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Canada Ontario won’t follow Quebec-Caisse model, Infrastructure Minister says

Ontario's Infrastructure Minister, Brad Duguid said pension funds currently provide “a significant” amount of the financing for Ontario P3s. But their role is limited to lending money to the project– as opposed to becoming an owner, as Caisse is doing in Quebec.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Ontario government is cool to the sort of arrangement the Caisse has struck with the Quebec government. While Ontario builds many of its major infrastructure projects – from transit lines to hospitals – through public-private partnerships, those pieces of infrastructure remain publicly owned. There is little interest in changing that, Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid indicated in a statement Tuesday.

"Projects delivered through Ontario's Alternative Financing and Procurement delivery model are publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable – these are important values for our government, and for the people of Ontario," Mr. Duguid said. Caisse could, however, bid on Ontario infrastructure projects; it would just not receive the same sort of deal as it has negotiated in Quebec.

Mr. Duguid said pension funds currently provide "a significant" amount of the financing for Ontario P3s. But their role is limited to lending money to the project– as opposed to becoming an owner, as Caisse is doing in Quebec.

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"Canadian pension funds are among the global leaders in financing infrastructure projects, and they provide a significant amount of the financing for Ontario's Alternative Financing and Procurement model. This financing has allowed us to build over $10-billion in significant new infrastructure projects over the last decade, and we will continue working with them in the future," Mr. Duguid said.

Mr. Duguid's office said he had not spoken with anyone from Caisse. Neither had any of the senior leadership of Infrastructure Ontario, the Crown corporation that oversees the building of infrastructure projects in Ontario.

The province is in the midst of a major, decade-long infrastructure-building push, including new transit lines and highways.

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