New head of Canada Infrastructure Bank promises more investments after Ottawa loosens reins
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Before joining the Canada Infrastructure Bank, Cory was CEO of Infrastructure Ontario for four years, where he served for eight years in total. The department underwent a rapid expansion over that period, with its project pipeline growing from between $15 billion and $20 billion to around $60 billion in less than a decade.
Cory said he takes over during a “transition period” at the CIB, partly as a result of the structural changes introduced last year that will allow the Crown corporation to head in a new direction. Cory says the changes will make the bank “nimbler and faster,” reiterating claims already made by other bank officials.
The time between commitment and final capital can be long
“The way I describe the first year and a half… of our existence versus what we’re doing now is I think we spent way too much time thinking about all the rules that should govern what we do and how we do it,” John Casolas, chief investment officer at the CIB, said in an online panel discussion last year. “Whereas I think our approach now — and one that certainly that I am pushing — is we need to identify those very good and important projects and find a way to get them done.”
People familiar with the matter say that Sabia was a major proponent of the changes, but that board members were widely in agreement that the original structure for approvals needed to be adjusted in order to speed investment.
The change, if properly observed, would ultimately reduce government’s ability to decide which specific projects the bank invests in, instead limiting its input to higher-vantage questions of which types of projects and sectors would receive public funding.