A bigger and bolder future for Canada requires infrastructure to support it. It must keep pace with a growing population and be resilient to climate change. This includes all kinds of infrastructure, such as affordable housing, digital infrastructure, climate adaptation and urban infrastructure like public transit.
Resilient systems that can withstand the shocks of climate change are critical to the success of a growing Canada and necessary to help the country prepare for risks from global challenges.
Canada ranked 14th out of 47 upper income countries in the 2020 Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) Index.
Top 10 most resilient countries in Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index
Canada retained the same ranking as the previous year on the ND-GAIN Index, which assesses countries’ vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges, in combination with their readiness to adapt. However, Canada’s scores on both readiness and vulnerability have worsened in recent years and challenges to adaptation remain. Nonetheless, Canada still has a low level of vulnerability in a global context and there is an opportunity for the country to play a global leadership role.
Climate change poses an existential risk to Canadian and global prosperity, as well as health and well-being. Improving performance on protecting the climate is vital to current and future generations.
Canada ranked 58 out of 63 on the 2023 Climate Change Performance Index.
Top 15 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, with a “high” performance rating.
Canada remains among the lowest-performing countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, with very low performance on GHG emissions, renewable energy and energy use. Canada slightly improved its ranking in the index due to improved assessments on climate policy following the newly announced Emissions Reduction Plan in 2022.
Well-planned density can address issues of housing affordability, access to services, health outcomes, and the environment, and will be essential as Canada’s population grows to ensure growth is sustainable and all Canadians can benefit.
The average population density of the core areas of Canadian cities with a population of more than 250,000 (16 cities) was 1,233 inhabitants per square-kilometre in 2020.
The OECD average for population density of the core areas.
Threshold: The OECD average for population density in core areas was 1,394 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2020.
Population density in Canada’s core urban areas has increased in recent years. While Canadian cities have become denser, Canada remains below the OECD average. There is also a wide range in density levels across Canada. There is significant scope for Canada to grow up instead of out in order to accommodate a growing population in more affordable, liveable, low-carbon and transit-oriented communities.
Access to broadband across Canada, including in rural and remote parts of the country, is critical for Canada to grow in a way that builds shared prosperity. This will enable both Canadians and newcomers to access education, critical services, and to fully participate in Canada’s economy and society from anywhere in the country.
Coverage of 50/10 unlimited broadband was 54.4% in Canada’s rural areas in 2020.
Coverage of 50/10 unlimited broadband in Canada’s rural areas that is comparable to overall access in Canada - 89.7% in 2020.
While Canada is on a good trajectory in providing broadband coverage at speeds of 50/10 Mbps overall, there remain significant gaps in rural areas, Indigenous communities and northern parts of Canada. Rural and remote parts of Canada experience much lower levels of coverage compared to the rest of Canada. Access to broadband has become essential for all Canadians to connect to education, health care and work in recent years, particularly as a result of the pandemic.
Access to affordable housing that is suitable and adequate is needed to support the health and well-being of a growing Canadian population. Strong housing quality and security are correlated with positive health outcomes and support long-term social cohesion, helping Canada to grow well in the years ahead.
Proportion of households in core housing need was 10.1% across Canada and 11.2% in large urban centres in 2021.
Meet CMHC target of affordable housing for everyone by 2030.
Levels of core housing need declined slightly in 2021 as the proportion of those living in unaffordable housing decreased. Improved household incomes were a key factor though this may be in part driven by temporary pandemic income supports which have since concluded. Canada continues to face significant challenges as the cost of living rises, with some of the most significant affordability challenges in large urban areas and among vulnerable populations.
A bigger, bolder Canada requires investments in infrastructure such as affordable housing, climate adaptation infrastructure, broadband, roads, bridges, water and wastewater, and public transit. Without planned and strategic investments in infrastructure, population growth will put a strain on Canada’s economy, quality of life and well-being.
Investment in infrastructure represented 3.7% of GDP in 2021.
Increase the rate of infrastructure investment to 5% of GDP in order to close the infrastructure gap.
Infrastructure investment in Canada declined in 2021 compared to the previous year. Investment has stagnated over the past several years. Increased spending and long-term planning are needed as Canada’s population grows. Heightened investment is needed to make up for decades of underinvestment in Canada’s infrastructure and to adapt to climate change and extreme weather.