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.
A bigger, bolder Canada requires investments in infrastructure such as affordable housing, climate adaptation infrastructure, broadband, roads, bridges and public transit. Without these investments, population growth will put a strain on our economy, quality of life and well-being.
Investment in infrastructure represented 3.7% of GDP in 2020.
Increase the rate of infrastructure investment to 5% of GDP in order to close the infrastructure gap.
Much of Canada’s public infrastructure is aging and in need of repair. Infrastructure needs also vary across the country, with rural and remote areas and Indigenous communities in particular facing distinct challenges. Municipalities own a significant amount of infrastructure, but have few financial levers to maintain and support it. Recent federal investments and planning could help put infrastructure spending on track.
Access to affordable housing that is suitable and adequate is needed to support the health and well-being of a growing Canadian population. Poor housing quality and mounting housing insecurity are linked to negative health outcomes and pose a risk to long-term social cohesion.
Incidence of core housing need in urban areas in Canada was 12.9% in 2019.
Meet the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) target of affordable housing for everyone by 2030.
Core housing need increased in urban areas in 2019. Between 2005 and 2020, Canada recorded one of the largest increases in housing prices in the OECD. The pandemic has continued to exacerbate housing challenges. Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable for more Canadians particularly for those most vulnerable. However, the federal government has taken innovative actions that could support a path forward.
Widespread access to broadband is critical to 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.
Canada ranked 8th out of 38 OECD countries in fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 people in 2020.
There were 41.56 subscriptions per 100 people in Canada in 2020.
Top 10 OECD countries for fixed broadband subscriptions.
Threshold: The United Kingdom was 10th in the OECD with 40.92 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 people in 2020.
Canada has seen consistent increases in the number of fixed broadband subscriptions over the past decade. However, challenges remain related to cost, access and quality, particularly for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. Additional challenges exist with respect to low-income households across Canada, including those in urban areas.
Well-planned density can address issues of housing affordability, access to services, health outcomes, and environmental sustainability, and will be essential as Canada’s population grows. Urban areas in Canada are typically among the least dense in OECD countries and there is a wide range in density levels.
The average population density of the core areas of Canadian cities with population of more than 250,000 (16 cities) was 1,233 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2020.
The OECD average for population density of metropolitan 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 urban core areas has increased at a faster rate than in the OECD overall, though it remains below the OECD average. While Canadian cities have become denser over the past two decades, there is significant need to build. This would ease the housing shortage, allowing Canada to accommodate demand from new residents in a way that emphasizes quality of life, affordability, green space, transit, walkability, and access to jobs and community amenities.
Climate change poses an existential risk to Canadian and global prosperity, as well as health and well-being. Improving performance to protect the climate is vital to current and future generations.
Canada ranked 61st out of 64 on the 2022 Climate Change Performance Index.
Top 15 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, with a “high” performance rating.
Canada ranks among the lowest-performing countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, which assesses performance on GHG emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policy. However, recent policy decisions on climate change show promise. If followed by robust action, these commitments could help move Canada forward towards international goal of achieving net-zero emissions.
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 of 45 upper income countries in the 2019 Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) Index.
Top 10 most resilient countries in Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index
Canada has been trending slightly downward over the last decade on the ND-GAIN Index, which assesses a country's vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges, in combination with its readiness to adapt. Canada is rated as “low vulnerability” and “high readiness” but could do more to improve.