By Kinga Surma
Last June, our government was elected with an even stronger mandate to build Ontario, which included one of the most ambitious capital plans in Ontario’s history: planned investments totalling over 184 billion dollars over the next decade. The hard-working people that the Barrie Construction Association represents are key partners to delivering critical infrastructure to the people.
Our government recognizes that the sector has been facing challenges. It has become clear to us that labour shortages, inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions are driving up costs globally, and this is having a profound impact on many businesses and projects. During COVID-19, we responded immediately to the changing environment by engaging with our building partners to better understand the challenges they faced. We secured continued construction of provincially significant projects since we could not let the pandemic impact our ability to build hospitals, long term care and schools.
Today, we continue to provide stability to all our major projects, such as our most complex P3 projects. We continue to look at new measures, regulations and changes that will ensure we assist in alleviating the pressures felt by our builders.
Through our partnership with Infrastructure Ontario (IO), we shared our Market Update this past March – which includes 38 projects in pre-procurement and active procurement, valued at more than $35 billion dollars in estimated design and construction costs.
We have also made great progress awarding contracts, thus removing them off the pipeline list. IO continues to advance procurements for many other projects such as highways and healthcare. We continue to invest in repair and upgrade projects to our existing infrastructure in Barrie such as the Barrie Courthouse, ensuring continued access to justice in the community for years to come.
The pandemic demonstrated that Ontario needs to build up both our healthcare infrastructure and workforce to ensure we are prepared to respond to any future challenges. As we continue to build and expand hospitals across the province, I am encouraged to see progress on Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s South Campus Health Hub Project, with the early planning stages underway as of April 2022.
In transit and transportation infrastructure projects, plans for a new Innisfil GO station will enable a complete mixed-use community in Innisfil, while being connected to Barrie through the GO network. With construction on the Bradford Bypass early works beginning last Fall, we are well on our way to delivering relief to commuters in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. With more schools, hospitals, long-term care homes, roads and bridges planned over the next decade, we continue to depend on our workforce. I am grateful to the hardworking men and women that make up the Barrie Construction Association for your role in driving these important projects forward to make Ontario a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Kinga Surma is Ontario’s Infrastructure Minister