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Ivey Idea Forum – Are P3s the answer to Canada's infrastructure deficit?

October 13, 2015

Ivey's Tangerine Leadership Centre (formerly ING DIRECT Leadership Centre), King & York St., Toronto

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Canada is widely acknowledged as a leader in using the public-private partnership (P3) model to deliver public infrastructure projects. For example, the Canada Line, a $2-billion rail rapid transit line that opened in August 2009 in the Metro Vancouver region of British Columbia, was the first major rapid rail project undertaken in Canada as a P3 project. It is expected to save $92 million compared to a project solely delivered by traditional means. The complex project was successfully completed ahead of schedule and on budget and is considered to be a great example of the right model in the right place at the right time. Yet, P3 projects are sometimes controversial and have recently come under sharp criticism by Ontario’s Auditor General as a tool to tackle Canada’s infrastructure deficit.

Join Ivey Professor Paul Boothe, Director of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management, for an interactive discussion to understand the debate over P3 projects. Boothe will present findings from a new Lawrence Centre study that compares P3 projects with traditionally delivered public-sector infrastructure projects. Using case studies, the two models are compared in terms of process, costs, risk allocation, and the overall benefits to the public. A panel of leaders from public, private, and Crown corporations involved in construction and infrastructure development will also weigh in on when, why, and how P3 projects should be delivered.

Event Details

October 13, 2015, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
7:30-8 a.m.
Breakfast and registration
8-9 a.m. Presentation from Paul Boothe and panel session with leaders from public, private, and Crown corporations involved in construction and infrastructure development
9-9:30 a.m. Q&A
Location: Ivey's Tangerine Leadership Centre (formerly ING DIRECT Leadership Centre), King & York St., Toronto
Admission: Free

Topics You Will Explore 

  • The pros and cons of P3 versus traditional public-sector infrastructure projects
  • When P3 projects are appropriate
  • Whether P3 projects are the answer to Canada’s public infrastructure deficit 

About the Moderator

Paul Boothe is Director of the Lawrence National Centre for Policy and Management. His work experience has included university research and teaching, independent consulting to Canadian and international organizations, and serving as a senior public servant in Canada’s provincial and federal governments. At the provincial level, he served as Saskatchewan’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Secretary to Treasury Board. At the federal level, his appointments included Associate Deputy Minister of Finance and G7 Deputy, Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Industry and, most recently, Deputy Minister of the Environment.

About the Panellists

John Beck is the Executive Chairman of Aecon Group Inc. and is a leader in the Canadian construction industry. Beck has been a member of Aecon’s Board of Directors since 1963 and also served as Chairman of the Board of the Ontario Power Authority and as a director of the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships. He has more than 50 years of experience in the construction industry in Canada and internationally. His background includes corporate leadership in numerous construction activities including heavy civil, commercial and industrial projects, precast concrete manufacturing, and the development of public-private partnerships.

Bert Clark became President and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario in August 2012 after four years running the North American Infrastructure business for Scotiabank. Prior to his role at Scotiabank, Clark held senior roles at Infrastructure Ontario where he was responsible for the overall financing strategy of the agency’s multi-billion dollar infrastructure program. From 2003 to 2005, Clark was a senior advisor at Queen’s Park where he helped lead the way for the establishment of Infrastructure Ontario and Ontario’s first long-term infrastructure investment plan. He played a lead role in introducing the concept of “alternative finance and procurement” (AFP), also known as P3, projects.

Geoff Smith is President and CEO of EllisDon, a construction services company founded by his father, Don Smith. He has been involved in the construction industry for more than 25 years and began full time with EllisDon in 1982. After studying and following two years of law practice after graduation, his career has been spent in various management positions at EllisDon, where he gained valuable hands-on experience in field operations, business development, and corporate affairs in preparation for his current responsibilities as President and CEO.





  • Ivey Idea Forum
  • Paul Boothe