Canada’s C$35 billion ($255 billion; €235 billion) infrastructure bank will be established in the country’s most populous city and financial hub, the government announced, as Toronto was selected over Calgary and Montreal for the bank’s location.
“This is about bringing those partners and stakeholders together who are experts in financing, and that expertise related to infrastructure exists in Toronto,” Canada’s infrastructure minister, Amarjeet Sohi, explained during a television interview with a Canadian public broadcaster. “So we want to make sure we are tapping into the right talent pool.”
The decision disappointed leaders in Calgary and Montreal, which had also been considered possible locations for the bank. But experts and government officials say the lender’s whereabouts will have limited impact.
“Regardless of the location of the bank, every community in Canada has the opportunity to utilise the bank to build the necessary infrastructure that they need,” said Sohi.
Decisions over who will lead the bank may be more consequential. The government has launched a search for a board of directors, a board chair and a chief executive, promising to “achieve gender parity” and “reflect Canada’s linguistic, cultural, and regional diversity”. The bank is expected to be operational in late 2017.
Canada’s House of Commons passed legislation creating the bank a month ago, with the goal of bringing private capital to projects that would otherwise have difficulty attracting financing. The bank will only invest in schemes with a revenue stream and will target projects requiring upwards of C$100 million in equity. The goal is to bring in four or five private sector dollars for every government dollar invested.