Canada’s public-private partnership (P3) sector may be approaching middle age, but the infrastructure model continues to be relevant, according to Lisa Mitchell, president and CEO, the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP).

Mitchell delivered the opening keynote address—How the Canadian P3 Sector Can Triumph in a Time of Upheaval—at the 30th annual P3 Conference.

“Thirty years ago, a group of Canadian P3 pioneers banded together to create this conference as a way of sharing information about the model and how it could revolutionize the way we build, operate and maintain the critical infrastructure Canadians rely on every day,” Mitchell told delegates. “Now, approximately 300 projects and several evolutions later, the P3 industry in this country is at a pivotal moment as it approaches middle age.

“I believe not only in the viability but in the superiority of the P3 model,” Mitchell told the Toronto audience attending the first in-person CCPPP conference since 2019. “And yeah, it’s been knocked around a bit, but it hasn’t been knocked down or knocked out.”

Mark Bain announces departure as CCPPP board chair

Mark Bain (CCPPP)

Mark Bain, a Partner at Torys LLP, also announced at P3 2022 that he is stepping down after six years as CCPPP’s chair of the board of directors.

“It’s been a tremendous honour to serve for more than 20 years on CCPPP’s board, including the last six years as chair,” he said. “The P3 market and the Council have grown and matured in tandem. The Council has provided me with a fascinating opportunity to observe and help shape policy discussions on public-private partnerships, champion changes needed to evolve the model and learn from the best in the business across Canada and globally.

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“I would like to thank my fellow volunteer board members and staff — those serving with me now and those that I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past. Your market awareness, your friendships, your senses of humour and your dedication have been tremendously inspiring.”

As Chair, Bain oversaw the development of an updated Strategic Plan, responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, increased engagement with members on market challenges, an increase in board diversity, and the recruitment and onboarding of the Council’s new president and CEO Lisa Mitchell.

Fellow CCPPP board member Steve Nackan, executive vice president & President, Aecon Concessions, saluted Bain this morning at P3 2022, noting how much of a pleasure it has been to serve with him on the board.

“I believe I speak for everyone here today — and the entire Canadian P3 community — when I say thank you for your tireless work, leadership, wisdom and dedication to the Council and the whole industry,” he said.

His comments were echoed by Johanne Mullen, vice chair of CCPPP’s board of directors and partner, National Capital Projects and Infrastructure Leader, PwC Canada. “Mark perfectly exemplifies the most important ‘p’ in P3. He’s all about fostering partnerships and finding common ground where both the public and private sector benefit. He has been a tremendous asset to the growth of our industry and to members of the Council.”

Mitchell also thanked Bain for his guidance and unflagging enthusiasm in her first year as CCPPP’s president and CEO: “Mark’s knowledge, kindness and sense of humour have been invaluable as we work to evolve the Council’s vision and mission in this evolving and challenging market.”

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“The P3 sector — though sometimes challenged — remains tremendously dynamic,” Bain added. “Well structured P3s continue to offer tremendous value for Canadians and deliver quality infrastructure, services and management. With strong leadership in place and a renewed strategic vision, the Council is well poised to continue to support and influence the next generation of P3s. Though I’m stepping down from my board duties, I will continue to be actively involved in the industry, and I look forward to celebrating the Council’s ongoing success.”

His successor will be named following CCPPP’s annual general meeting on November 30.

Featured image: CCPPP’s president and CEO Lisa Mitchell gives the opening keynote address at the P3 2022 Conference in Toronto, Nov. 21, 2022. (CCPPP)

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