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Canada's Core Public Infrastructure Survey: Asset management, 2016

Released: 2018-12-10

Asset management

In 2016, just under 40% of core public infrastructure owners in Canada had a documented asset management plan to monitor their infrastructure over the long term. These plans are used to help operate and sustain the public infrastructure that Canadians depend on and use every day for activities related to work, business, recreation and daily living.

Statistics Canada, in partnership with Infrastructure Canada, has launched its first-ever catalogue of the state of the nation's infrastructure. The catalogue provides statistical information on the stock, condition, performance and management strategies of Canada's core public infrastructure assets. This consists of a wide variety of assets owned and operated by provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments, from bridges and tunnels, roads, wastewater, stormwater, potable water and solid waste assets, to social and affordable housing, culture, recreation and sports facilities, and public transit.

The Daily is running a series of releases to present this new information, each addressing a sub-group of assets. This sixth and final installment in the series presents findings on specific asset management practices of provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments that own core public infrastructure assets.

The vast majority of owners of each type of core public infrastructure asset are municipal governments

In 2016, more than 90% of the owners of almost every type of public infrastructure asset were municipalities. The remainder were owned by provincial, territorial and regional governments. The lowest rates for municipal ownership were for public social and affordable housing (68.2%) and solid waste assets (88.7%).

Almost two-fifths of public infrastructure owners have a documented asset management plan that covers one or more core infrastructure assets

In 2016, 38.5% of owners of core public infrastructure had a documented asset management plan that covered one or more assets. Urban municipalities with a population of 30,000 or more were most likely (70.5%) to have this type of plan. Over half of rural municipalities with populations of 5,000 or more (56.9%) and urban municipalities with a population of 5,000 to 29,999 (54.4%) had such plans in 2016. The lowest rates were noted in urban municipalities with a population of 1 to 4,999 (25.3%) and rural municipalities with a population of 1,000 to 4,999 (30.4%).

Nearly all (95.6%) owners in Ontario had a documented asset management plan that covered one or more core infrastructure assets in 2016. Elsewhere in the country, almost half (47.5%) of British Columbia owners and about one-third of owners in each of Saskatchewan (35.2%), the Northwest Territories (33.3%) and Alberta (29.9%) had a documented asset management plan. No owners in Yukon or Nunavut had this type of plan in 2016.

Bridges and tunnels, roads and potable water assets most likely to be part of a documented asset management plan

Certain core public infrastructure were more likely than others to be part of a documented asset management plan. Bridge and tunnel assets were most likely to be included (40.8%), followed by road (39.7%) and potable water (37.9%) assets. About one-fifth (19.4%) of organizations had solid waste assets as part of their documented asset management plan, the lowest for all asset types.

About three-fifths of those organizations with a documented asset management plan update it every one to four years

About three-fifths (59.1%) of organizations updated their documented asset management plan every one to four years, while just over one-quarter (25.5%) updated their plan every five years or more.

Nearly two-fifths of organizations without a documented asset management plan intend to implement one within four years

Nearly two-fifths (38.8%) of organizations without a documented asset management plan in 2016 planned to implement one within four years, while 3.5% intended to implement one in five or more years. Organizations without a plan in Yukon (100.0%), Ontario (87.5%) and British Columbia (82.1%) most frequently reported planning to implement a documented asset management plan within the next four years.

In turn, 27.7% of organizations were not planning to implement one, while 26.1% did not know if they would.

Decisions on stormwater and road assets most likely to factor in climate change adaptation

Just over half (51.3%) of stormwater asset owners and just over two-fifths (40.3%) of owners of roads considered climate change adaptation as part of their decision-making process, the highest rates for all public infrastructure asset types. Those least likely to factor climate change adaptation into decision-making were owners of public social and affordable housing (17.8%), public transit (18.1%) and solid waste assets (18.1%). Nationally, 41.8% of organizations did not include climate change adaptation as a factor in their decision-making processes for any core infrastructure assets.

Nova Scotia (83.3%), British Columbia (75.2%) and Prince Edward Island (75.0%) led all provinces and territories in factoring climate change adaptation into decision-making for stormwater assets. For roads, it was Newfoundland and Labrador (68.8%), Nova Scotia (52.2%), and Manitoba (47.5%) that were ahead of the curve.

Over one-third (36.4%) of public wastewater asset owners in Canada factored climate-change adaptation into their decision-making, led by Nova Scotia (73.9%). Likewise, while about one-third (30.8%) of potable water asset owners in Canada factored in climate-change considerations, owners in Nova Scotia (61.5%) and British Columbia (54.8%) were most likely to consider climate change.

Nationally, 29.1% of bridge and tunnel owners considered climate change, while in Newfoundland and Labrador, the number was 51.4%. While 17.8% of public social and affordable housing owners had considered climate change, owners in Ontario (22.4%) and Alberta (27.3%) were most likely to have done so.

  Note to readers

Canada's Core Public Infrastructure Survey 2016 was conducted in partnership with Infrastructure Canada.

Data are based on responses from approximately 1,500 government organizations selected from Statistics Canada's Business Register, the central repository of information on public and private organizations operating in Canada. It is used as the principal frame for most of Statistics Canada's economic statistical programs. The following organizations are included in the survey:

  • Provincial and territorial departments and ministries responsible for roads; bridges and tunnels; public social and affordable housing; culture, recreation and sports; and public transit
  • Regional governments within the urban core
  • Urban municipalities
  • Rural municipalities with at least 1,000 residents.

The survey results cover nine asset types (bridges and tunnels; culture, recreation and sports facilities; potable water; public transit; roads; public social and affordable housing; solid waste; stormwater; wastewater) as well as information on asset management practices, 13 geographic regions, five municipality sizes and urban/rural municipalities.

Throughout this release, the term publicly-owned refers to an asset being owned or leased by the provincial, territorial, regional and municipal orders of government.

Social and affordable housing data for Quebec are not available for reference year 2016. For tables 34-10-0260, 34-10-0261, 34-10-0268, 34-10-0269, 34-10-0276, and 34-10-0277, estimates for Canada excluding Quebec were produced.

An asset management plan defines how a group of assets is to be managed over a period of time. The asset management plan describes the characteristics and condition of infrastructure assets, the levels of service expected from them, planned actions to ensure the assets are providing the expected level of service, and financing strategies to implement the planned actions.

Climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions identified by changes in temperature, precipitation, winds, and other indicators. Climate change can involve both changes in average conditions and changes in variability, including, for example, extreme events.

Climate change adaptation: anticipating or monitoring climate change and undertaking actions to address the consequences of climate change.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

For more information about why the survey was conducted and how it will inform infrastructure policy and program development and investment decisions, please contact Infrastructure Canada (toll-free: 1-877-250-7154 or 613-948-1148 or by email at or Infrastructure Canada Media Relations (toll-free: 1-877-250-7154 or 613-960-9251 or by email at

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