Canadian Pension Funds and Ottawa’s Infrastructure Agenda

Teachers' CEO on how they can help.

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story_images_highway_and_skyThough there has yet to be a formal agreement reached on how Canada’s largest pension funds will work with the federal government to support its infrastructure agenda, the head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan told the Financial Post one solution might be for pension funds to introduce Ottawa to their global partners.

“We’re talking or at least engaging in this conversation around Canada [and] not just around the Canadian pensions,” chief executive Ron Mock told the Financial Post following the annual meeting of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance in Toronto. “There are global players that could be attracted to come here and invest in infrastructure.”

Talks with the pension’s partners around the world would explore “how could we provide a platform for Canada where the desire to have the capital come in is there,” Mock said.

In its first federal budget in March, the Liberal government said it would seek additional funding from Canada’s pension funds as it looks to invest more than $120 billion in infrastructure over the next decade.

As noted in the budget, the government plans to “engage public pension plans and other innovative sources of funding.”

At the beginning of June, Teachers’ and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board partnered with an infrastructure company in Mexico to invest in the country’s largest toll road.

One of the first big projects since the federal government announced its infrastructure agenda is the proposed 67-kilometre light-rail transit system in Greater Montreal that would feature downtown and airport stops. The project’s estimated cost is $5.5 billion, of which Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is willing to commit $3 billion.

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