October 19, 2016 / 1:08 PM / 2 years ago

Canada government advisory group to call for infrastructure bank: report

Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau makes an announcement about the country's housing market at government offices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian government advisory group this week will recommend the creation of an infrastructure bank and urge increased immigration to stoke economic growth, the Globe and Mail reported on Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, it said Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth will call for a 50 percent boost in immigration to 450,000 people annually over five years as well as easing the entry of highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants.

A spokesman for the finance minister declined to comment.

Other recommendations include the creation of a new department to entice foreign direct investment and the establishment of an infrastructure bank, the report said.

The proposed bank would be “arms length” from the government, the article said.

The Liberal government, which was elected a year ago on a plan to spend more to revive the economy, included in its platform a plan to establish an infrastructure bank that would provide loan guarantees and small capital contributions to provinces and municipalities to build infrastructure projects.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported the government was talking to pension funds about investing in billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects.

The 14-member advisory group includes venture capitalists, institutional investors, business executives and academics. It will deliver the recommendations to Morneau on Thursday, the story said.

The government will provide an economic and fiscal update this fall. Morneau is expected to announce plans to act on at least one of the group’s recommendations in his update, the report said.

Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; additional reporting by Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; editing by Diane Craft

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