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2019 CCPPP conference ready to tackle P3 challenges

Mark Romoff
2019 CCPPP conference ready to tackle P3 challenges
Mark Romoff, CCPPP President and CEO

Welcome to CCPPP’s Annual Conference on Public-Private Partnerships. This is our 27th anniversary and this year promises to be our most provocative, informative and top networking event yet.

Over the next two days, we’ll hear from leading Canadian and global experts who are wrestling with many of same challenges you’re dealing with whether as government or business leaders. We all know the world is changing and many of the issues we’re facing now are increasingly immediate and serious — and may seem insurmountable — like climate change and cybersecurity and their implications for future proofing infrastructure.

While the portfolio of P3 projects across Canada is growing with new entrants to the market, capacity challenges are also coming to the fore, whether it’s inexperience in bringing projects successfully to market or the increasing concern over the skilled trades shortage to meet the demands.

We also can’t forget the impact of the challenges the sector is confronting in getting the project risk balance equation right; ensuring greater innovation in project design, delivery and life cycle management; as well as the need to engage more meaningfully with Indigenous communities to help build the infrastructure they need, as well as on projects that cross their lands.

As always, optimism must prevail. Those that fully “lean into” these challenges are creating more resilient, more inventive and more inclusive infrastructure that will benefit all of us. Many of those leading the charge are among the government, Indigenous and industry heavy-hitters joining us over the next two days.

Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Canada’s National Inuit Leader, will deliver the conference Opening Keynote. His organization is the national voice of Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. Canada’s North needs significant infrastructure to drive greater economic development and improve the lives of its citizens. Its communities are also experiencing the effects of climate change in profound ways, from impacting wildlife to melting permafrost.

Tomorrow, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott will address our delegates in an Opening Keynote. Minister Scott will then take part in a panel with three of Canada’s infrastructure ministers who will share their infrastructure strategies, plans and lessons learned.

In her luncheon keynote, Kathleen Savio, CEO of Zurich North America will discuss future proofing infrastructure in the age of climate change and what this means for the insurability of at-risk populations. Appropriately, she will be sharing the stage with this year’s recipients of the Women’s Infrastructure Network’s Outstanding Leader and Emerging Leader award winners.

Today, we’ll do deep dives with a panel of business, labour and Indigenous leaders on what can be done to tackle the shortage in skilled trades. A shortage that many industry experts warn has the potential to hamstring the successful delivery of our most critical infrastructure projects and impact Canada’s economic competitiveness.

We’ll hear about the state of the P3 market after a number of industry leading firms announced they were pulling out of P3s or scaling back, and we’ll navigate the complexity of future transit expansions when dealing with existing systems or building in phases.

We’re proud to have a number of Indigenous leaders joining us in our discussions, including our panel on how the P3 model is evolving as a result of greater involvement by these communities in finding new solutions to tackle the tremendous infrastructure gaps they face. This session will examine the Tłıı̨chǫ All-Season Road in the Northwest Territories, one of the first P3s in North America with an Indigenous government with a cash-funded equity stake. Another precedent-setting feature of this project is its “bespoke climate change risk-sharing regime” using cutting-edge modelling, which enabled the partners to more efficiently price their potential exposure to this risk for long-term operations and maintenance of a road constructed above the permafrost.

Along with these always interesting discussions, we also want our delegates to get a first-hand look at what’s coming in the project pipeline. This year, we have nine market soundings, from Alberta, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, LA Metro, Florida, the Philippines and Indonesia. There’s still time to register. Just check with our staff at the registration desk where you picked up your conference badge this morning. They’ll be happy to help.

And at lunchtime today, help us celebrate the best of our peers — teams that are pushing the boundaries of what a P3 can — and should — be. This year we have five recipients of CCPPP’s National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in P3s. The projects, located in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, Alberta and Ontario, showcase the diversity of projects across the country using P3s to deliver innovative infrastructure that best serves the economic and social needs of Canadians.

We’ve been using P3 in Canada for almost 30 years now and it’s amazing to see that all of you can still find new, and better, ways of delivering projects that get the very best outcomes for Canadians.

I’d also like to give a special welcome to the 13 international delegations at P3 2019. You’ve come a long way to meet with Canadian companies, governments and our Indigenous community leaders. I also encourage everyone to stop by the International Café and chat with Canada’s Trade Commissioners, Export Development Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation to discuss P3 opportunities for Canadian companies in promising global markets.

The conference floor is the best venue to find each other (use the P3 2019 Conference & Networking App).

I’d also like to welcome the city managers who are joining us for our Day 2 panel on Breaking Ground in the Municipal Sector. The majority of Canadian infrastructure is built and maintained by municipalities and Indigenous communities yet more need to engage in P3. Our speakers include those that are involved in P3s and those who haven’t yet to find out how best to structure projects to make the P3 model more accessible to municipal governments.

Be sure to stick around for our special Day 2 afternoon double-session devoted to transportation topics, including a keynote by Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver, a sit down with Infrastructure Ontario President and CEO Ehren Cory and Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster and what promises to be an animated discussion on Innovative Financing Models for Major Transportation Projects

There is so much to discuss! We want to hear your thoughts and encourage you to speak with our panellists at the many networking opportunities or simply pose a question during our panels by using our conference & networking app.

Thank you again for joining us. Please enjoy the conference!

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