Projects flow from three broad sources:
- Provincial, territorial, municipal and Indigenous governments;
- the Government of Canada; and
- unsolicited project proposals brought forward by the private sector.
Infrastructure Canada acts as the liaison for federal departments that have potential projects for consideration or projects submitted under other federal cost sharing programs by other orders of government.
Project proponents are encouraged to engage directly with the CIB as they undertake longer-term planning for infrastructure. They can access expertise and advice early in determining the bankability of a potential project.
Two key tests are applied to projects: bankability and public interest. The bankability of potential projects, or whether they have the ability to generate revenue and attract private sector investment, is independently determined by the CIB. The public interest of a project, or whether it is aligned with policy and priorities, is reviewed by CIB along with the Government of Canada.
The CIB initially reviews projects to assess alignment with the high-level investment priorities of the Government and whether the project has initial characteristics for revenue generation and attracting private investment. This review and due diligence assists the CIB in prioritizing projects for further assessment against its mandate. Projects not deemed ready to proceed may be added to the project inventory or referred to other, more suitable funding and financing models.
The CIB has a wide variety of financial instruments at its disposal, including loans, equity investments, and where appropriate, loan guarantees. The appropriate tool will depend on the specific project and how parties agree to share in the upside and downside risk of a project. The CIB can help take on some of the risk of a project to make it viable, but only after ensuring that private sector partners take on sufficient risk and have an incentive to efficiently manage the project.
Following an initial assessment of projects, the CIB independently prioritizes projects for additional detailed review. After this prioritization, the CIB includes projects in its annual Corporate Plan. Subject to Government approval of the plan and related capital and operating budgets, the CIB will independently negotiate, invest and execute projects with private partners and proponents and/or government sponsors.
The CIB works with procurement agencies, public sponsors, financial institutions, external advisors and the private sector consortium to move towards the project procurement process. The CIB will work to understand the various procurement approaches taken by these agencies and will develop procurement processes that consider these approaches. In most cases, the preferred approach of the public sponsor will influence how a project is procured.