Potential solution to nation-wide infrastructure deficit?

by • March 3, 2014 • Economic development, Economy, Research


There is a significant infrastructure-deficit across Canada. From new ones desperately needed by municipalities to existing ones that require renewal. They include water and wastewater treatment facilities, schools, hospitals, recreational centres, roads, highways and the list goes on.

Report after report state the dangers of lacking infrastructure in communities and the tremendous cost to build. All levels of government have made (and will continue to make) significant infrastructure investments (examples: here, here, here) totalling billions of dollars yet the deficit persists. Perhaps there needs to be a different approach.  The Van Horne Institute (VHI) may have an answer.

A recently published VHI report shows the potential for Infrastructure Banks or “iBanks” to address the infrastructure deficit. iBanks are corporate entities that raise capital from public, private or mixed public-private sources and then invest that capital in many types of infrastructure projects . iBanks would be arms-length Crown Corporation managed by a board of experts similar to those that manage P3Canada.

Peter Wallis, CEO and President of the Van Horne Institute, describes Infrastructure Banks (iBanks):

Around the world, countries and subnational political entities are turning to iBanks to provide another kind of capital for infrastructure projects. Canada possesses world-class expertise in its insurance companies, pension funds and investment banks to lead in the creation of national, provincial or municipal iBanks. This report urges all levels of government and the private sector to “catchup” to these discussions and to look at various forms of iBanks and ask whether it is time for Canada to create one or more iBanks.

Also read Brian Flemming’s, Senior Fellow of the Van Horne Institute, column on iBanks:

This report shows the value of partnership, in this case the partnership between the Van Horne Institute and the Calgary Regional Partnership looking for solutions to a major problem in the Calgary Region and across the country.

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