Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank the members of the NDP for their belated support for infrastructure. When we were discussing the infrastructure plan during the campaign, they were so focused on artificially balancing the budget at the cost of ignoring the needs of the communities that need infrastructure. I remember having a debate with one of the NDP's prominent candidates. I asked what the New Democrats' plans were for infrastructure. What I heard was they would build infrastructure five or 10 years from now.
When the New Democrats rise in the House to talk about affordable housing, public transit, water, and waste-water infrastructure or their support for rural communities, I welcome that, because at least they recognize that infrastructure is important, that it is the bones of our economy.
Since taking office, our government has been working hard to deliver unprecedented investments in infrastructure. I am pleased to tell the House today about the investing in Canada infrastructure plan. As well, I will speak more about the Canada infrastructure bank which is one of the government's new, innovative solutions to help address Canada's pressing infrastructure needs and build more infrastructure.
We want to build strong foundations that will allow all Canadians to thrive, excel, and innovate. In budget 2016, we launched the first phase of our long-term infrastructure plan which is designed to achieve three important goals: create long-term growth for those middle-class Canadians and those who are working hard to join the middle class; build inclusive communities so everyone has a fair chance to succeed; and support a low-carbon, green economy.
The plan would invest more than $180 billion over 12 years, bringing new and innovative infrastructure investment tools to the table and would support five key areas for investment: public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation infrastructure, and the rural and northern communities infrastructure. Our plan would deliver better public transit, clean water, and more social housing units for Canadians while creating long-term growth and jobs for the middle class.
When we ran during the last election, we said we would double the infrastructure investments across the country. We said that now is the time to invest in our country and in Canadians. Now we are delivering on that commitment. When we came into office, we started consulting broadly with our partners—provinces, territories, municipalities, and indigenous communities—to make sure we were investing in the right way, to make sure our investments would have maximum impact and would address the real needs of our communities.
It quickly became clear that everyone was feeling that the infrastructure deficit was caused by the lack of sustained, predictable funding from the previous government and it was clear that an ambitious plan was needed now. Our partners told us that existing infrastructure across the country was in dire need of repair and modernization.
We decided to roll out our plan in two phases. The initial phase of the investing in Canada plan was designed to focus on the recapitalization, repair, and modernization of existing infrastructure assets, making buses accessible, and giving access to clean drinking water to communities facing boil water advisories. Phase one also recognized the challenges municipalities face when trying to plan for the long term by funding the design and planning work of new, larger scale infrastructure projects like Ottawa's second phase LRT, the downtown relief line in Toronto, Calgary's Green Line, or Edmonton's LRT expansion.
We did this to help municipalities rebuild the foundations of their systems and to start planning for projects that will form the core of our ambitious long-term plan.
Our plan is about building not just more infrastructure but building infrastructure that meets community needs and addresses the pressing infrastructure gaps that are felt throughout Canada. To ensure that we are supporting the infrastructure that our communities need, we continue to work in close relationship with our provincial, territorial, indigenous, and municipal partners to plan and deliver infrastructure projects that will shape our country for years to come.
We have made great progress in delivering projects under Infrastructure Canada's new programs. We streamlined approvals under the new Building Canada fund to better support our municipal, provincial, and territorial partners, and to approve projects faster.
We added new eligibility categories to recognize our partners' priorities, making cultural and recreational projects and ferry infrastructure eligible, for example. The members of the NDP will remember that, because they are the ones, along with Liberal MPs, who requested that we change the category to include ferry infrastructure in our plan. These changes were not only made by our provincial and territorial partners, but also at the requests of other MPs.
Since taking office, we have approved 2,200 projects across the country, with a total combined investment of $20 billion since November 2015. We have approved more projects to help our communities in a year and a half than the previous government did in five years combined.
These projects are now rolling out in communities large and small and will make a big difference across Canada. Our investments so far mean 200 projects that will make public transit more accessible for people with disabilities, with more than 1,000 new buses along with other improvements. Together these investments will develop faster, more reliable service and help reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Another 1,000 projects will give more Canadians access to clean drinking water and reduce pollution in our lakes and rivers.
More than 89,000 social housing units have been renovated under our plan. As well, 182 arts and heritage facilities in 109 communities are being improved, and nearly 6,000 housing units on reserve for indigenous communities have been built, renovated, or planned, along with 125 projects aimed at building and improving schools for indigenous children. There are 251 projects under the post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund under way to enhance and modernize research and commercialization facilities on Canadian campuses.
An example of the results of our investments so far can be found in the town of Lanigan, Saskatchewan. Due to a lack of infrastructure investment by the previous government, the people in Lanigan were lacking quality water to bathe their children, wash their clothes, and prepare their food. Thanks to the financial support from our government, the community will soon upgrade their water and waste water treatment systems.
We have helped communities in North Bay, Ontario; Selkirk, Manitoba; and Moncton, New Brunswick to buy new buses that are reliable and accessible. They are better for the environment.
North Vancouver, London, and Inverness in Nova Scotia have installed new transit shelters. Durham in Ontario and Winnipeg in Manitoba have expanded their facilities to accommodate maintenance of their fleets.
Our plan is funding water supply main replacement in Clinton, Ontario. It is helping the community water conservation project in Tahsis, British Columbia, and funding the Mayo lift station in Mayo, Yukon.
In my home province of Alberta, we have supported key infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the Edmonton Yellowhead Trail, a project that was ignored by the previous government for 10 years. The Fort Edmonton Park expansion is a very important project from an indigenous reconciliation point of view. Other projects are the Southwest Calgary Ring Road and the Lacombe and Red Deer water and waste water line.
Our long-term infrastructure plan is focused on investing in the projects that will transform our communities for the 21st century. We know that Canada's infrastructure demands outpaced investments for decades, and let us make no mistake: underfunding infrastructure has a cost, and it is significant. That is why budget 2017 builds on the measures announced in budget 2016 and clearly outlines the next steps in our government's plan to make smart investments that will help grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.
The proposed budget implementation act includes legislation to establish the Canada infrastructure bank, which I would like to talk about now. Even with our historic investment in our country's infrastructure, there remains a gap that we cannot completely fill. We need to find a new way to build more infrastructure, understanding the limited resources of all orders of government. During the campaign, we committed to creating the Canada infrastructure bank. Through our consultations, our government recognized that we needed to find innovative new ways to effectively mobilize private capital to supplement our historic public investments and build more new infrastructure projects that will benefit Canadians.
Through consultations with mayors from across the country, municipal associations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, provincial and territorial governments, first nations, industry associations, global organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and investment groups such as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, we drafted the details of the bill that is before this House.
We are proposing the creation of a Canada infrastructure bank because we believe there is an opportunity for the federal government to attract private sector investment in infrastructure and partner with world-leading institutional investors to build more projects across our country. The bank would finance those projects that are in the public interest, but that often do not get built because they are too costly or face competing priorities. Such projects have a potential to be transformational but often do not receive funding under traditional infrastructure programs.
If approved by Parliament, the Canada infrastructure bank would do just that. It would invest up to $35 billion in new growth-oriented infrastructure across the country, including public transit systems in our largest cities, energy transmission corridors, and more. Fifteen billion dollars would be sourced from the investing in Canada infrastructure plan. This $15 billion is approximately 8% of the total commitment of infrastructure funds that we have made under our $180 billion long-term plan. It is on top of our initial commitment to doubling infrastructure investments.
We would make an additional $20 billion in capital available to the Canada infrastructure bank for investments that would result in the bank holding assets in the form of equity or debt. This $20 billion would therefore not result in a fiscal impact on the government.
If approved by Parliament, the bank's mandate would be to make investments in revenue-generating infrastructure projects that are in the public interest as well as to seek investments from the private sector and institutional investors in those projects.
To carry out its mandate, the bank would structure investments in infrastructure projects that have revenue-generating potential and are in the public interest; attract private sector and institutional investors to projects so that more infrastructure can be built; serve as a centre of expertise on projects in which private sector or institutional investors are making a significant investment; foster evidence-based decision-making and advise all orders of government on the design of revenue-generating projects; and collect and share data to help governments make better decisions about infrastructure investments.
The bank would amplify federal support by bringing private sector and institutional investors to the table to help pay for the transformational projects that our country needs.
The bank would offer our funding partners a new way to help meet their pressing infrastructure needs. It would be a new tool for provincial, territorial, and municipal partners to use in building infrastructure that Canadians need, should they wish to use it. It would free up public dollars to build more public infrastructure, such as housing and recreational and cultural facilities, and it is expected to attract private sector capital that would otherwise not be available for building the infrastructure our country needs.
If approved by Parliament, the bank would be established as an arm's-length crown corporation that would be accountable to Parliament and would report on its activities to Parliament twice a year.
The Government of Canada has engaged Canadians and stakeholders from across Canada on our long-term infrastructure plan. The development of the Canada infrastructure bank, we believe, will help us achieve the results that we want to achieve.
I would like to stress a few points again.
The bank is an optional tool for our partners to use. It is up to provinces, territories, and municipalities to decide if they choose to use the bank to help build more infrastructure.
The bank will focus on new infrastructure, not selling existing assets. We need to build even more infrastructure in this country. The bank is one way of doing that.
The bank is one additional tool we are putting into our infrastructure tool kit. Of the total of $186 billion in the plan, less than 10% would be delivered through the infrastructure bank.
The bank would be a tool for certain projects that have a revenue stream. It would enable us to focus our grant money on infrastructure that does not have revenue attached to it. It would allow us to stretch our infrastructure dollars even further.
Earlier this week, we were proud to announce the search for the leadership of the bank. This is an important milestone toward the creation of the bank and, if Parliament approves it, will allow us to be well positioned to have the bank operational in late 2017.
These searches will identify a chairperson, board members, and a chief executive officer. The process will be open and merit-based and will identify experts and professionals who are needed to lead and govern the bank.
The selection process is designed to attract diverse and highly qualified individuals, taking into consideration the desire to achieve gender parity and to reflect Canada's linguistic, cultural, and regional diversity.
We know that our country is stronger when decision-makers reflect Canada's diversity. That is why we are searching for people with the right talent who can help us design and build this bank and also help us deliver on the commitments we have made to Canadians.