Today, Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, alongside the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure & Communities, and Michael Sabia, Chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), announced the launch of a new three-year Growth Plan under the CIB. The plan will invest $10-billion in five strategic pillars including clean power, energy storage, broadband, large-building energy retrofits, electric busses, and agricultural irrigation systems. The Growth Plan seeks to create 60,000 jobs and contribute to the fight against climate change.
No investments in specific projects were announced today, but the government stressed that the CIB is “open for business.” The intent we believe is to expedite decisions so that projects falling into one of the priority categories can move forward.
Please note that the CIB does not provide non-repayable contributions. In the simplest terms, it loans capital at a below-market rate in order to spur forward private sector projects that are in the public interest, although it is worth noting that the CIB is open to exploring more innovative approaches, so long as there is a pathway to capital recovery by the CIB.
Mr. Sabia drew a comparison between building Canada’s national railway railroad system and the purpose and ambition of the $10-billion Growth Plan. The purpose is to act as a catalyst for economic growth, nation-building and building the economy of the future. The intent is to leverage private sector investments to “create social wealth”.
Mr. Sabia outlined three key metrics that the CIB will use to assess projects.
Sussex recommends that all stakeholders that see themselves in the five priorities outlined today, or have a large-scale project that would benefit from early-stage development funding, craft and execute a near-term CIB engagement strategy.
It is also important to note that the $10 billion earmarked to the specific priorities today represents only about one third of the CIB’s working capital. Sussex encourages all companies with large-scale projects that align well with Mr. Sabia’s three criteria noted above to bring those ideas forward to CIB staff.
In the coming days, Sussex will work with clients to further analyze the Growth Strategy and strategize engagement for the days, weeks and months ahead.