Toronto, Ontario, July 6, 2023 — A new Ipsos survey for the Canadian Construction Association reveals that while most (95%) view Canada’s trade infrastructure, like highways, ports, railroads and airports as important to Canada’s economy, almost four in 10 (38%) say Canada’s trade infrastructure is in poor (30%) or bad (8%) shape, leaving a wide gap between the perceived importance of trade infrastructure in Canada and the assessment of its current state.
Canadians also place a high degree of importance on a skilled workforce (95%), supply chains, labour supply, and internal trade (94% in each) and international trade (with other countries; 92%) in relation to Canada’s economy.
All of these are considered even more important among those aged 55 years and over, compared to those aged 18-34 years. Labour supply is rated as statistically significantly more important among women (95% vs. 92% men) as well as internal trade (96% women vs. 92% men).
While a high degree of importance is placed on international trade, Canadians underestimate the proportion of Canada’s economic activity that relies on international trade. When asked to guess what proportion of Canada’s total economic activity (GDP) depends on international trade, on average, Canadians guessed 50.5%, underestimating the true figure (65.43%). When told the true figure, the proportion who consider international trade “very important” increased from 52% to 62%.
Changes to long-term infrastructure and collaboration among governments and industry seen as important
The majority of Canadians would like to see changes to trade infrastructure and collaboration among governments and industry to create a national plan for long-term trade infrastructure and investment. Over nine in ten (93%) Canadians strongly (55%) or somewhat (38%) agree that given how important trade is to Canada, we need to prioritize making sure that our trade infrastructure can effectively move people to jobs and products to market. This sentiment resonates most strongly in Alberta (97%) and Ontario (95%). A similar proportion (94%) of Canadians also strongly (54%) or somewhat (40%) agree that Canadian governments and industry need to work together to create a national plan to invest in building and maintaining long-term, trade infrastructure.
The level of agreement is at least nine in ten in every region — highest in Alberta (96%) and Ontario (95%) — suggesting a national consensus has emerged on the issue. Canadians also show high concern about how taxpayer dollars will be spent, with nine in ten (92%) concerned that without a strategic and long-term plan, taxpayer dollars for trade infrastructure investments may not be spent wisely.
Canadians are concerned when comparing trade infrastructure to other countries
When comparing Canada to other countries, Canadians show concern on a number of factors and what this means for their future:
- 91% think that Canada’s level of investment in trade infrastructure should be proportional to that of other G7 countries
- 87% find it concerning that Canada has dropped from 10th in 2009 to 32nd (behind Azerbaijan) in 2019 in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of quality of transportation infrastructure
Nine in ten (91%) think staying competitive with other major trading economies like the US, the EU, the UK and Australia is very/somewhat important, but a similar proportion (88%) find it concerning that among major trading economies like the US, the EU, the UK and Australia, Canada is the only one that does not have a long-term trade infrastructure plan.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 2 and June 5, 2023, on behalf of the Canadian Construction Association. For this survey, a sample of 2,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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