Increasing the skilled trades workforce, designing infrastructure for the age of climate change, and delivering major transit projects were major themes of the 2019 Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships conference, held in Toronto on November 18 and 19.

The annual event’s reputation as the premiere global infrastructure event is well earned, continually attracting over 1,200 leaders in global infrastructure. This year’s keynote speakers included Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver; Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Canada’s National Inuit Leader; and Ontario Premier Doug Ford; and who all addressed emerging issues and challenges within the public-private partnership market.

The hallways buzzed as break-away sessions and keynote speeches took place, taking the graphs and charts that flow from government offices, boardrooms, and public domains, off the page and into real understanding of how these major projects are going to progress.

“There is a myriad of significant challenges confronting the sector, from climate change and technological disruption to a skilled trades shortage and procurement models that are under stress, but there is also tremendous opportunity to innovate and improve future infrastructure delivery,” said Mark Romoff, President and CEO of CCPPP.

This year’s National Conference theme is Ground Breaking Partnerships. “The CCPPP’s Annual Conference remains the premier forum for a wide range of decision makers and leaders in the P3 space to network and share their views on how P3s can help address the infrastructure deficit and drive economic competitiveness through innovative approaches to public service delivery,” said Mark Romoff, President and CEO of The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. “

As Canada approaches the 30-year mark for the use of P3s in Canada and has 285 projects in operation or under construction, Romoff noted “It’s so exciting to see there are still new ways the public and private sectors and Indigenous communities can work together to find innovative and sustainable approaches to developing, financing and maintaining public infrastructure that achieves the best outcomes for Canadians.”

National Awards for Innovation and Excellence

Always a highlight of the event, the National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships highlighted the “innovative and sustainable approaches” in Canadian infrastructure. The five infrastructure projects, located in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, Alberta and Ontario, showcase the diversity of projects across the country using P3s to deliver innovative infrastructure that best serves the economic and social needs of Canadians.

“The five projects selected are quite diverse but they all share this in common: a tremendous sense of teamwork, ingenuity, perseverance and desire to truly deliver great infrastructure that improves the lives of Canadians,” says Cliff Inskip, President of Polar Star Advisory Services Inc.

The Gold winning projects were the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project (Project Financing Award), Tłıch All-Season Road (Project Development Award), with silver going to the Library and Archives Canada’s Gatineau 2 Project (Project Development Award), the New Toronto Courthouse (Project Development Award), and Stoney CNG Bus Storage and Transit Facility (Infrastructure Award).

Speaking of the new Toronto courthouse, Michael Lindsay, President Project Delivery, Infrastructure Ontario (IO), said “IO couldn’t be more proud of this acknowledgement, and we thank the CCPPP committee for their recognition of the courthouse at this stage, as it highlights our strong partnership with EllisDon Infrastructure, our unique collaboration with the City of Toronto, and all the stakeholders who have contributed to this project to date—IO is thrilled to deliver this project for the Ministry of the Attorney General. We are all excited to see this project taking shape.”
“This partnership brought a unique design perspective to the P3 model and is delivering a landmark in the City of Toronto showcasing its important history and heritage,” added. Danny Giacomel, Vice-President, EllisDon Capital.

Speaking for the Tłı ch All-Season Road project, Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, Whatì, Tłı ch Government said it is “an example of how infrastructure projects on traditional lands should be carried out”, telling the P3 audience, “we have been involved in all phases of the development of this road, from the vision of our elders on planning and routing, through approvals by our own decision-making authorities and through our equity investment in construction and operations.”

World-Class Model

P3s create jobs, drive economic growth and enhance productivity, which is why many nations are looking to Canada, and this conference, for best practises.

This year’s two-day program has been carefully crafted to put the spotlight on the most significant and provocative issues confronting governments, Indigenous communities and the private sector in their collaborative effort to tackle Canada’s and the world’s greatest infrastructure challenges.

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