September 2016 Mandate letter: Infrastructure
Premier’s instructions to the Minister on priorities.
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September 23, 2016
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli
Minister of Infrastructure
900 Bay Street
5th Floor, Mowat Block
Dear Minister Chiarelli:
Welcome to your role as Minister of Infrastructure. As we mark the mid-point of our mandate, we have a strong and new Cabinet, and are poised to redouble our efforts to deliver on our top priority — creating jobs and growth. Guided by our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone, we will continue to work together to deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives.
We embark on this important part of our mandate knowing that our four-part economic plan is working — we are making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, making postsecondary education more affordable and accessible, leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change, and building retirement security for workers.
Building on our ambitious and activist agenda, and with a focus on implementing our economic plan, we will continue to forge partnerships with businesses, educators, labour, communities, the not-for-profit sector and with all Ontarians to foster economic growth and to make a genuine, positive difference in people’s lives. Collaboration and active listening remain at the heart of the work we undertake on behalf of the people of Ontario — these are values that ensure a common purpose, stimulate positive change and help achieve desired outcomes. With this in mind, I ask that you work closely with your Cabinet colleagues to deliver positive results on initiatives that cut across several ministries, such as our Climate Change Action Plan, Business Growth Initiative, and the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy. I also ask you to collaborate with the Minister Responsible for Digital Government to drive digital transformation across government and modernize public service delivery.
We have made tangible progress and we have achieved the following key results:
- Passed the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, which enshrines evidence-based, long-term infrastructure planning in Ontario.
- Ensured that new major provincial infrastructure assets built by Infrastructure Ontario (including hospitals, courthouses, colleges and detention centres) use alternative financing and procurement, including value for money and full life-cycle costing assessments.
- Continued supporting strong communities across Ontario by expanding the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund from $100 million to $300 million per year by 2018-2019 for investment in roads, highways and water infrastructure projects in Ontario’s small- and mid-sized communities.
- Since 2015, we have announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life — all part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history, which is supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province.
Your mandate is to guide Ontario’s historic infrastructure plan and lead projects that strengthen our communities and economy, such as hospitals, schools, transit systems, roads and bridges. Your specific priorities include:
Guiding the Province’s Historic 12-year, $160-billion Infrastructure Plan
- Refining infrastructure programs to respond to the needs of municipalities and local communities.
- Leading the development of new regulations under the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act to set out the requirements for long-term infrastructure planning for the broader public sector by spring 2017.
- Developing reporting standards that will better track infrastructure investments across government and improve public transparency by introducing a web-based reporting on the progress of infrastructure projects.
- Consulting with municipal partners on asset management plans and develop regulations to promote standardization and consistency by January 2017.
Leading the Province’s Negotiations with the Federal Government on New Infrastructure Agreements
- Working to align funding under the federal government’s historic investments in infrastructure with existing provincial programs and develop new infrastructure programs that drive Ontario’s economic and social growth, including through the New Building Canada Fund.
Developing the Province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan
- Developing a strategic approach to capital planning based on strong analytics that will guide the province’s investments in infrastructure, strengthen the capital planning process and develop a robust infrastructure plan as required by legislation.
- Co-ordinating provincial infrastructure spending, using evidence-based criteria and analytics that assesses current and future needs.
- Working with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the President of Treasury Board to incorporate life cycle assessment and life cycle cost assessment into the capital planning process.
- Ensuring that infrastructure priorities for the province align with provincial priorities relating to growth planning and community benefit agreements.
- Publishing a robust profile of planned capital investments and demonstrate progress on infrastructure planning.
- Publishing the Long-Term Infrastructure Plan by the end of 2017.
Helping to Integrate the Province’s Commitments in the Climate Change Action Plan Across the Province’s Infrastructure Plan
- Working with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, ensuring that the infrastructure priorities for the province align with provincial priorities relating to the Climate Change Action Plan, including:
- Developing and initiating a program in 2017 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heritage properties.
- Working with the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, develop a program to demonstrate low carbon technologies using government assets.
- Incorporating climate change into existing and future municipal funding programs.
- Working with the President of the Treasury Board, develop an approach to make the Ontario government carbon neutral by 2018.
- Developing a strategy to reduce emissions from the Macdonald Block, with funding to be considered in future action plans.
- Requiring consideration of climate change in municipal asset management planning and regulations under the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act.
- Working with the Minister of Transportation, develop a plan for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at government owned and leased properties for public and workforce use beginning in 2017 and completed at the majority of locations in 2018.
Managing the Government’s Realty Program in a Manner that Focuses on Program Needs and Considered the Market Value of Provincially Owned Properties
- Identifying opportunities to reduce the footprint of government offices throughout the province.
- Driving forward the implementation of the Forfeited Corporate Property Act, 2015.
- Ensuring that the infrastructure priorities for the province align with provincial priorities relating to community hubs.
Working with the Special Advisor to the Premier, Lead the Government-wide Implementation of the Community Hubs Strategic Framework and Action Plan
- Establishing a body that will align decision-making for capital and service planning decisions to support community hubs.
- Making recommendations to improve the government’s process for assessing, circulating and divesting surplus public properties.
- Developing a “one window” inventory of public property, including surplus properties that can be expanded to include other sectors, making information publicly available to community partners to support the government’s Open Data initiative. This will also support better local decision-making and community hub development, and build on work underway related to the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act, 2015.
- Working with the Special Advisor to the Premier and ministry partners to drive a whole of government approach to implement the Community Hubs Strategic Framework and Action Plan.
In addition to the priority activities above, I ask that you also deliver results for Ontarians by driving progress in the following areas:
- Engage in continuous refinement of Ontario’s highly effective Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model with consideration for best practices and improvements to the model.
- Lead the development and implementation of Moving Ontario Forward projects located outside of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including non-transit projects.
- Support the goals and mandate of Waterfront Toronto in its revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront.
- Implement the new Natural Gas Access Loan program to help communities partner with utilities to extend access to natural gas supplies and the Natural Gas Economic Development Grant to accelerate projects with clear economic development potential.
- Work with the Minister of Economic Development and Growth on expanding broadband infrastructure and improving connectivity in communities across the province.
- Work with the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in support of policies that consider the interest of First Nation communities.
As you know, taking action on the recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is a priority for our government. That is why we released The Journey Together, a document that serves as a blueprint for making our government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a reality. As we move forward with the implementation of the report, I ask you and your fellow Cabinet members to work together, in co-operation with our Indigenous partners, to help achieve real and measurable change for Indigenous communities.
Having made significant progress over the past year in implementing our community hubs strategy, I encourage you and your Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the Premier’s Special Advisor on Community Hubs and the Community Hubs Secretariat, at the Ministry of Infrastructure, are given the support they need to continue their vital cross-government work aimed at making better use of public properties, encouraging multi-use spaces and helping communities create financially sustainable hub models.
Responsible fiscal management remains an overarching priority for our government — a priority echoed strongly in our 2016 Budget. Thanks to our disciplined approach to the province’s finances over the past two years, we are on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017–18, which will also lower the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio. Yet this is not the moment to rest on our past accomplishments: it is essential that we work collaboratively across every sector of government to support evidence-based decision-making to ensure programs and services are effective, efficient and sustainable, in order to balance the budget by 2017–18, maintain balance in 2018–19, and position the province for longer-term fiscal sustainability.
Marathon runners will tell you that an event’s halfway mark is an opportunity to reflect on progress made — but they will also tell you that it is the ideal moment to concentrate more intently and to move decisively forward. At this halfway mark of this government’s mandate, I encourage you to build on the momentum that we have successfully achieved over the past two years, to work in tandem with your fellow ministers to advance our economic plan and to ensure that Ontario remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.
I look forward to working together with you to build opportunity and prosperity for all Ontarians.