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Canada infra bank legislation proposed

A wide-ranging omnibus bill introduced Tuesday includes the creation of the C$35bn bank, providing some clarity over the bank’s structure.

The Canadian government introduced legislation to create a C$35 billion national infrastructure bank this week, revealing additional details about the bank’s structure and governance.

Legislation creating the bank was included in the government’s omnibus bill, which was introduced Tuesday in the House of Commons. The bank will look to attract private sector investment into revenue-generating projects with societal benefits, with an eye towards large-scale transformative projects.

The bank, which has been in the works since the fall and the government aims to have up and running by year’s end, will be led by a chief executive and governed by a board of directors with nine to 12 members, including the chairman. The bank’s location has not yet been released.

The bank is described as an arm’s length organisation, and observers have pointed to its independence as one of the keys to its success. The legislation, however, gives the government a larger role than expected in choosing the board of directors and approving bank actions such as loan guarantees.

Steven Robins, a researcher with the CD Howe Institute, a think tank, told Infrastructure Investor that the structure “means that the bank’s board is going to be very reliant on the government of the day for continued political support”.

Jim Leech, the former chief executive of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, was appointed in February to lead the transition team to establish the bank. Bruce McCuaig, the chief executive at Metrolinx, is set to join the bank this month as an executive advisor.