The Ontario government is launching an infrastructure bank that will leverage investments by public sector pension plans and other Canadian institutional investors.
In its fall economic statement on Thursday, the province said it will provide $3 billion in initial funding to the Ontario Infrastructure Bank, which will support the development of new long‐term care homes, energy infrastructure, affordable housing, municipal and community infrastructure and transportation. The bank’s mandate also includes support for infrastructure projects for First Nations communities that advance community and economic well‐being.
“Many Canadian pension funds have made significant infrastructure investments globally,” said the statement. “By adding new options for these investors to invest in Ontario’s capital projects, the province can leverage more funding while enabling pension funds to put their members’ investments to work right here at home.”
In separate statements, two of Ontario’s biggest pension funds noted their support for the new bank. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said it welcomes opportunities to add to its investment portfolio in Ontario and looks forward to engaging with the government to learn more about new projects created by the bank.
“We are always interested in pursuing new investments in our home province and we look forward to engaging with the government on new opportunities that may help build our province while generating returns that will help us pay pensions to our members,” said the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System in its statement.
The economic statement also reiterated the province’s commitment to developing a permanent framework for multi-employer target-benefit pension plans, noting these plans can support employee attraction and retention efforts in the skilled trades. “The proposed target-benefit framework would help support the sustainability of these plans by building on best practices for plan funding and governance and by enhancing plan transparency through increased communication and engagement with plan members.”
The statement also included a recognition of the Canada Pension Plan as “a cornerstone of the Canadian retirement system.” Last week, Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy called for a meeting of provincial and territorial finance ministers regarding Alberta’s proposal to withdraw from the CPP. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland convened the meeting for Friday.
“[The CPP] is a sustainable, predictable and portable pension that all Canadians can rely on no matter where they choose to work and retire,” said the statement. “Ontario’s view is that the CPP’s collective and uniquely Canadian approach benefits all workers and their families.”