Engineers Canada applauds 2017 Federal Budget priorities
Engineers Canada submitted budget recommendations and the Federal Government addressed many of the concerns in Budget 2017.
On March 22, the federal government announced its priorities in its Budget 2017. According to Engineers Canada, the commitment to green infrastructure, STEM education and skill-development, and the retention of women in the workforce are important issues that needed to be addressed.
“Bringing together investments in both the physical and social infrastructure of Canada lays a foundation for the country’s next 150 years to be one where every Canadian has the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to a country built on opportunity, access and innovation,” said Engineers Canada Interim CEO Stephanie Price, P.Eng., CAE.
Engineers Canada voiced its concerns by submitting budget recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in August 2016. The industry organization pushed for investment in climate vulnerability assessments for infrastructure, and funding for initiatives that improve access for women, newcomers and recent graduates to the engineering labour market.
Many of the concerns raised by Engineers Canada were directly addressed in the “Budget 2017: Building a Strong Middle Class.”
When it comes to green energy and climate change, the government has prioritized $21.9 billion for green infrastructure, including initiatives that will support the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. $2 billion has been allocated for a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support national, provincial and municipal infrastructure required to deal with the effects of a changing climate.
Getting young people involved within the profession has always been a priority for Engineers Canada, especially with the baby boomers set for retirement over the next couple of years. The budget supports investing $73 million over four years to create new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and business programs. A $10.8 million investment over five years, starting in 2017–18, will allow PromoScience to support more STEM learning activities for Canadian youth—in particular, underrepresented groups such as women and Indigenous peoples.
“We are encouraged to see that the government has recognized some of the challenges that women face in the workforce and that exacerbate the barriers that women face in the engineering profession,” said Jeanette M. Southwood, M.A.Sc., FCAE, FEC, P.Eng., Engineers Canada’s Vice-President, Strategy and Partnerships. “We are pleased to see Budget 2017’s plans to address gender-based challenges by closing the gender wage gap, expanding maternity leave options and implementing flexible work arrangements for federally regulated employees.”
“Engineers Canada looks forward to continuing to engage with the federal government on these issues,” Price added. “Canada’s 290,000 professional engineers stand ready and willing to help the government achieve their goals.”