Canadian pension plans have traditionally not been significant players in the P3 arena. “In my experience, there's been little involvement by pension funds on the debt side,” says Donald Pierce, counsel to the Construction, Engineering, Surety and Fidelity Group in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. But, this is all about to change.

Within the next few years, it's likely that Canadian pension plans – which are sitting on billions of dollars in pension assets – will become active in this area due to increased provincial and federal government spending in infrastructure projects and the lack of traditional lenders present.

And with Canadian banks becoming more involved in such financing, pension plan managers are taking note. “There is a perception that if the banks are involved the investment must be good,” says Pierce. “It may spur pensions plans to invest.”