Global Summit: Ontario eyes new business at home through infra consulting abroad

Canadian province’s minister says new consultancy will bring more business to local companies while creating new revenue stream for government infrastructure agency.

The government of Ontario is seeking to export the Canadian province’s public-private partnership model to new markets through legislation that would allow its infrastructure agency to launch a for-profit project consultancy business.

Monte McNaught, Ontario’s minister of infrastructure, said that allowing Infrastructure Ontario to advise on projects outside the province would create a new revenue stream for the agency. He added that the proposed move would bring more business to Ontario-based companies that are familiar with the province’s public-private partnership model.

“Jurisdictions around the world will soon have the opportunity to access the same services we use to build our infrastructure,” McNaught said in a speech at the Infrastructure Investor Global Summit in Berlin. “This will represent a shift in Ontario’s approach to building international business relationships.”

The provincial government founded Infrastructure Ontario in 2016 to facilitate public and private investment in local infrastructure. The agency has a C$18.4 billion ($13.8 billion; €12.16 billion) pipeline of 25 projects under construction.

“Infrastructure Ontario has built a solid business case for providing their services to potential new clients,” said McNaught. He added that consulting service would help other government development agencies to attract additional investment by encouraging competition between private-sector bidders on public contracts. McNaught said that the agency would enable the provincial government to better evaluate the risks posed by allowing private sector companies to manage public infrastructure.

McNaught said that Infrastructure Ontario was currently advising on two pilot projects: one in Canada and another in an international market. He declined to disclose where the projects were located but said a number of jurisdictions had asked Infrastructure Ontario for help in developing their own infrastructure.