Trudeau unveils CAD10bn infra plan

Three-year plan to target growing sectors with support from private finance; Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is “incredibly powerful tool” to deliver program

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has laid out plans to boost long-term economic growth with the Canadian Infrastructure Bank’s new Growth Plan.

In a joint statement with CIB chair Michael Sabia and Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna, Trudeau said the CIB would “hit its stride” by executing the new plan.

The three-year, CAD$10bn plan will target “growing sectors” including broadband, retrofitting, electrifying transport, renewable energy, and agricultural infrastructure.

Trudeau added: “By investing in infrastructure, we are strengthening our communities and ensuring good jobs for today and in the future.”

As part of the effort to fulfil the promise made in last week’s Speech from the Throne of creating one million jobs, this plan will create approximately 60,000 jobs.

“In order for Canada to reach its full potential we are making historic investments in infrastructure,” Minister McKenna said. “The CIB is critical to expanding Canada’s ambition to get more world class sustainable infrastructure built by bringing in the private sector.”

The role of the private sector is eyed as scaling up the impact of infrastructure: “One of the defining features of the Canada Infrastructure Bank is attracting private investment to new infrastructure. Every dollar of public investment in these initiatives is intended to attract additional dollars from private and institutional investors,” Sabia added.

“Beyond this plan and its immediate priority the bank will continue developing ideas and working with partners across government and the private sector.”

Although the plan is designed to target the short-term impact of the pandemic, the statement emphasized the increased role of the CIB, which will have a new chief executive "in the coming weeks", and its ability to “draw in private capital” for future projects.

“The supply of capital will be there, our challenge is to identify the projects, structure the projects and structure the financing in a creative way,” he added.

The CIB is an “incredibly powerful tool to create opportunities” Trudeau added, “by investing in very major projects and taking on and drawing in significant international capital”.

The plan is set out in five major initiatives:

  • $2.5bn for clean power projects
  • $2bn for broadband developments
  • $2bn in large scale retrofits and energy efficiency
  • $1.5bn for agriculture irrigation projects
  • $1.5bn  for the electrification of transit, including charging infrastructure