Over the last few years public-private partnerships (P3s) have become an increasingly important topic for elected officials across Canada. Decades of underinvestment in infrastructure and tight operating budgets have forced governments to constantly search for the best way to provide the services their citizens expect at the lowest cost. P3s are offered as a solution to this challenge, though not everyone agrees that P3s can deliver infrastructure and services at the lowest cost. Many critics argue that P3s can end up costing governments more in the long run. The central question for elected officials when contemplating a P3 is, will it ultimately serve the public interest?
This resource guide reviews a growing body of research about P3s. The record of P3s in Canada is decidedly mixed, and few P3s have been in operation long enough for anyone to be able to evaluate whether or not they offer greater value than governments taking on the project themselves.