Canadian Consulting Engineer

21st Annual Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Canadian P3 Projects

November 13, 2018

This year five projects were recognized with two receiving Gold Awards and three receiving Silver.


Recipients of the Gold Award for Infrastructure at the National P3 Awards: Adam Trewick, Senior VP Infrastructure, Graham Group (left), and Nicole Slade, Senior P3 Contracts Manager, City Of Saskatoon. (photo: David Lee for CCPPP)

The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) handed out its National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships at the organization’s  26th annual conference – P3 2018 – on Monday, November 5 in Toronto at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

This year five projects were recognized with two receiving Gold Awards and three receiving Silver. “These projects represent the hard work and dedication of thousands of people across Canada who are making these critically important infrastructure projects a reality. Their exceptional leadership and innovative thinking are what continues to distinguish the Canadian P3 model as globally best-in-class,” said Mark Romoff, president and CEO of CCPPP.


Saskatoon’s new Chief Mistawasis Bridge under construction.

The Gold Award presented for Infrastructure went to the City of Saskatoon’s North Commuter Parkway & Traffic Bridge Project. Part of the City’s Bridging to Tomorrow project, the new North Commuter Parkway bridge, now called the Chief Mistawasis Bridge, and the revamped downtown Traffic Bridge were officially opened in early October.

The new six-lane bridge Chief Mistawasis Bridge pays tribute to the Cree Chief who signed Treaty 6, while the modern steel-truss structure of the rehabilitated Traffic Bridge uses complex engineering to preserve its historical character while meeting today’s safety standards.


The project is the largest infrastructure project ever delivered in the City of Saskatoon and the first bundled transportation P3 in Canada.

“The city and consortium worked closely together to ensure community engagement, to manage artifact recovery and to accelerate approvals. The project bundling helped to significantly lower costs for residents and improve traffic in a bustling part of the city,” according to the awards committee.

The project’s cost savings by using the P3 delivery model are estimated at $69.4 million, compared to conventional project procurement.

Partners: City of Saskatoon and Graham Commuter Partners (GCP) (a partnership between BBGI and Graham Capital). Consulting engineers on the project included: COWI Bridge North America formerly Buckland & Taylor (bridge design), Tetra Tech (roadway and drainage design), and Clifton Associates (geotechnical design). Other partners included National Bank Financial and Urbaser Environment (Valorga).


Fort McMurray West 500 kV Transmission Project.

The Gold Award for project financing went to the Fort McMurray West 500 kV Transmission Project. This power project, stretching 500km northeast from Edmonton, will increase the capacity and overall reliability of Alberta’s transmission system in order to meet demand in the Fort McMurray area when it becomes operational in 2019. This is also the first transmission infrastructure P3 to be procured in Canada.

The awards committee commended the project’s use of a “unique funding competition that took place after the route for the transmission line was finalized and regulatory approval had been granted, resulting in significant savings for the public.”

The competition resulted in a combination of medium- and long-term bonds priced to appeal to different investors and a dual tranche structure that created a very cost effective quarterly pay financing. At the time of award, the cost savings were estimated to be more than $400 million — approximately 25% of total capital costs.

Project partners: Alberta Electric System Operator and Alberta PowerLine Limited Partnership, a consortium of Canadian Utilities Ltd., Quanta Services CC Canada Ltd., Valard Construction LP and ATCO Electric.

Milton District Hospital Expansion won the Silver Infrastructure Award. Opened in October 2017, the expanded 455,000-sq.ft. facility  in Milton, Ont. means residents of all ages and abilities can stay close to home and access a wide range of health-care services.

The expansion, designed with community, staff and patient input, was delivered on time and on budget in just 25 months and took place without disrupting essential and lifesaving clinical services at the existing hospital building. The project, which employed 600 workers at its construction peak and created 200 new jobs within the hospital, transferred significant risk to the private sector partner and resulted in projected cost savings of $124.9 million.

“The high degree of collaboration among the various parties and the smooth integration of client feedback contributed to very few changes during construction and a relatively limited number of minor deficiencies at substantial completion. This challenging but very successful brownfield development involving integration with the adjacent operating hospital building demonstrates what can happen when the same firms partner on multiple projects of the same type and become leaders in the field,” said the awards committee.

Project partners: Halton Healthcare and Plenary Health, a consortium of Plenary Group Canada Ltd., PCL Constructors Canada Inc., B+H Architects, RTKL Associates, RBC Capital Markets and Johnson Controls Canada LP. Infrastructure Ontario acted as the procurement agency.


Finch West LRT rendering.

The Silver Project Financing Award went to the  Finch West LRT Project. Under construction in northwestern Toronto, the 11-km light-rail system is an Ontario government priority to transform the busy Finch Avenue West corridor. The LRT system will have 18 stops to connect commuters and families to local and regional transit services; deliver economic and job creation opportunities; and transform Finch Avenue West into a vibrant community, accessible to motorists, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians alike. The LRT is expected to open in 2023.

The awards committee found that the project has “clear benefits to the community and economy,” noting the consortium is developing an apprenticeship plan to ensure historically disadvantaged groups are involved in constructing the line.

The $1.4-billion Finch West LRT project utilized more than $800 million in private financing consisting of short-term bank financing combined with a combination of medium- and long-term bonds.  The project reached financial close in 26 days — an Ontario P3 record, the awards committee noted. Importantly for an LRT project, the financing structure was also designed to accommodate future system expansion. Overall, the P3 project has an estimated cost savings of $566 million via the alternative financing and procurement model.

Project partners: Infrastructure Ontario, Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit Group, a consortium of Aecon Concessions, ACS Infrastructure and CRH Canada Group Inc.

And the Silver Award for Service Delivery was presented to the Quad at York University. In August 2017, York University opened the first phase of Quad, offering apartment-style accommodations for more than 800 students in Toronto.

The project is among the largest student housing P3 projects ever undertaken in Canada and uses a model that freed York from risks associated with capital costs, operations and maintenance, enabling the university to focus its resources on its academic mission.

Under the agreement, Forum-Campus Suites operates and maintains the new housing on land leased from the university, and York ensures the needs of its students are met by providing guidance on the private sector’s operations. In addition to lease revenues, York also benefits from additional payments based on the success of the project.

Designed with the student in mind, the P3 model has created “a real partnership at York that has resulted in a purpose-built community that provides a live/work/play environment with significant student amenity space. This environment has led to quick improvements in how and where services are provided to the benefit of busy students,” the awards committee noted. “The Quad P3 could prove a useful model for similar social housing projects in municipalities and universities across Canada.”

Project partners: York University and Forum-Campus Suites.



Stories continue below