At the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s recent State of the Industry and Outlook Conference , Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton announced that he was conducting a market sounding exercise to determine how Ontario’s P3 model of infrastructure procurement could be refined in order to attract more bidders. 
Very generally, getting more bidders usually produces a more competitive process and lower prices and therefore, in public procurement, better value for the taxpayers’ money. It’s also fair to say that in the P3 world, more bidders bring more innovation in both the design and delivery of projects. 
Because of the limited number of domestic contractors that have the capability to take on large infrastructure projects, Minister McNaughton was casting his eyes to Europe with the hope of attracting construction interests from the EU to bid on Ontario P3 projects. 
A government news release issued on March 19 th stated that following extensive discussions with market participants, the following changes will be made to attract foreign participation in Ontario’s P3 market:
  • Credit will be given for international experience when evaluating bids
  • Project specifications will be less prescriptive to allow for greater innovation
  • When evaluating bid, greater emphasis will be given to innovation
At the time of this release, Minister McNaughton was addressing delegates at the annual Infrastructure Investor Global Summit about the opportunities available to global companies in the Ontario P3 market. 
Interesting “Quick Facts” about Ontario’s P3 marketplace that appeared at the bottom of the government’s news release read as follows:
  • “Large P3 initiatives start at around $100 million and stretch into the billions for larger more complex infrastructure projects.
  • Ontario is one of the most active markets in the world for public-private partnerships.
  • In the past eight years, Infrastructure Ontario has delivered more than 120 public-private partnership projects worth about $50 billion.
  • P3 Americas named Infrastructure Ontario “Agency of the Year” for the past three years.”