Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Council of Canadians Calls on Prime Minister to Invest in Public Infrastructure Projects, Not Privatization


Earlier in April, the federal government announced several changes to the leadership of the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). Michael Sabia, the Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and former CEO of Caisse de dépôt et placements du Québec (CDPQ), is now Chair of the Board. 

The bank’s leadership changes, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, signal a renewed orientation to privatization from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Michael Sabia was involved in shaping the CIB’s privatization agenda, as part of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, which advised on the formation and structure of the bank. Most recently, Sabia served as the CEO of CDPQ, which was the recipient of the first project that the CIB funded. Sabia was on the Advisory Council in the period that this deal was finalized. 

The infrastructure deficit in Canada is significant and municipalities across the country have been calling for federal support for years. Addressing this gap presents an opportunity to revive the economy after COVID-19 through public investment in green projects like public transit, water and electricity, and support the transition to a low-carbon economy. 

The federal Liberals promised to close the infrastructure gap in Canada through federal funding and low-cost borrowing and created the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB). However, instead of providing loans to chronically underfunded municipalities, provinces or Indigenous communities, the bank’s mandate focuses on attracting private investors in critical infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the damage of decades of gutted public services and privatization on our collective health and well-being,” said Council of Canadians Chairperson John Cartwright.  “The government must learn from these mistakes and embrace public investments that will help workers and our economy get back on track.” 

“Public-private partnerships are not the way forward,” said Vi Bui, Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “These models ultimately end up costing taxpayers more by offloading risks onto municipal or provincial governments, cutting workforce and raising user rates.” 

The CIB was established in 2017 with a $35 billion budget and a mandate to attract private investments to finance infrastructure projects. The bank has announced funding for nine projects, including public transit, regional rail, water, electricity and broadband. These projects include a loan from the CIB and involve private companies in the financing, construction and operation of major infrastructure projects. 


Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country.

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Ginni Thomas Pressed Arizona Lawmakers to Reverse Biden's 2020 Win: Report

"Clarence Thomas' continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics," said one observer. "He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo