On October 31, 2022, the Government of Canada released the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) Update. This followed on the RFEOI that was released March 10, 2022. The process sought advice and views from industry on the HFR project – responses were requested by May 31, 2022. Two RFEOI information sessions hosted by the Government of Canada on April 6, 2022 – one in English and one in French – helped ensure participants had the information they needed to provide thorough and insightful responses to the RFEOI.
The Government of Canada is very pleased with the market’s interest and response to the RFEOI, with 54 Interested Parties providing written responses and confirming a desire to participate in the HFR project. Through the summer, meetings were held to discuss responses in greater detail, which was helpful for the Government of Canada to better understand the specific feedback raised by the market. These firms are Canadian, North American and international. The Government of Canada is looking forward to the future with optimism and openness.
The RFEOI process was successful, as the Government of Canada obtained meaningful feedback from Interested Parties. Core elements of the proposed procurement approach and deal structure were validated and will remain unchanged. The Government of Canada is using the feedback received to refine the project requirements, the deal structure and the anticipated procurement and co-development processes and timelines.
The Government of Canada issued a RFEOI Update to summarize key themes stemming from the RFEOI process and provide additional information, clarifications and changes to some elements of the HFR project and its anticipated procurement phase.
Adjustments in RFEOI Update
Elements that were changed, include:
- Reduced RFP open period, reflective of the level of effort expected for the RFP Proposal
- Target RFQ launch moved to early 2023 to provide Interested Parties adequate time to consider the additional information in the RFEOI Update
RFEOI Update provides the new information related to the following topics:
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Private Developer Partner (the PDP).
- Key features and objectives of the deal structure.
- Expected payment regime for construction and operations.
- Revenue responsibilities transferred to and managed by the Private Partner (PP).
- Additional details on the transfer of existing VIA services in the Corridor.
- RFQ technical and financial evaluation criteria.
- RFP deliverables and evaluation criteria.
- The status of the incorporation process for the VIA Rail subsidiary.
- The role of VIA Rail in the procurement phase and co-development phase.
- The anticipated Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) investment products.
- Security requirements, the Investment Canada Act and the Integrity Regime.
The RFEOI Update also clarifies several points, such as:
- Reaffirming the Government of Canada’s commitment to Indigenous involvement.
- The alignment is not yet chosen by the Government of Canada – proponents will have flexibility to develop an alignment that maximizes project outcomes, including higher speeds on some segments.
- The Government of Canada will provide information on potential alignment options during the RFP phase.
- The Government of Canada is responsible for securing land rights.
- Impact Assessment (IA) is on the critical path during co-development.
- PDP has responsibilities for IA requirements and consultations.
- The Government of Canada retains the risk of securing IA approval.
- PDP team member capabilities, experience and composition are described.