Trends to watch in 2021 –
Infrastructure: tied to economic recovery
Canada’s infrastructure sector is at a turning point—though subject to continued uncertainty due to COVID-19, its growth is a cornerstone of our economic recovery. Key considerations include:
COVID-19-related disruption in the construction industry has varied by province and project type, and recovery will be affected by the degree to which each province passed discrete shutdown measures. For example, in 2020, Ontario and Québec experienced more government-mandated disruption than British Columbia and Alberta.
Contractual obligations and negotiations will become increasingly complex due to an influx of force majeure and change of law claims, and we will see a continued enactment of prompt payment regimes to ensure that money continues to circulate throughout the industry.
While the infrastructure sector’s challenges and opportunities vary by province and industry, 2020’s Speech from the Throne reinforces its crucial role in stimulating economic development in the years to come.
Government stimulus programs rely on a selection of ready infrastructure projects, which is complicated by the usual lead time required for large projects and their reliance on uninterrupted supply chains.
P3 projects require an extraordinary amount of public and private planning and funds—an ongoing challenge in an uncertain economy. As governments continue to emphasize the role of infrastructure in bolstering the economy, they will supplement stimulus plans with P3 projects. A key issue going forward will be to find Canadian participants who are in a position to bid on the priority projects.