The regulatory and standards landscape of Canada’s public infrastructure


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Infrastructure Canada (INFC) is the Government of Canada’s focal point for making strategic investments in public infrastructure and advancing the New Deal for Cities and Communities. Research is a fundamental building block for both. INFC is committed tbuilding, connecting and sharing knowledge about public infrastructure and communities.

The department identified governance as one of its six priority areas for research. In this area, there is a pressing need timprove understanding of the complex landscape of regulations and standards that affect public infrastructure in communities across the country. This understanding is fundamental tpublic policy development on both infrastructure and the New Deal.

This paper provides definitions, data-sets and recommendations as a result of a recent project that was completed in March 2005. The goal was tlay the groundwork toward a comprehensive framework for mapping the Canadian landscape for regulations, codes and standards related tpublic infrastructure.

It is anticipated that the research, subsequent mapping, and communication of the information will result in improved empirical and evidence-based decision making; improved predictability in decision-making and approval processes and mitigation of aggregate and unintended effects of the regulatory framework and policy decisions on public infrastructure and communities.

It is believed that this work will be especially valuable tInfrastructure Canada’s Horizontal Research Roundtable and other groups tasked with better understanding the interactions of the various regulatory and regulation-like instruments on Canada’s public infrastructure.

Organization of this report

The project methodology is outlined in section #2.
The work-product and outcomes of this phase of the work are:

  • Existing definitions of Public Infrastructure were researched and a ‘prototype’ definition compatible with Infrastructure Canada’s mandate is proposed (refer tsection #3);
  • Broad categories tdescribe various aspects of public infrastructure are outlined (refer tsection #4)
  • A multi-dimensional mapping framework is proposed based on the typical lifecycle for various types of infrastructure (refer tsection #5). Tthe best of our knowledge – this approach is somewhat unique. Most existing research does not consider all phases of the lifecycle of infrastructure, but rather tends tfocus on only one or perhaps two. By considering the entire lifecycle within the framework will help tassure more comprehensive mapping in future.
  • Various jurisdictional overlays that make up the public infrastructure regulatory and standards landscape in Canada are described (refer tsection #6);
  • The division of regulatory powers between Federal, Provincial and Local governments and how they link with public infrastructure is shown in Annex A
  • A specific example of the complexity of specific Provincial statutes related tpublic infrastructure is outlined in Annex B, using Ontarias the example.
  • Using the ‘prototype’ definition and framework as a guide, a data-set of legislation, regulations, codes and standards affecting public infrastructure in Canada was created and is included as Annex C
  • Subject area recognition related tpubic infrastructure is classified by Standards Development
    Organization in Annex D;
  • Other published legislation-related or legislation-like instruments that are referenced by authorities, are discussed as well. An illustrative example based on Ontariroads and highways is provided within Annex E;
  • An example of how ISO’s International Classification System (ICS) can be adapted for use as an aid for identifying relevant legislation and related instruments pertaining tpublic infrastructure is included with Annex F.

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