The practice area of infrastructure lawyers encompasses providing advice and counsel on Infrastructure development, including P3 projects. Various areas of regulatory law impact on development projects, including municipal law and land use planning, and therefore, infrastructure lawyers need to include these advisory services in their practices. Clients also require advice in the areas of Procurement, Alternative Financing, corporate, construction, commercial and litigation considerations.
Please note that the Lexpert directory has separate practice area for:
An infrastructure lawyer may represent any sector in the infrastructure industry, bringing in their experience of the different areas of law expertise that overlaps with infrastructure law. They assist clients who are in the public sector – the state agencies, ranging from the federal level down to the municipal level – in its policy-making role, planning of public infrastructure projects, until its implementation. Infrastructure lawyers mostly have as their clients the private sector – contractors, funding entities, or lending institutions – that are engaged with through the public-private partnerships (PPP or 3Ps).
Infrastructure lawyers employ transactional, litigious, and alternative dispute resolution practices. As with all other transactions, drafting and negotiation of contracts is at the heart of every partnership. When disputes or problems arise, parties may enforce mediation or arbitration clauses in contracts. As a last resort, litigations may ensue between them. As such, infrastructure lawyers are present in all these stages in the infrastructure industry.
In addition, infrastructure lawyers do not only serve a single sector in the infrastructure industry, but may be assist clients in multi-sectoral transactions, which may also have an international element to it. Thus, infrastructure lawyers are highly skilled in these different nuances of the practice of infrastructure law.
All these transactions of infrastructure lawyers are to ensure compliance with government regulations and statutes, and to secure the rights and obligations of all parties.
Infrastructure Canada is the federal government department which deals with public infrastructure projects, from its planning up to its implementation – from highways and roads, stadiums, water projects, bridges, among others.
Infrastructure Canada is also responsible for policy development with matters relating to infrastructure. Both the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion are also responsible for Infrastructure Canada.
In its goal of implementing public infrastructure across Canada, the department is mandated to:
The department manages two programs, namely, the Canada Community-Building Fund, and the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.
The Canada Community-Building Fund, previously known as the Gas Tax Fund, is a source of funding for local infrastructure projects of municipalities in the provinces and territories. Projects are chosen or proposed by local communities from among the 19 categories of infrastructure projects.
The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund provides resources to eligible recipients in implementing large-scale strategic infrastructure projects. This may either be public or private partnerships. The possible eligible recipients of the fund are provincial and territorial governments, other municipal public sector bodies, or private entities.
The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund Act established the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), a federal corporation intended for advisory and investment purposes specifically on large-scale infrastructure projects, through public-private partnerships, for the benefit of Canadians. Its establishment is part of the Investing in Canada Plan to strengthen Canada’s resources for its numerous infrastructure projects. The CIB works jointly with agencies and corporations of all levels – federal, provincial, territorial, municipal – together with Indigenous partners.
Over the years, the CIB’s investment plans for strategic infrastructure have evolved which now includes the following priority sectors:
In 2016, an investment campaign called the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program was established by the federal government, which aims to invest $180 billion public funds over the span of 12 years for infrastructure projects to be implemented throughout all of Canada.
The Program has four targeted funding streams for its investments in infrastructure:
In the implementation of infrastructure projects, the federal Government of Canada partners with provincial and territorial governments through the execution of bilateral agreements between the government-parties. Projects under these bilateral agreements are also assessed through the Climate Lens Assessment, which is the tool used to measure the climate impacts of infrastructure projects in Canada. It aims to construct disaster-resilient and climate-smart infrastructures, with lesser energy costs and minimal carbon footprint.
Local Canadian communities are engaged with to have a more inclusive approach in these infrastructure projects. Indigenous communities must be consulted with in line with the guidelines provided by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC). The Community Employment Benefits General Guidance is also used to measure the social outcomes of infrastructure projects, such as the employment opportunities provided for members of under-represented groups, and the increase and retention of diverse employees.
These key tools and project monitoring procedures that the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program does not only address infrastructure needs of the country, but also that it does not disregard the social impacts these large infrastructure projects have on local communities. Infrastructure lawyers frequently get involved representing either side of these projects.
“Critical infrastructure” is a system of physical infrastructures and information technology essential for the holistic well-being of Canadians and the productive operations of the state. These critical infrastructures transcend boundaries, working between provincial and territorial governments, or with the federal government. Any interference of these systems is prevented, as this would affect the normal day-to-day transactions of Canadians and the economy.
These critical infrastructures are largely owned by the private sector (i.e., private companies and corporations) compared to public sector (i.e., the state and its agents). Among the Canadian public sector, the critical infrastructures are mostly run and owned by the municipal governments; followed by the provincial and territorial governments; with minimal critical infrastructures found in Indigenous communities, and the federal government.
The National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure, which is the collaborative strategy among and between the federal, and provincial and territorial governments, listed 10 critical infrastructures:
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