April 4, 2018

Activities of Note from Governments Across Canada

There is a lot of activity happening in the infrastructure sector across federal, provincial, territorial, and indigenous governments. A few things to pay attention to over the next few weeks and months:

Prompt Payment Legislation:

  • The Ontario Government updated its Construction Lien Act and created a prompt payment regime, introduced mandatory performance bonding, and set up an adjudication process for disputes. Regulations were also released and will take effect July 1, 2018. Find more info here (link to our update we sent members)
  • The Federal government has hired Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel to lead a report to bring in prompt payment legislation at the federal level, which comes on the heels of a Senate Private Members Bill
  • Other provinces such as Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been looking to introduce similar legislation and were watching Ontario closely

Infrastructure Investments:

Budget Season is upon us and governments are continuing to prioritize infrastructure investments in their fiscal plans. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The federal government made further investments in First Nations water, included measures to support women in skilled trades, and increased funding for rural broadband. They also have taken steps to move forward with VIA Rail’s high frequency rail project between Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal
  • The Government of British Columbia is investing $15B in infrastructure including new and renovated schools, health facilities, transportation projects, and affordable housing.
  • The Government of Manitoba announced that it will not use a public-private partnership to build several schools but states the province remains “fully committed to the benefits of P3s and partnering with private enterprise.”
  • Alberta commits to a $30 billion capital investment plan over 5 years.
  • Nova Scotia reports a $29 million surplus and a $102 million investment to “build, purchase and renovate schools” in their annual capital plan.
  • Quebéc’s 2018 budget injects more than $10 billion annually into infrastructure over the next 10 years.
  • Ontario recommits to invest $182 billion in transit, roads, hospitals, schools, bridges and railway systems in the next 10 years.

 Other things to watch:

  • The Government of British Columbia did move forward with a DBFM for Abbotsford courthouse, and a DBF for the Pattullo Bridge, though it still remains unclear whether the P3 approach is being pursued for other projects at this time.
  • Voters in Ontario will go to the polls on June 7th with the Progressive Conservatives leading the NDP and incumbent Liberals. As the largest P3 market, this will be an important race to follow.
  • The Trump Infrastructure Plan has been met with a lukewarm response. Though it is promoting P3s as a tool, many are skeptical that the $200B over 10 years can truly be leveraged into $1.5T. The Senate Democrats have released their own plan, which seeks to invest $1T directly into infrastructure, but stands little chance of passing as it also seeks to roll back the Trump tax cuts.