November 28, 2022

If you build it, they will come. (SDG 9)

Infrastructure. It brings to mind huge public projects like roads, subways, bike lanes, water supply, electrical grids, and telecommunications. But, public infrastructure encompasses everything that we deem critical for our cities, countries, economies, and households to function. Now what about the elements we deem critical to function sustainably?

SDG 9 challenges us to build resilient infrastructure in a way that promotes sustainable industrialization and fosters innovationDid you know that there are over 140 publicly supported colleges and institutes in the country with a total of nearly 700 campuses located within 50km of over 95% of Canadians and over 86% of Indigenous people? The role our members play in their communities goes well beyond post-secondary credentials – they provide everything from newcomer support to R&D services to local industry.

  • Our network’s footprint is unmatched, so investing in college and institute infrastructure has a direct, local impact in communities across the country, in a variety of areas.

Infrastructure is deeply tied to our ability to innovate and grow sustainably. As Canada’s largest post-secondary network, our members have over 300 shovel-ready infrastructure projects (valued at over $3.5 billion) 62% of which include renovations, repairs, and retrofits to improve energy efficiency and reduce campus GHG emissions.

We are also vital community hubs that lead social and economic development across the country. Investing in colleges and institutes as infrastructure projects brings net-zero leadership directly to campuses across the country, while continuing to deliver cutting-edge green skills training accessible for all Canadians, where they live. In the context of Budget 2023:

  1. To build the next generation of campus infrastructure, we recommend: Creating a new Green Postsecondary Infrastructure Fund, with a minimum of $500 million a year over five years being dedicated to helping colleges achieve net zero emission campuses. (SDG 13)
  2. To support a net-zero economy, we recommend: Undertaking an inventory of critical strategic skills infrastructure to ensure that Canada has the training space available to meet the needs of key economic sectors. (SDG 8 & SDG 13)
  3. To bring the future to all communities, we recommend: Investing $100M over five years in a new network of 50 College Sustainability Centres across Canada to leverage college and institute assets including campus infrastructure, industry, and community partnerships to meet Canada’s net zero goals. (SDG 9 & SDG 13)

Must read: Canada needs futureproofing; colleges and institutes are the solution. We have seven recommendations to the House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance (FINA) as part of its most recent round of pre-budget consultations.

For further reading: