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Quebec turns to pension giant to help fund transit projects

MONTREAL — The Quebec government plans to have the Caisse de depot pension fund system take over the financing and ownership of infrastructure projects, starting with public transit.

The province said Tuesday the approach will remove costly projects from its books and could be a model for other governments.

The Caisse manages provincial pension funds and is one of Canada’s largest investment managers.

READ MOREStrong year for Quebec’s Caisse de depot growth

It will create a subsidiary that will plan, finance, develop and operate projects that have potential to generate returns for its clients.

The first two projects are a public transit system on Montreal’s new Champlain Bridge and transit link between downtown Montreal and Trudeau International Airport on the city’s West Island.

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The Champlain Bridge in Montreal.
The Champlain Bridge in Montreal. Martin Hazel/Global News
Montreal airport
Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. David Sedell/Global News

The Caisse is aiming to complete the projects, worth $5 billion, projects before the end of 2020.

READ MOREProvincial finance ministers call on feds for more infrastructure cash

Other projects proposed by the government would be added and financed by equity investment and long-term debt.

The Caisse has more than 15 years of experience in infrastructure investment in Canada, Europe, the United States and Australia.

In 2005, it was lead investor in the construction and operation of The Canada Line, the rapid-rail service connecting Vancouver Airport with the city’s downtown.