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Federal budget pledges improvements to trade and transportation

OTTAWA, Ont. —  Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government unveiled its 2017 federal budget yesterday where it outlined its plan to establish what it calls a trade and transportation corridors initiative.

According to the 280-page document, the initiative will include, among other things, a national trade corridors fund, a trade and transportation information system, and measures to enable the modernization of the country’s transportation system.

The national trade corridors fund was created “to address urgent capacity restraints and freight bottlenecks at major ports of entry and to better connect the rail and highway infrastructure” according to the budget. It is set to target marine ports and busy corridors around the GTA. The budget outlines $2 billion over 11 years to the fund with an addition $5 billion to be provided through the Canada Infrastructure Bank to address trade/transportation priorities. Ultimately the fund will look at ways to improve flow of supplies, unlock development in Canada’s territories, and create more middle class jobs.

In addition, the budget proposed $50 million over 11 years to Transport Canada to create a trade and transportation information system and an open data portal to help move goods across the supply chains more efficiently, to get to the consumer faster.

As far as modernizing the country’s transportation system, the government vowed it would update and create regulations for “the safe adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) lauded the budget saying that it was glad to see freight transportation was kept in mind.

“National data related to goods movement is sparse so such an investment should improve the current situation,” the CTA said in a release.

The budget also made adjustments to the Temporary Foreign Workers’ Program that the CTA agreed with. The budget’s suggestion of further developing pathways from the program to permanent residency status is something the CTA said it has been recommending for years.



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