address infrastructure funding shortage in the province.

The recommendations are designed to provide decision makers with insights and solutions as they create Ontario’s next Long-Term Infrastructure Plan, expected to be released by year end.

A 40-page Chamber of Commerce Report called Building Better: Setting up the Next Ontario Long-Term Infrastructure Plan for Success was developed through consultation with industry.

The recommendations focus on enhancing the economic return on the province’s future infrastructure investments.

It suggests that future needs or trends needs to be considered before designing and building infrastructure projects and that infrastructure must be resilient and adaptable to climate change.

With Ontario’s projected 30 per cent population growth over the next 25 years, “Forward thinking considerations would be required to address the expected demographic changes across the province and the demand they will place on utilities, land development, communication, public transportation, health and waste services,” the report states.

The Chamber of Commerce argues that there is a significant infrastructure gap in Ontario, one that was created with decades of underfunding for infrastructure projects.

The crumbling infrastructure has impacted the economy as a whole.

In addition, the growing need for infrastructure renewal goes hand in hand with the need to develop a skilled workforce, the report states.

The eight recommendations urge the Ontario government to develop infrastructure standards that can address various future pressures including climate change and demographic shifts.

The government is encouraged to continue to focus on asset management planning and work with municipalities to improve their capacity to integrate asset management practices into their operations and capital planning processes.

Alternative financing and procurement methods should be investigated and applied as best practices to smaller scale practices, based on successfully procured projects, the recommendations read.

Successful public-private partnerships should also be hailed and marketed to increase popularity with these types of contracts.

It’s also recommended that the federal government adopt an outcomes-based approach to infrastructure funding with project prioritization based on clear and transparent criteria that includes resulting economic growth, sustainability, resiliency and community benefits.

Monitoring performance measures, streamlining applications for funding and ensuring the development of revenue-positive infrastructure projects should also be considered, the Chamber recommends.

The full report can be found here: