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How can Canada continue to support job creation and the urban economy?

over 3 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

In an environment of sustained economic weakness and historically low interest rates, fiscal policy is the right policy lever to use to support long-term growth. Investing in infrastructure creates good, well-paying jobs that can help the urban middle class grow and prosper today and for generations to come. Prosperous cities also require equal opportunities for all citizens. The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the educational and employment opportunities for all Canadians including vulnerable populations through a wide range of programs.







Consultation has concluded

  • NGolabi over 3 years ago
    To support both the urban economy, job creation and importantly, sustainable development, Canada should be looking to the development of green technology. Creating jobs in the technology and infrastructure development sector can allow growth for the economy while also providing new resources for sustainable development and the transition to cleaner and more environmentally friendly cities.
  • David Fletcher, Green Coalition over 3 years ago
    Infrastructural development is the traditional fall-back when the economy is perceived to be weak or in need of stimulation. For a time, specific infrastructure projects put people to work, beyond the completion of which new initiatives need to be found. This sort of employment is periodic and fraught with uncertainty and high turnover rates. It is a model predicated on perpetual growth and and so, potentially, has negative environmental — and social — ramifications. The presumption is that if we can perpetually find new things to build or old things to rebuild, we can forever keep a certain sector of workers employed, and keep money circulating through the economy. The model plays into the notion that GDP, the sum total of goods and services provided, and the total numbers of dollars in circulation, is the best way to secure the fortunes of the population. This supports a big business model that funnels vast wealth into the pockets of a privileged 1% while relying on “trickle down” to provide for everyone else. It requires the bringing forth of huge amounts of capital to which the vast majority of people do not have access, and means that financial and corporate interests dictate plans that physically transforms the neighbourhoods in which city-dwellers live. Workers receive salary for their services while losing control of their living spaces, their circumstances and the civic agenda. Indeed, citizens too often find their councils aligned with moneyed, development interests in the promotion of projects to which they are opposed.The result has generally been the creation of cityscapes that are harsh, uninviting, cogested and unhealthy. Virtually every available “vacant” space is built on contributing to a growing sense of constraint and loss. Our living spaces become filled with noisy, polluted urban highways, overpasses and overpowering office towers. All the social and psychological — read spiritual — benefits of open spaces richly endowed with nature give way to the austerity of bricks, mortar and concrete. We end up creating spaces inappropriate to the proper raising of families, places where young children are denied their normal birthright of engaging in spontaneous activities and creative exploration in healthy and safe circumstances. That is real impoverishment whatever jobs may be created.We should be reminded when thinking infrastructure about how on an enormously large scale we are transforming Earth’s surface. Paleontologists now speak of our entering the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch named for us, based on the magnitude of our impact. Some economists are now looking seriously at new equilibrium paradigms to replace the growth preoccupation that has been the model over the past 250 years. In July 2011, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution 65/309 that placed “happiness” on the global development agenda. This socioeconomic development concept was inspired by the Kingdom of Bhutan’s adoption of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index as the measure of social and economic development to replace the money flow model represented by GDP. Canada could learn much from this model.Financial security might be achieved by other means than guaranteed employment, if such a guarantee is ever achievable. A universal Guaranteed Basic Income is another model that is being looked at by several countries world wide and has been raised as a possible option by several Canadian leaders past and present, including in the 1980s by Brian Mulroney. This could eliminate wasteful spending on a patchworkof poverty alleviation programs, most of which have proven ineffective and troublesome to administer. Such a program would go a long way to building confidence, mental health and self reliance in the population, while reducing needs for intervention by the medical, social services and security establishments. Given that stable platform, people of working age and capacity would then feel encouraged to seek out meaningful employment without fear of claw-backs.
  • Nigel Bart over 3 years ago
    We must find ways of supporting innovative programs that cost little and save big. How do we support artists in our communities? We must be open-minded to supporting vocations that are more focused on creativity. Mental Illness and creativity often go hand in hand and we need to provide meaningful work for those with mental illness. Art is a good solution.
  • CLemieux over 3 years ago
    Infrastructure construction is a great way to produce jobs and renovate any region of a city. Governments at every level should prioritize the transition towards green energy infrastructure: electric car charging stations, cycling routes through downtown cores, windmill production. Even more employment opportunity is available for innovative Canadians who dream of their own business. Concentrate on making small businesses less of a risk to allow Canadians to create business plans of their own that can challenge the current market.
  • mgifford over 3 years ago
    Look at government procurement to find ways to support small Canadian businesses. The news today is filled with examples of big government IT projects going wrong and wasting millions of dollars. What is extra frustrating is that this waste is often benefiting large multi-national companies who may ultimately be outsourcing that work somewhere else. Canada needs to look at it's procurement structure and change it such that it doesn't continue to favour only the largest companies. Rather than trying to centralize IT infrastructure, governments should be looking to adopt open-source and open standards which would allow small companies to leverage a much larger code community in order to build large, robust, customized, enterprise-grade solutions.
  • pkturner over 3 years ago
    Canada can continue to support job creation by actually diversifying into alternative energy production and move away from resource-based and fossil-fuel dependent economies. Canada needs to focus on green, sustainable market sectors that are still in infancy instead of continuing to invest in the destructive industries of fossil fuels, mining, forestry and over-fishing. This investment in sustainable, alternative revenue streams will create well-paying jobs, increased educational opportunities, retraining programs for unemployed former oil-workers, as well as recent immigrants, refugees and vulnerable populations.
  • sharongregson over 3 years ago
    In 2016 it is vital to remember that the vast majority of mothers in Canada are in the paid workforce and our children need access to quality affordable child care services. Infrastructure investment has to include child care capital in getting quality spaces built, with operating funds from provincial/federal governments. Child care availability and cost is as much of a crisis as housing for Canadians with young children. BC has a $10aDay Plan which could be a perfect example of how governments and community work together to build and deliver public services.
  • Winnie C over 3 years ago
    Modern cities can learn from some of the vibrant cities in the ancient world and in some "developing" parts of the world. I agree with the previous commentator about the need to encourage and support small businesses at street level. That's what makes a neighbourhood come to life and enables more people to eke out a living in whatever creative ways that would contribute to the safety and prosperity of the neighbourhood. Having real people live in the area where they work - not pushing people out of the business centres but integrating business back into residential areas -- was another good practice that makes economic sense and reduces commuting time and carbon emission.
  • Marika Morris over 3 years ago
    Canadian cities often have regulations which discourage micro-capitalism, people starting up very small businesses. Often you need licensing and permits, which cost money, and zoning permissions to start a lemonade stand, a food truck or sell the jewelry you can make on the street. Often established businesses do not want microcapitalists on the street near them, thinking that it might take away from their business, when in reality microbusinesses can attract more consumers to the area and give it life. Cities could have a program for people living on low incomes who want to start a business, with help with planning, licensing, permits, legal and financial advice, psychological support and so on. Some cities have programs that encourage business start-ups, but I am not aware of any that actually advertize among people living on low incomes, are geared specifically toward them or provide financial help with permits. Cities would also need to work with provinces to ensure that any benefits being received by microcapitalists would not be cut off until a reliable living can be made from the business.