When we compare per capita infrastructure investment among similar OECD countries that have a population over five million, Canada’s performance is distinctly...average. Since 1960, Canadian infrastructure investment rates have been below the median nearly as often as they have been above.
The years between 1975-2005 make up a long period of relative underinvestment – culminating with especially low investment during the 1990’s while Canada was focused on deficit reductions. The economic stimulus program that followed the financial
crisis in 2008 has resulted in higher investment rates over
the last decade.
By contrast, Norway’s investment track record has been consistently strong, particularly in energy where sustained funding has enabled the industry to compete on a global level. Likewise, while Australia’s infrastructure spending trailed Canada and many other OECD countries from 1960-1989, that changed in the 1990s when the country’s focus on microeconomic reforms, deregulation and competition led to a significant and sustained increase in infrastructure investment. A subsequent focus on project prioritization mechanisms and asset recycling has rocketed them to the top of the peer set in recent years.