Guest blog post written by Marc-André Hawkes, Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian Consulate General in Miami.
Thinking of Canada conjures up a variety of images. Some will picture soaring mountains and crystal clear lakes surrounded by snow; others will focus on the world’s strongest banking sector and low corporate tax rates; while others still may have eyes only for the best national hockey team in the world. What may not immediately come to mind is the robust experience Canada has developed in the realm of Public Private Partnerships (P3s) over the last two decades.
The U.S. infrastructure deficit is well documented and addressing this need has become a priority at all levels of government. Canada faced similar issues in the early ‘90s and has developed one of the world’s strongest P3 industries. We currently have 220 P3 projects on record which can be further explored in this national database. We’ve learned a lot in the process, and we now have one of the most efficient and reliable P3 project pipelines in the world.
What has been the key to our success? Of course there have been several factors, but perhaps the most important one is the depth of knowledge and expertise that has been developed by Canada’s public sector’s procuring entities. We have PPP Canada at the federal level, while entities such as Infrastructure Ontario and Partnership B.C. have developed significant know-how at the provincial level. Without this expertise on the public sector side, these projects would not have been as successful and many would likely have never seen the light of day.
As has been discussed in previous blog posts, Florida benefits from P3 enabling legislation passed in 2013 and is cultivating a positive environment for P3s to thrive. How will Florida get to the next level and develop a pipeline of P3 projects to propel the State’s infrastructure into the 21st century and beyond? Greater expertise and experience must be gained by the public sector officials who will lead the creation and eventual procurement of these projects. My counterparts at the state and municipal level need not recreate the wheel, they have many partners who are willing to lend a hand, share their experiences and expertise. A great place to start developing those key networks will be at next month’s Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships National Conference to be held on November 3-4 in Toronto. It is the world’s largest P3 conference and is attended by key stakeholders from the U.S., Australia, Spain and of course, Canada – to name a few. I will be attending and will be happy to assist Florida P3 stakeholders connect with their counterparts in the Great White North, with the ultimate goal of helping Florida develop a pipeline of projects that will make my adopted State proud!
Marc-André Hawkes is a Canadian diplomat who has been on assignment in Miami since 2011. He heads the commercial team at the Consulate General of Canada in Miami and has been involved in the P3 sector since 2006. He gave public testimony on the Canadian P3 model to Florida’s Partnership for Public facilities & Infrastructure Act Guidelines Task Force in October of 2013. The Task Force’s final report and recommendations may be found here.