On June 11, OSPE presented the provincial and federal governments with recommendations developed by our COVID-19 Economic Recovery working group. OSPE was pleased to hear back from both The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources and The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
OSPE’s message was clear: Engineers generate wealth for the province, through the development and commercialization of new technologies and by designing innovative and sustainable solutions that benefit all Ontarians.
Engineers also ensure safety and stability by designing resilient infrastructure, reliable energy grids and clean water systems that Ontarians rely on daily.
The engineering community has been severely impacted by job loss during by this pandemic. This talent must be retained and will be needed in rebuilding the engine that drives Ontario and the rest of the country. As such, the province must support the engineering community if it wishes to maximize its economic recovery efforts.
It is imperative that new funding allocations provide sustainable benefits for diverse, future generations by ensuring a focus on sustainable infrastructure, talent development and retention, and fostering innovation.
OSPE believes that the government must prioritize actions that will enable a prosperous recovery for Ontario. COVID-19 has taught us the great importance of building a resilient economy that is prepared to withstand future threats of this magnitude.
A resilient economy can be supported by:
- Leveraging Ontario’s existing assets
- Building the assets that both businesses and workers of the future need to succeed
- Strengthening Ontario’s competitive advantage
OSPE recommended the following short-term actions to the federal government:
- Work with provincial and territorial governments towards a sustainable transition, by encouraging the use of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and emissions free technology.
- Invest in Ontario’s Mining Industry to ensure proper clean-up of Ontario’s orphaned and abandoned sites.
- Invest in talent development, knowledge training, and supports for engineers in Ontario.
- Support engineering students and recent engineering graduates.
- Drive the transformation of engineering education.
- Create a dedicated fund to support Ontario businesses in Research and Development (R&D) activities with a strong focus on local commercialization, including development and protection of Intellectual Property (IP) for Ontario and Canada’s benefit.
In his response, Minister O’ Regan highlighted “the importance of Canada’s engineering community to our national economy, our natural resources sector and our everyday lives has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.” He also emphasized that encouraging the use of distributed energy resources and emissions-free technology is a priority of this federal government. OSPE is also glad to hear that the federal government is still committed to the implementation of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP).
Minister Wilkinson emphasized that “the Government of Canada recognizes that the environmental crisis cannot be neglected during the current health crisis.” He also went on to say that the Government of Canada will continue to support the growth of clean electricity with a modern, resilient grid. The Minister acknowledged that a low-carbon electricity supply with a modern grid can provide the foundation to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions across other sectors. OSPE is pleased to hear that the federal government “is exploring ways to support a significant expansion of this country’s electrical infrastructure, including new interties, energy storage, smart technologies, services to transform the grid, and the requirement to electrify end uses.”
Ontario’s Engineering community is being heard by all levels of government, including high level officials in the federal government.