2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

How good asset management practices will contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Mr. Brandon Searle, UNB (Presenter)
Dr. Jeff Rankin, University of New Brunswick
Dr. Xiomara Sanchez, University of New Brunswick

Municipal asset management (AM) is a developing industry which was realized when the federal government mandated municipalities across Canada report their Tangible Capital Asset (TCA) in order to receive their Federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) in 2012. This exercise, which was developed by the Public-Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) and is known as PSAB 3150, was primarily used for the municipalities to form an inventory of their assets as well as the historical values. Since PSAB 3150, the government has mandated municipalities to form an AM Plan with a focus on level of service, condition, asset strategies, risk and decision-making, and long-term financial forecasting. During this time, the United Nations (UN) were in the process of developed their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for cities worldwide. The focus of this research is to examine how good AM concepts support the SDGs developed by the UN.

The 2016 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, which consisted of 38 municipal and transit authorities, states that 12% of infrastructure is in “poor” or “very poor” condition and organizations across Canada do not have the funds required to replace existing assets. Using AM practices, municipalities are able to make better decisions at all levels of planning (strategic, operational and tactical).

By identifying what municipalities want now and for the future, asset managers are reconsidering how to manage their infrastructure to maintain or increase service levels. By doing this, asset managers are hoping to support infrastructure sustainability. To understand this, the following methodology will be used:

  • Stage 1: Reviewing existing performance measures (both technical and customer) and cross-reference with the UN SDGs to determine if the performance measures support, oppose or have no effect on the SDG identified;
  • Stage 2: Identify a list of performance measures which support the SDGs and perform a literature search to support the hypothesis; and
  • Stage 3: Perform a case study with a Canadian municipality to understand how their performance measures and tracked levels of service have impacted delivery of service (through infrastructure condition or expenditure) and identify any missing gaps.

It is anticipated that there is a significant correlation between the UN SDGs and the performance measures being used by municipalities to measure service levels. Despite this, it is likely that many UN SDGs will not be impacted by the performance measures being used, resulting in recommendations for Canadian municipalities to consider alternative performance measures when managing their infrastructure.