article-aa

The 130-kilometre line would link the city’s international airport with the resort town and four other stops. The CIB and Alberta Transportation will jointly “review the project’s estimated costs and revenues, explore financing options and assess environmental, social and economic benefits.” The Crown corporation will pay for the research, but did not disclose how much it will cost. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The project is the first since the federal government overhauled the CIB’s leadership last month, with CEO Pierre Lavallée exiting and former Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec head Michael Sabia taking over as chair. It’s also the agency’s first Alberta investment; Lavallée defended the CIB against repeated criticism that its early project portfolio was too central Canada- and Quebec-centric. The agency has focused significantly on transport so far. The Calgary-Banff line is its fourth train undertaking, following a $1.28-billion loan for a Montreal light-rail line, $2 billion to expand GO between Toronto and Hamilton, and a $55-million Via Rail feasibility study.

article-aa

Michael Sabia said there are “candidates” in the running for the top job to lead the Crown corporation, which was created in 2017 and has a $35-billion budget. Appointed chair in April, Sabia said the bank “can and should” have a role in relaunching and stimulating the post-COVID-19 economy. (The Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Of the candidates, the name most frequently brought up is Evan Siddall. The current Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) CEO announced his departure in January after more than six years as its CEO. He has a close relationship with Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and is generally well regarded in Ottawa for his time at CMHC. “He is too young and too smart not to be in public service,” Christopher Ragan, director of McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy, where Siddall teaches, told The Logic.

article-aa

Pierre Lavallée is leaving to “pursue other opportunities,” the Crown corporation announced in a Friday afternoon news release. Annie Ropar, chief financial and administrative officer, will take interim charge. Sabia, the former CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will replace ex-RBC CFO Janice Fukakusa as board chair on April 15. (The Logic)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Lavallée is the third of the CIB’s three top executives to leave in short order. Nicholas Hann, head of investments, and François Lecavalier, head of project development, departed in July and December 2019, respectively; neither had been in the role for much more than a year. In January, the Crown corporation said it was adopting a new corporate structure to better integrate its investments and advisory services, under new chief investment officer John Casola. Over his two years in the job, former pension fund executive Lavallée staunchly defended the pace and project mix of the bank’s cheque-writing. But senior officials in the federal infrastructure department reportedly didn’t share his outlook that things were moving quickly. New chair Sabia will be familiar with the bank’s operations—its first deal was a $1.28-billion loan for a Caisse-controlled light rail line project in Montreal.

article-aa

The bank will advise a group that is considering building a 1,200-kilometre transmission line bringing hydroelectricity and broadband internet from Manitoba to several communities in the territory. If the project goes ahead, the bank may invest directly. (The Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This is the bank’s ninth project and its second partnership with a pension fund. It’s also the first project in the Prairies and it comes after the Conservatives, which largely swept the region in last fall’s election, promised to close the bank. On Wednesday, CEO Pierre Lavallée said he hoped other pension funds, as well as international investors, would make more infrastructure investments in Canada. That’s the same pitch the bank has been making since it was founded in 2017. In October 2019, The Logic reported it was looking at creating a public utility to lower internet costs and provide service in areas that don’t have fast coverage. This new project could halve energy costs in parts of Nunavut and increase internet download speeds by 3,000 per cent.

article-aa

François-Philippe Champagne overruled a decision by an independent panel tasked with determining how much Pierre Lavallée should be paid. The effect of the minister’s intervention isn’t known—the government claims it is a cabinet confidence—but Lavallée’s maximum compensation was set at $1.5 million in year one, rising to $2.8 million in year five. The news came a few hours after Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called the bank a “boondoggle in waiting,” as part of a speech about cutting federal spending. (Globe and Mail, CBC)

Purchase a subscription to read the full article.

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: The bank was given $35 billion and a mandate to build massive infrastructure projects across Canada, but it’s spent much of the past year talking about executive compensation and approving very few projects. It has so far announced just seven, totalling less than $4 billion in commitments. That falls far short of the initial grand ambitions for the bank. In August 2018, The Logic reported that a high-level government panel planned for it to bring in up to US$2.5 trillion in private-sector investments focused on projects with national scale, like doubling the flow of goods in Western Canada and slashing congestion in Canada’s biggest cities. Meanwhile, its 40 employees have an average annual salary of $392,000; at Investment Ontario, a similar organization at the provincial level, only four employees make more than $300,000 a year.

article-aa

Nicholas Hann joined the Crown corporation in October 2018. The agency was set up in 2017 to spend $35 billion in government funding and attract institutional investors to major projects. The executive reviewed potential projects and recruited staff. Hann did not explain why he was leaving, but said he would be willing to return if unspecified circumstances changed. (Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: Infrastructure executives reportedly complained to bank officials at an industry conference earlier in July that the agency was too slow to review and approve projects. The bank has announced $3.33 billion in funding so far, including a $1.28-billion loan for an already in-progress electric rail line in Montreal. That’s despite Ottawa prioritizing swift approvals and quick results. In 2017, the government set up an advisory group of civil servants to evaluate potential Infrastructure Bank projects and recommend financing options to the cabinet, before the agency had officially launched or hired a chief executive. In a December 2017 letter, then-infrastructure minister Amarjeet Sohi wrote that he hoped it “can make some early investments to clearly demonstrate the value of its model.” And, as my colleague Zane reported in August 2018, the bank was meant to encourage private-sector investment by de-risking large projects by paying for upfront costs like technical drawings, risk assessments and permits.

article-aa

The Via expansion involves a new rail line that runs through Quebec and Ontario. The Infrastructure Bank’s involvement will be announced Tuesday in Trois-Rivières, Que., and Peterborough, Ont. Via’s original proposal was estimated to cost at least $4 billion, with an extra $2 billion if the trains were to run on electric power. The bank will provide millions of dollars in funding, though the exact amount is not yet known. (Globe and Mail)

Read this article for free

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking point: This project—initially proposed to run from Montreal to Toronto through Ottawa and Peterborough—can potentially expand as far east as Quebec City. The plan would bypass smaller cities and towns along Lake Ontario’s north shore; and would also deploy traditional passenger trains, rather than their faster, full high-speed counterparts that are used in Europe and Asia. Though the bank’s involvement doesn’t represent a full go-ahead for Via Rail, it’s a significant milestone. That’s because the bank’s mandate is to fund revenue-generating infrastructure that it deems to serve the public. With a budget of $35 billion, the Infrastructure Bank has only supported two other projects since its creation in 2017: Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain light rail system, and an expansion of Go Transit in the Greater Toronto Area.