Ontario Infrastructure Bank to prioritize long-term care, energy, housing and transportation projects
November 6, 2023
The Ontario government’s fall economic statement, released last week, included the introduction of the Ontario Infrastructure Bank (OIB) in an attempt to attract capital to help build essential, large-scale infrastructure projects across the province.
Modelled after the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), which was established in 2017, the new arm’s-length, board-governed agency will allow public-sector pension plans, other institutional investors and Indigenous communities to help deliver more infrastructure projects faster. The government proposes to provide $3 billion in initial funding.
“CIB is pleased to have consulted with Ontario’s ministry of finance on our approach to accelerating infrastructure,” says CIB CEO Ehren Cory. “With more than 48 investments nationwide, including more than 25 in Ontario—ranging from Canada’s largest energy storage facility and first small modular reactor (SMR) to building retrofits and zero-emission buses—we believe there is ample opportunity for us to partner with the newly created OIB. We look forward to working together.”
Initially, OIB expects to focus on financing projects in the following priority areas.
- Long-term care homes.
- Energy infrastructure.
- Affordable housing.
- Municipal and community infrastructure.
“By prioritizing energy infrastructure, OIB will be critical as Ontario embarks on the most consequential period of growth for the electricity sector in a century,” said Ken Hartwork, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), when welcoming the government’s announcement. “Decarbonizing the economy through clean energy projects, with the inclusion and participation of Indigenous communities, will create better jobs and prosperity.”
The government says OIB will develop a detailed process to ensure appropriate qualification and selection of projects and partners in these priority areas, based on financial and public benefit criteria. Its board will have the authority to select projects and project partners.
OIB will work closely with Infrastructure Ontario (IO), which continue to progress through public tendering of all projects that have been assigned to it. Having delivered 29 major projects since 2020, IO is presently constructing 27 more and actively procuring 12 more, with an additional 13 projects forecasted to commence procurement in 2024. The timeline for these projects is unchanged.