Mr. Chair and members of the committee, good afternoon.
My name is Annie Ropar. I am the chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. I am glad to be speaking to you today. I am joined by my colleagues John Casola, chief investment officer, and David Morley, group head of corporate affairs, policy and communications.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to discuss the importance of investing in infrastructure and the role of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, the CIB. At the CIB, we know that new infrastructure is a powerful lever for recovering productivity and growth, now more than ever. New infrastructure can generate considerable economic, social and environmental benefits over time.
Fortunately, Canada has a great deal of experience in infrastructure projects carried out through public-private partnerships. We also have a solid ecosystem of companies that support investment in infrastructure. Those companies include construction and consulting engineering companies, as well as financial institutions. Cooperation with public sector partners is at the heart of the CIB's actions. We have discussions periodically with federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as indigenous communities on their needs and their priorities in infrastructure.
Although we bring to projects a thorough knowledge of industry and investment capital, it is public sponsors—in other words, governments of all levels—that generally have the assets and manage projects. Those are our clients. We have announced our participation in 10 new projects. Those projects are located in different regions of Canada and involve various investment sectors.
We have announced participation in 10 new projects. They are in different regions and in various sectors.
We are helping bring to life projects that are priorities for governments. A key rationale for creating the Canada Infrastructure Bank was that governments alone could not underwrite all the required investment in infrastructure. That was the view before the pandemic struck. Public budgets will be even more strained in the near term. Expanded partnerships with the private sector are needed to spark activity and get new assets built. That’s where we come in. The CIB acts as a catalyst to encourage new financing approaches.
CIB was established by legislation in 2017 and became operational in 2018. It has a mandate to invest $35 billion dollars as one element of the government’s investing in Canada plan. Our objective is to advance a new partnership model and transform the way infrastructure is planned, financed and delivered in Canada. We focus on revenue-generating projects. Projects must be linked to national, provincial or local priorities. Our current priority sectors are green infrastructure, public transit, trade and transportation, and broadband infrastructure.
In those sectors, we have three key roles.
First, we advise governments across Canada, at all levels, on revenue-generating infrastructure projects and innovative investment options. We offer specialized expertise in structuring financial instruments and provide financial advisory and project structuring. Second, we invest in projects and seek to attract private and institutional capital to co-invest alongside us. To be clear, we do not provide grants or traditional government funding. Rather, we can extend loans, take equity positions in a project, or use other innovative tools to help get a project built. Third, with partners, we develop and share infrastructure knowledge and research.
Our activities and efforts have yielded results. We have, so far, announced participation in 10 projects across Canada, with more to come.
Infrastructure is a long-term asset class. The capital costs of transformational projects can range from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. Projects often entail complex design and analysis work, with dozens of expert parties involved.
In some projects, we act as early-stage advisers to governments. In cases where projects are more advanced, we are investors. With our public and private partners, we work to understand infrastructure problems and create financial solutions that are tailored to each project. That is a unique feature and a net benefit for us being a federal organization that adapts to the needs of our partners.
Good ideas for necessary and valuable infrastructure can stall, for many reasons. There might be a lack of public funding or an inability to attract private capital. At the CIB, we play an active role to identify and address the gaps, thereby supporting projects that would likely otherwise not proceed without our involvement.
As mentioned before, we do not provide grants, but we also need to ensure that we don’t crowd out private capital, meaning that we don’t invest where there is otherwise institutional financing available. A few examples can demonstrate our positive impact.
We announced a $300-million facility to build the Contrecoeur port terminal in Montreal. This expansion will increase container-handling capacity and meet forecast demand from international shippers, as well as Canadian exporters and importers.
We are advising on the proposed Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link. It involves the construction of a new, 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt transmission line from Manitoba to Nunavut. The project would deliver renewable and reliable hydroelectricity and broadband infrastructure to the Kivalliq region.
In Richmond, B.C., we are working with the municipality’s Lulu Island Energy Company to expand the city’s existing district energy system, and this month we were pleased to announce our first partnership with the Government of Alberta, on the Calgary-Banff rail project. This rail link would support Alberta’s economy by connecting the Calgary International Airport to the city’s downtown and Banff National Park.
Our advisory and investments team has deep knowledge in our priority sectors. My colleague John, for example, despite his very youthful appearance, has more than 20 years of experience advising on project finance and transactions. His senior team has the experience and knowledge to work with the public sector, mobilize private capital, and manage risks.
At any given time, the team is evaluating a long list of ideas and confidential proposals. These come from governments or public agencies, as well as from the private sector. In the most recent fiscal year, we assessed 172 potential projects. The proposals covered all provinces and territories. There is a great supply of creative ideas on how to successfully align private and public interests in delivering infrastructure.