Ontario Government Secretly Pursued Real Estate Sales According to Mandate Letter

Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered his infrastructure minister to pursue undisclosed real estate policies upon taking power in 2018. The mandate letter, obtained exclusively by Global News, instructs the minister to scrutinize Ontario’s real estate portfolio and consider which properties could be put up for sale. Although the contents of the mandate letter have been kept secret by Premier Ford and his government, the Supreme Court of Canada is currently considering a request to release them.

The letter directs the minister to review the province’s planned $190 billion of capital investments in infrastructure and ensure that money is being deployed properly. It also instructs the minister to evaluate the province’s real estate portfolio, offload unused properties, and target the sale of air rights above transit stations or provincially owned assets. The mandate includes divesting vacant units immediately if a sale is feasible.

Infrastructure Ontario, the crown agency responsible for managing contracts and construction for provincial projects, later received the mandate to pursue real estate divestment. Public documents show that the Ontario government approved the divestment of 243 properties generating between $105 to $135 million as part of a four-year Accelerated Divestment Plan.

In addition to pursuing real estate sales, the premier’s office wanted increased private sector involvement in public infrastructure projects. The minister was directed to expand the use of public-private partnerships in building necessary infrastructure, lowering delivery costs, and seeking private sector partnerships.

Overall, the mandate letter reveals the Ontario government’s intentions to optimize its real estate portfolio, generate revenue, and increase private sector participation in infrastructure projects. However, the secretive nature of the letter’s contents has raised questions about transparency and public oversight.


– Global News: [link]
– Image source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young