CFIB supports quick implementation of the report’s recommendations
Winnipeg, August 7, 2019 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased with the report released today by the City of Winnipeg’s Road Construction Working Group. The Working Group—created by Mayor Brian Bowman on May 27, 2019—delivered a report that provides solid recommendations to the City to help mitigate the negative impacts of municipal construction for businesses and residents, while ensuring taxpayers can receive good value for infrastructure spending.
The report delivers the first step of a commitment made by Mayor Bowman during the 2018 municipal election, to provide concrete and practical recommendations on ways to improve the overall road construction process.
“CFIB challenged the City of Winnipeg and other municipalities across Canada to make construction mitigation a priority and develop a comprehensive plan to help small businesses. We are encouraged to see that Winnipeg has been one of the most proactive by accomplishing this first step,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Manitoba. “Now it is essential that the Mayor and Council implement the report’s recommendations as soon as possible.”
As a member of the Road Construction Working Group, CFIB was a voice for the many Winnipeg businesses that are disrupted by roadwork each year. The Group’s Report focuses on recommendations to:
- Improve communication with affected businesses and residents;
- Align the tendering and budgetary processes to provide better planning; and
- Extend working hours and reduce the duration of projects.
“Roadwork is essential to a thriving Winnipeg, but it continues to have a significant negative impact on local businesses each year,” noted Alward. “However, the good news is that solutions already exist and we’re pleased to see that the City is working with CFIB and other industry stakeholders to implement many of them.”
“While Winnipeg has a long way to go to implement these recommendations and develop a comparable mitigation policy to Montreal, the motivation is there to fix this problem going forward,” concluded Alward.
The Group’s recommendations are in line with some of the best practices outlined in CFIB’s groundbreaking May 2018 national research report Paving a Smoother Road: Helping small businesses survive infrastructure work, which found that since 2012 as many as 65,000 Canadian businesses were seriously affected by infrastructure projects, often having to borrow, relocate or close down altogether. In July 2018, CFIB met with Mayor Bowman, and challenged the City of Winnipeg to develop a plan to reduce the impact of roadwork on small businesses.
“Increasingly, Canadian cities recognize that infrastructure projects can have a negative economic impact on local businesses during construction,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research and a co-author of the 2018 report. “This is why cities like Halifax, Montreal and Winnipeg collaborated with CFIB as they tried to develop comprehensive construction mitigation policies so local businesses can survive those projects and continue to thrive afterwards."
CFIB looks forward to continuing to work with the City of Winnipeg to ensure municipal infrastructure upgrades are carried out with minimal impact to local businesses. CFIB will also keep pushing the City for compensation in cases where businesses take a major and extended hit that threatens their survival.
To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba, please call 204-982-0817 or email [email protected]. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.
To arrange an interview with Simon Gaudreault, Senior Director, National Research, please call 647-464-2814 or email [email protected].
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings.