Train on rails next to city buildings

The future of P3 project delivery in Canada

In November 2019, the annual CCPPP conference (Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships) took place in downtown Toronto. The conference attracts senior leadership from major industry players across Canada, from global contractors to engineering firms, and leading banks to boutique consultants. The public sector was strongly represented and attendees had the opportunity to listen to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, who was joined by Ministers for Infrastructure from the provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Alberta.

Here’s what we learned about the future of Public-Private Partnership (P3) project delivery in Canada:

Canada will maintain its commitment to P3 delivery after years of successes

Canada has enjoyed great success with Public-Private Partnership (P3) delivery over the past decade and this run is expected to continue with strong support nationally. Ontario has committed to $65bn of P3 projects across healthcare and transit in the coming years, while Alberta’s new government has voiced early commitment to furthering public-private partnerships. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have also reaffirmed their commitment to P3 delivery with Saskatchewan recently completing the Regina Bypass ($1.4bn), the largest P3 project in their history, and New Brunswick opting for long-term private sector engagement as the province plans a wide range of schools and healthcare projects. 

Train on rails next to city buildings
Ontario is investing in transit infrastructure development through the expansion of the GO transit system ($16bn).

Canada has a huge pipeline of P3 infrastructure projects

Ontario’s recently announced $65-billion in new infrastructure projects demonstrates the province’s desire to firmly establish a pipeline of exciting future projects. Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario, Laurie Scott, referred to this as “single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.” The CEO’s of Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, Ehren Corey and Phil Verster, respectively, presented a session on Ontario’s $28bn transit plan. 

The enthusiasm expressed by both government and corporate entities signals a growing national interest in the P3 model, an interest we expect to continue growing in years to come.

Appetite from other provinces is strong as witnessed by the presence of senior government officials from Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Notably, British Columbia’s NDP government appears less enthusiastic about the P3 delivery model, though this lack of enthusiasm is offset by interest expressed by the other provinces. 

Changes are coming in risk allocation and mitigation

Canadian contractors feel they are carrying too much risk. SNC has pulled out of major project pursuits and Graham has taken a step back in 2019. Under current design build lump sum contracts, risks including permitting, geotechnical, and more that cannot be understood prior to starting the project, are being transferred to the contractor. 

In Ontario, feedback from potential bidders in the GO Expansion project ($16bn), previously known as Regional Express Rail (RER), to Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx has led to consideration of “revised delivery strategy” to address bidders’ issues. Options include breaking the project into smaller parts for procurement purposes or reducing the 35-year life span of the contract.

What’s the solution? It’s likely that Canada will see the benefits of an alliance delivery model like those used in the UK and Australia. Union Station in Toronto represents a test case as Canada’s first alliance delivery model. It is also possible that Canadian P3 projects may consider the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) option for infrastructure where clients, general contractors, and sub trades all win / lose together by sharing risk. This model would incentivize early client and consultant involvement and align all stakeholders

Large colourful buildings of a hospital
The Glen Campus of the MUHC Hospital in Montreal is just one recent example of the many healthcare infrastructure projects expected across Canada in the coming years.

What skills does Canada need right now?

Canada’s population is expected to grow from 36 million to 50 million by 2050. The vast majority of this population growth will be a result of an aggressive immigration plan. Without immigration, Canada’s rate of population increase is expected to fall below zero in the next 15 years. Most newcomers to Canada will live in major cities, with ambitious infrastructure development expected in order to compensate for population expansion. The P3 model will continue to prosper as provincial governments seek to maximize their return on infrastructure investment by seeking private participation in the construction of public assets such as:

  • Healthcare (hospitals, mental health facilities, etc)
  • Transportation (highways, bridges, rail, port expansion, airport expansion)

Outpost are seeking the following skillsets for clients actively engaged in the P3 infrastructure market


  • Project Management: Project Directors, Project Manager, Project Coordinators
  • Site management: Superintendents, Field Engineers
  • Design Management: Design Manager, Design Coordinators
  • Commercial Management: Commercial Managers, Contract Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Risk Managers

Project Management / Cost Consultants:

  • Cost Consultants, Cost Monitoring, Estimating Managers, Project Consultants

Design Consultants:

  • Design Engineers and Project Managers across Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Geotechnical disciplines
  • Asset Management Consultant

If you have any of these skillsets and you’re interested in being a part of Canada’s P3 infrastructure boom, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. 


Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the P3 infrastructure sector in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.