Highlights from Federal Budget 2021-2022 – Impact on the Construction Industry

Dear CANS Member:

On Monday, April 19, 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, tabled the 2021 federal budget – the first in two years.

Federal Budget 2021-2022 Highlights:
  • $470 million over three years to establish the Apprenticeship Service, helping 55,000 first-year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades connect with opportunities at small and medium-sized employers. It will provide an additional incentive for employers who hire people traditionally underrepresented in the trades, including women, racialized Canadians, and persons with disabilities – $5,000 training subsidies or $10,000 subsidies for women or BIPOC apprentices. $960 million will also be set aside for the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to help job seekers train for jobs in in-demand sectors, like construction.
  • $200 million over three years to Infrastructure Canada to establish a Natural Infrastructure Fund to support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects. This would help to improve well-being, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and prevent costly natural events.
  • $1.4 billion over 12 years to Infrastructure Canada to top up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to support projects such as wildfire mitigation activities, rehabilitation of stormwater systems, and restoration of wetlands and shorelines.
  • $11.7 million over five years through Infrastructure Canada to renew the Standards to Support Resilience in Infrastructure Program, so that the Standards Council of Canada can continue updating standards and guidance in priority areas, such as flood mapping and building in the North. This would help communities to plan and build roads, buildings, and other infrastructure that is more durable and resilient to a changing climate.
  • $23 million over four years for Infrastructure Canada to conduct what it calls the country’s first-ever national infrastructure assessment, partly to identify next steps toward a long-discussed, never-developed high-frequency rail link between Toronto and Quebec City.
  • $14.9 billion over eight years to build new public transit, electrify existing transit systems and help connect rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Major investments on Indigenous infrastructure needs include $4.3 billion over four years for the Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund and $1.7 billion over five years to cover the operations and maintenance costs of community infrastructure in First Nations communities on reserves.
  • Reduce—by 50 percent—the general corporate and small business income tax rates for businesses that manufacture zero-emission technologies. The reductions would go into effect on January 1, 2022, and would be gradually phased out starting January 1, 2029, and eliminated by January 1, 2032. These proposed tax rate reductions will enhance Canada’s competitiveness in attracting investment in zero-emission technology manufacturing, while also supporting existing businesses in the sector.
  • $101.4 billion in new spending over three years to fuel the recovery and kick-start the transition to a green economy. $17.6 billion towards a green recovery to create jobs, build a clean economy, and fight and protect against climate change.
  • The government pledges to build, repair and support 35,000 affordable housing units through an investment of $2.5 billion and a reallocation of $1.3 billion in existing funding. The government will reallocate $300 million from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to support the conversion of empty office spaces to housing.
  • $1.9 billion over four years, starting in 2021-22, to “recapitalize” the National Trade Corridors Fund. The government hopes to leverage private investment to boost the impact of the funding, with $2.7 billion from private and other public sector partners potentially resulting in total investments of $4.6 billion.
  • The new Canada Digital Adoption Program, intended to support 160,000 businesses with the cost of new technology and give work to 28,000 young Canadians who will be trained to implement the plan.
  • $1 billion to a fund for improving high-speed communications in rural and remote areas of Canada, bringing the total to $2.75 billion by 2026.
  • Federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation, with provisions to ensure that where provincial or territorial minimum wages are higher, that wage will prevail.
  • A new Canada Recovery Hiring Program to provide eligible employers with a subsidy of up to 50 percent on the incremental remuneration paid to eligible employees between June 6 and November 20. The program will provide $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring in new ones.
  • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support will be extended until Sept. 25, 2021, representing an estimated total of $12.1 billion in additional support.
  • Billions more is being earmarked to support affected workers through a range of steps, including a series of changes to the EI program, which includes extending the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks and continuing to offer COVID-19-prompted caregiving supports in the short-term.

To read more highlights from the federal government’s Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, click here.

As always, we want to hear from you. We want to know what is keeping you up at night as a member firm. Please reach out to me or any of our CANS team at any time.


Duncan P. Williams

President & CEO, Construction Association of Nova Scotia

  • Learn More About the 2021-2022 Federal Budget

The Canadian Construction Association issued a press release regarding the 2021 federal budget, stating that it affirms the value of infrastructure investment in driving economic recovery. Click here to read more. The CCA also sent a written submission in March for the pre-budget consultations in advance of the federal budget. Click here to read more.

April 21: The Halifax Chamber of Commerce is hosting a post-budget conversation with The Honourable Chrystia Freeland. To register for this free event, click here.  Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, will chat with Minister Freeland to discuss what the new budget means for Atlantic Canadian businesses as we continue to recover from the covid-19 pandemic.