Prepared by: Institute on Governance

July 28, 2015


This report provides an assessment of different structural models for Canada’s port authorities from a long-term perspective. It is based on: a literature review and recognized global best practices in port governance; international case studies with potential application to the Canadian context (specifically from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales); and, an evaluation of the merits of different options given the challenges and opportunities facing the various ports, having regard to salient international trends, the diversity of Canadian Ports and the desire for a whole‐of‐government governance approach. The report presents a full spectrum of port models and identifies their respective strengths and weaknesses. Four possible port governance models are presented in consideration of the Canadian context: Government Owned and Operated “Service Ports”, Commercialized/ Corporatized Public Sector Ports, Landlord-“Concession” Ports, and Fully Privatized Ports. The report recognizes the Canada Port Authority Model, similar to the vast majority of port governance arrangements, strikes a balance between commercial discipline and treatment of ports as strategic infrastructure in which there is a significant public interest.

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