Supporting The Public Sector of Canada



PPP projects are an intrinsic feature of Canada’s current housing boom, addressing increased demand and prices as well as the need for accessible accommodation, particularly in urban areas. The Alexandra Park Development, Toronto, is one example. The partnership between Toronto Community housing and private firm Tridal is to generate 333 new and affordable rental units and repair 473 existing 1960s units in downtown Toronto. Over a 15-year period, the project will improve ageing accommodation and redevelop the space into a mixed-income locale. Tridel has pledged to provide a C$80,000 endowment fund for local school scholarships and to employ 40 residents in its organisation.



Public spending on education was 5.4 per cent of GDP in 2011. Education policy varies with province but the period of compulsory education generally starts at the age of six. Most primary and secondary schooling is publicly funded, but there are almost 2,000 private schools in Canada. PPP projects have been used to build new schools in Alberta. An investment of nearly C$1.4 billion over the period 2013–16 will see two ‘bundles’ of schools designed and constructed via public–private partnerships. Higher education is an area of growing public–private partnerships. The new site for the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver will be designed to generate interest from both domestic and international students of the creative arts, for an approximate cost of C$134 million.



Public spending on health was 8 per cent of GDP in 2012. Health insurance, provided by provinces with federal government financial support, covers the whole of the population. There are 45 private hospitals in Canada. The health system is presently the most buoyant area in which PPP projects are being applied, with projects under way or completed across British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The design–build–finance–maintain model has been favoured, with private firms supplying hard facilities and management, though health care is ultimately retained as a public provision. Infrastructure Ontario’s dedicated ‘P3’ (public–private partnership) approach is termed as Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP). The construction of the Brampton Civic Hospital in 2005–07 was designated as a pilot health capital PPP project intended to service a population rising in part through immigration. The successful bidder was the Health Infrastructure Consortium of Canada, which was granted a 28-year non-clinical services contract. The provinces of British Columbia and Québec  in the planning stages.



Canada’s advanced road networks cover vast areas of the country with rail, bus and air services available throughout. There are express rail services between main towns. Air Canada was privatised in the late 1980s and rail networks Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway followed by the mid-1990s. There are limits to the level of foreign ownership permitted in areas such as broadcasting, telecommunications, transportation and uranium mining. The use of transport PPPs in Canada is established and has been growing steadily in recent years as a way of transferring risks and sharing the capital costs of large infrastructure projects. However, original estimates have often been exceeded in projects of this type. Such was the case with the Presto smart card, Toronto’s highly delayed transit fare payment system which tripled its initial estimate.

Another Metrolinx project was the Union Pearson Express, Toronto, completed 6 June 2015 ahead of the Pan American Games. It also forms part of the 25-year Big Move agenda by Metrolinx towards a ‘modern, efficient and integrated transportation system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’. The rail line will ease traffic congestion, expected to double in the next ten years, between the two hubs of Toronto Pearson and Union Station as well as create jobs. The construction of Eglington Crosstown, a single Light Rail Transit line due for completion in 2020 and Bus Rapid Transit programmes are all co-ordinated elements of this strategy.