Future-Proofing Canada’s Economy Through Infrastructure
Development and Innovation Minister Champagne discusses how public-private partnerships get more infrastructure built, giving Canada an advantage in fostering economic growth, and benefiting all Canadians.
In virtually every corner of our country, communities are busy improving roads and bridges, upgrading water treatment plants, rolling out new buses and trains, and putting up new buildings. Having toured some of these projects, I’ve seen how investments in 21st century infrastructure create middle-class jobs and enable Canadians to build better lives for themselves and their children.
At a time when global companies can source their talent, goods, and services from anywhere in the world, having high-quality infrastructure gives Canada an advantage in fostering economic growth. In response to the growing needs of communities across the country, our government has put infrastructure at the heart of Canada’s economic development by investing more than $180 billion over 12 years. We are also collaborating with provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to deliver better infrastructure.
Communities like Carcross, Yukon, are expanding and improving their cultural infrastructure to provide members with a place to share their heritage and culture. Communities like Stanley, New Brunswick, are making key upgrades to wastewater systems to ensure the community remains healthy and liveable. Communities like Pigeon Lake, Alberta, are investing in green infrastructure to protect the health and safety of residents and the surrounding environment.
Across the country, public-private partnerships are an important and recognized way to get important infrastructure projects built. Many of our partners choose this approach as a procurement method to design, build, and maintain their projects. Public-private partnerships are paving the way for a new Champlain Bridge to be built in Montréal. Meanwhile, the Gordie Howe International Bridge is being built at the busy border crossing between Windsor and Detroit to improve the flow of goods and people at a critical corridor for international trade. These partnerships show that Canada already has a successful track record in working with the private sector for the public interest.
In a country as vast as ours, public investment alone cannot meet the sizeable infrastructure need that exists without placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. Canadian and global investors are looking for opportunities to invest in long-lived infrastructure projects with appropriate, risk-adjusted returns. Partnering with the private sector is one way for the public sector to build more infrastructure that benefits Canadians.
This is why we created the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which has a mandate to increase the participation of private sector investors in transformative, revenue-generating infrastructure projects that will benefit Canadians and help public dollars go further.
Since opening its doors in 2017, the Bank has been hard at work engaging private and institutional investors, and recently announced its participation in the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) in Montréal. When complete, this 26-station, 67-kilometre long light rail network will be the fourth largest automated transportation system in the world, making it easier for Montréalers and visitors alike to move within the city.
New partnerships between governments and the private sector will get more infrastructure built, creating more opportunities for all Canadians to participate fully in the life of the nation and share in its prosperity.
The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne is Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.