Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities – Canada Infrastructure Bank

February 3, 2021

Tamara Vrooman
Chairperson of the Board
Canada Infrastructure Bank
150 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 1J9


Dear Ms. Vrooman:

As the Minister responsible for the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), it is my pleasure to provide you with this Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities for the attention of the CIB's Board, Chief Executive Officer and management. As the CIB enters the next phase of its development, this letter sets out the Government's priorities to guide the CIB as it delivers on its commitments and develops its Corporate Plans and outlines the CIB's accountabilities to the Government and the public.

We face a health and economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Government of Canada is taking strong and quick action to protect the health and safety of Canadians, stabilize our economy and stimulate growth, and support communities across Canada. Canada's recovery from this crisis will require aligning efforts of all our institutions, and infrastructure will continue to play a vital role in supporting job creation, planting the seeds for long-term growth, promoting inclusivity and building a low-carbon, clean economy. This document builds on the previous Statement of Priorities and Accountabilities dated December 20, 2017, and other guidance provided by the Government, and reflects the evolution of the Government's priorities for the CIB. The CIB can and must play a bigger role at this time of crisis -- but also a time of opportunity to build back better – as we focus on safely restarting our economy and responding to changing circumstances in Canada and worldwide.

The CIB was established to ensure that Canadians benefit from modern and sustainable infrastructure through partnerships between governments and the private sector. It does this through its core responsibilities in investment, advisory services and research that leverage the capital and expertise of the private sector to achieve public outcomes and value for taxpayers.

The CIB helps public dollars go further by investing in revenue-generating infrastructure projects in the public interest and developing innovative financing tools. The goal is more infrastructure built across the country. It is critical that the CIB collaborates with federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, Indigenous and private investor partners to transform the way infrastructure is planned, financed and delivered.

The CIB model is a component of the Investing in Canada Plan, designed to address our country's significant infrastructure needs and the fiscal pressure being placed on government resources. We need to attract new investments from everywhere. Families and businesses want to locate and build where they know infrastructure is modern, clean, and resilient. Canada has an excellent opportunity to be the low-carbon economy that global investors beat a path to – if we keep making smart choices right now.

The Government has allocated, and Parliament approved, $35 billion for the CIB to fulfill its purpose and functions as set out in the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act. The CIB is expected to prudently manage its portfolio so the net fiscal expense to the Government of Canada will remain under $15 billion. You will find at Annex A the Government's priorities for the CIB's investments, advisory and research responsibilities, as well as guidance on government collaboration.

As a Crown corporation that operates at arm's length from Government, the CIB's Board is responsible for the organization's ongoing governance and supervision of its business, final investment decisions, and forward-planning and strategic direction, in line with the Government of Canada's priorities. The CIB must be open and transparent with Canadians about its operations, investments and decision-making processes, while respecting the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information. 

The Financial Administration Act requires the CIB to submit a Corporate Plan for approval by Treasury Board in order to align with the Government on a strategic vision for the organization, as well as approval of operating and capital budgets so that the CIB has financial authority to carry out its purpose and functions. You will find at Annex B the CIB's accountabilities to the federal government, and Canadian public, including ensuring that the CIB's investments, advisory and research functions create jobs, grow our economy and increase our competitiveness while creating a cleaner and more inclusive future.

To fully realize its purpose and functions, the CIB should draw on a diverse range of talent and perspectives from across Canada as well as international best practices. This includes continued commitment to diversity of the workforce in your organization, and efforts to foster the inclusion of a broad range of voices and views in governance and decision-making. In doing so, the CIB should take into consideration Canada's gender, linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, including the unique perspectives of Indigenous Peoples.

The CIB has an unparalleled opportunity to deliver critical and innovative infrastructure projects that maximize taxpayer value and benefit all Canadians, including demonstrating how partnerships among governments and the private sector create jobs and growth, build a more inclusive society and fight climate change. I am committed to support you and everyone at the CIB to achieve these goals. My department officials, as well as those in partner departments and central agencies, as always will provide the CIB the support it needs to be successful in meeting the infrastructure needs of Canadians and their communities.


The Honourable Catherine McKenna, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Enclosures (2)

cc: The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Ehren Cory, Chief Executive Officer
Canada Infrastructure Bank

Ms. Kelly Gillis, Deputy Minister
Infrastructure Canada

Annex A: Government Priorities

The CIB is required, as set out in the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, to invest in infrastructure projects that will generate revenue and that will be in the public interest, as well as to provide advice to governments and conduct research. As the CIB pursues investment, advisory and research opportunities, it must ensure alignment with the Government's commitments, policies, and programs, which includes focusing on projects with the greatest opportunity to create jobs and growth, promote social inclusivity and build a clean economy.

The Government has set out priority areas for the CIB through previous federal budgets and direct communications with the CIB, while the CIB works with its partners to determine the best opportunities in line with those priorities. In the development of the CIB's work and development of its next Corporate Plan, the CIB's investment, advisory and research functions should be focused in the following priority areas:

  • Public Transit, including major transit projects, and zero-emission buses with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  • Green Infrastructure, including energy efficient building retrofits, water and wastewater with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  • Trade and Transport, including trade corridors, bridges, passenger rail, and agricultural infrastructure, with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.
  • Broadband, including for unserved and underserved community broadband connectivity with a long-term target of $3 billion in investments.
  • Clean Power, including renewables, district energy, storage, interties and transmission with a long-term target of $5 billion in investments.

As the CIB identifies investment opportunities in the public interest, I understand that will include infrastructure projects made in partnership with, and that benefit, Indigenous Peoples. In order to support the Government's commitments to advance Indigenous reconciliation and urgently address the Indigenous infrastructure deficit, the CIB should establish a new investment target of $1 billion for Indigenous Infrastructure projects across the five priority areas set out above.

The CIB is already making progress in these priority investment areas through the development and implementation of its Growth Plan, which aims to invest $10 billion over the next three years in five strategic initiatives: zero-emission buses; clean power, renewable energy, storage and transmission; energy efficient building retrofits; large-scale broadband projects; and agriculture-related infrastructure.

As the Government undertakes Canada's first-ever national infrastructure assessment, the CIB will be expected to participate in consultations, research and providing advice, particularly on the role of the private sector in identifying Canada's long-term infrastructure needs and priorities. Such an assessment is considered a global best practice, and is critical as our Government moves into recovery planning and charting the path towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Annex B: CIB Accountabilities

The CIB is accountable to the federal government and Canadian public through the mechanisms set out in its enabling legislation, the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, as well as legislation applicable to all Crown Corporations, including the Financial Administration Act, Access to Information and Privacy Act, and Official Languages Act. The CIB is responsible for meeting all of its legal obligations, including responding to the Duty to Consult to Indigenous groups and ensuring that projects have met environmental assessment and other regulatory requirements.

The CIB's annual Corporate Plan should set out how the CIB will invest, provide advice and conduct research in the priority areas, including by detailing investment strategies and ensuring that investments are revenue-generating and in the public interest. The Corporate Plan should explain the total capital and operating budget for the organization, over a five-year period and should continue to describe how the CIB will conduct due diligence and analysis as it manages its resources and investment portfolio, including under adverse investment scenarios.

In order to guide the development of future Corporate Plans, the CIB must work in partnership with Infrastructure Canada to collaborate with public officials across relevant departments and central agencies to inform project development and the parameters of the CIB's financing initiatives. This engagement will allow the CIB to align with policy priorities, avoid overlap with government programs and assess risks associated with CIB investments.

The CIB must remain accountable to the Government and Canadians through its Corporate Plan, which will include plans to achieve objectives and outcomes through the CIB's activities. This work will involve a Results and Delivery Framework with a clear articulation of the characteristics, thresholds and risks for investment or initiatives. Additionally, the framework should set out the intended outcomes of a particular initiative, such as economic growth or job creation, impacts on diversity and inclusion, and anticipated greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The CIB is required to produce an Annual Report on its operations and activities that is provided to Infrastructure Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat, and that must be tabled in Parliament. The Annual Report must include information on the CIB's finances, an auditor's report and information on how the CIB has met the objectives and achieved the outcomes set out in its Corporate Plan.

As required by the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act, I will be undertaking a review of the CIB's enabling legislation by mid-2022 to ensure that its provisions and operation enable the corporation to achieve its purpose and functions, and meet the government's policy objectives. This will be an opportunity to review the CIB's impact to-date, consider any landscape changes and lessons learned, and to ensure the CIB remains positioned for success throughout its mandate.