Canada’s economy depends heavily on trade and it is essential for businesses across the country to be able to get their goods to market. On August 27 at a press conference near the aging Gardiner Expressway, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Toronto Region Board of Trade sent a message to all the federal parties: the next federal government must have a clear vision on trade that includes essential infrastructure investments.

The progress of Canada’s ambitious trade agenda increases the importance of policies that will help businesses access newly-opened markets. Canada’s public assets such as airports, ports, roads, marine safety systems and many more are critical and require funding and strategic policy direction.

“The first step is the ratification of the Canada-Europe trade agreement. Then we need to conclude a positive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. These trade agreements are essential to Canada and will put us in a positive situation. We therefore have to ensure that our infrastructure is able to handle not only existing trade flows but also the expected shifts and increases in our trade patterns. That’s not the case right now. We have to be looking to the future of trade, and the next federal government has to take the lead on building a Canada that wins,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“Modern infrastructure is essential to promote economic growth, drive productivity, and strengthen Ontario’s competitiveness,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “And yet, Ontario suffers from a significant infrastructure gap. Closing this gap must be a priority for the next federal government.”

“Canadian jobs and prosperity are contingent on the success of Canada’s largest metro regions within the global economy,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “To succeed globally, our large urban centres – including the Toronto region which generations 20 per cent of Canada’s GDP – require investment in trade and transit. We are looking to the federal parties to articulate their plans to support the growth and success of our metro regions.”

International exports represent over 45 per cent of Canada’s GDP and approximately half of Canada’s jobs are directly or indirectly linked to trade.