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What are P3s?

What are public-private partnerships (P3s)?

Public-private partnerships or P3s are long-term agreements between governments and the private sector to build, expand or refurbish public infrastructure, deliver services and provide maintenance. In Canada, they have been used extensively for roads, bridges, hospitals, water and wastewater treatment plants, transit systems, schools and justice facilities.

Unlike traditional procurement approaches, the public sector integrates multiple parts of a project into one contract that:

  • Allocates the appropriate risk transfer to the partner best suited to manage it
  • Considers the whole life cycle of the asset
  • Drives innovation and efficiencies, and
  • Leverages private capital and expertise

Depending on the project’s scope and size (and the P3 model used), the consortium may include one or more developers, designers, constructors, lenders and financial institutions, and maintenance and operation providers. This team works together from the beginning to deliver the asset and look after it long-term.

The Council defines the ‘made in Canada’ P3 model as: 

A cooperative venture between the public and private sectors, built on the expertise of each partner, that best meets clearly defined public needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards.

Arrangements that do not include the provision of public infrastructure and transfer of risk are not technically public-private partnerships and do not fall within the scope of the work supported by CCPPP.