Marco Navarro-Génie, president and CEO of the Haultain Institute, believes Canada has not only failed at a proactive approach, but also at maintenance.
“We’ve fallen behind in that we are not building the things that we’re going to need for the future. And the things that we have are becoming quite decrepit,” Navarro-Génie said in an interview.
“Until about five years ago, most highways and overpasses and underpasses and tunnels in Quebec were falling apart. Literally chunks were falling off these things, killing people on the roads.”
In March, the Canadian Automobile Association gave 51 percent of Quebec roads a failing grade. Navarro-Génie said prohibitive costs and short-term thinking have kept governments from giving infrastructure its due.
“Nobody wants to deal with these nearly transgenerational problems because the amount of monies are huge,” he said.
“The politicians only answer to their concerns for re-election in the next election cycle, [so] we get into big problems.”
Navarro-Génie suggested an independent body arms-length from the government could help Canada reprioritize infrastructure. BCG recommends the example of Infrastructure Australia. Its independent board and CEO rank nationally significant investments based on a set of predefined criteria, continually updating projects underway 10 years into the future. The Major Projects Approval Agency helps streamline the regulatory process.