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P3s attribute risk, reward to those best suited to manage it

Wilson_Judy

In any public-private partnership project, it’s important that Canadians understand public ownership and public control are paramount, Toronto infrastructure lawyer Judy Wilson says in the Toronto Star, in an article explaining the inner workings of P3s from an industry perspective.

“Canadians should, on an ongoing basis, continue to monitor whether P3s represent the best value for money in the development of infrastructure projects,” Wilson, partner with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, says in the article.

“The fundamental principle of P3s, done properly, is that they attribute risk and reward to the party best able to manage it. This kind of proper attribution sends the proper signals to each party about lowering cost and finishing projects in a timely manner,” she says. “The model also brings to bear, in the best circumstances, the valuable skill sets of the private sector, including the lending sector.”

Wilson says lawyers have played a significant role in drafting transaction documents, developing standardized documentation for both procurement and the main transaction as well as advising on risk allocation.

“The development of a robust P3 market in Canada has provided opportunities for procurement and commercial lawyers, as well as many specialists, to apply their expertise to a variety of P3 models (build/finance, design/build/finance and design/build/finance/maintain) as well as a diversity of asset classes,” she says in the article.

Ontario is considered a hub of P3 development, the report says – which Wilson largely credits to the efforts of Infrastructure Ontario.

“Under their leadership, Ontario has grown into one of the most robust P3 markets in the world, and indeed, has knowledge and expertise that is sought-after, not only in Canada, but internationally as jurisdictions develop their own P3 models and approaches.”