• Stuck In Traffic For 10,000 Years

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    July 19, 2017
    Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve
    The latest major research effort by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is a 49-page report that examines the effects of various deficiencies in infrastructure, ranging from access to broadband internet to improving the Ontario-Québec trade corridor with the U.S., lack of new pipelines and the unexplored potential of Canada’s North.
    As you head out on vacation, it is probable that you will be spending longer periods of time in your car. You will have more difficulty staying in touch via email as you access the internet in certain parts of the country. Or you may have to wait longer for that new mystery novel you just ordered online to read on the dock because of deficient infrastructure. Maybe you might even fare as poorly as a gentleman in East Elgin we recently heard from who has to walk up his lane and onto the road to make a cell call.
    As with the examples cited, lack of proper infrastructure is leading to lost opportunities and wasted time for our Members, your clients and our community.
    Our new report touches multiple issues and we think at least one of these deficiencies in infrastructure affects you and our community.
    The full list of infrastructure challenges included in this report: 
    • Facilitating trade through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor
    • Improved digital access and investment across Canada
    • Maximizing the potential of Northern communities and businesses
    • Enhancing the Quebec-Ontario trade corridor
    • Getting oil and gas to global markets
    • Green electrification and transmission
    The issue of connecting in the digital world is a big concern for the Chamber, both locally and across the nation. Businesses and communities will never reach their full potential unless Canada addresses inefficiencies in its digital infrastructure.
    “Coverage gaps in Canada’s rural and northern areas result in lost productivity and stifle innovation. Other major economies are looking at advanced network technology and the business opportunities that lie therein. We can’t afford not to invest in a more inclusive and competitive digital economy,” said Perrin Beatty, CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
    One section of our new report, titled Positioning Canada to Excel in the Information Age examines the challenges facing Canadian companies in a rapidly changing digital economy and makes recommendations to improve access and advancements throughout the country.
    St. Thomas & District Chamber President & CEO Bob Hammersley notes some local misinformation on a program called SWIFT (SouthWestern Integrated Fibre Technology). Communities across Elgin and much of Southwestern Ontario and involved in this multi-million dollar government-led initiative. The SWIFT Network will bring high-speed connectivity to communities but what happens when it reaches the community is another matter. The Chamber notes that SWIFT won’t touch the City of St. Thomas at all, because high-speed fibre is already here. The problem locally is the infrastructure to distribute it once it hits the city limits. Compared to other similar-size municipalities, St. Thomas has a long way to go to catch-up on the quality and availability of local fibre infrastructure.
    “Government must prioritize infrastructure investments to keep businesses connected and make sure they’re at the forefront of innovation,” Mr. Beatty says. “As MPs tour Canada this summer making infrastructure announcements, we need to ask, are these investments being spent in the right places?” he concluded.
    Positioning Canada to excel in the Information Age is part of a larger report, Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems That Infrastructure Investment can Solve outlining several infrastructure challenges that government must target to place Canada on a more equal playing field. View or download the full report via our website by clicking here.
    About the Chambers
    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
    The St. Thomas & District Chamber is part of the national Chamber network and provides news and information to and for the business community via multiple channels including this magazine, the Chamber website, and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. 
    Bob Hammersley, President & CEO
    bob@stthomaschamber.ca, 5196311981 x524