The Manitoba government has established a formal process that includes creating a project team to respond to the 51 recommendations from the Economic Review of Bipole III and Keeyask (ERBK) from commissioner Brad Wall, as well as an external expert panel to provide direction and guidance for future Manitoba Hydro decisions, Crown Services Minister Jeff Wharton announced today.
“Our government is committed to taking action to create strong and transparent policies to ensure future Manitoba Hydro projects are both accountable and demonstrate clear values to Manitobans,” said Wharton. “The external experts will support the project team on critical recommendations in the areas of procurement and contracting. They will serve in an advisory capacity over the next year to guide the development of action plans that address these recommendations.”
The members of the panel are:
• Mark Podlasly – director of economic policy at the First Nations Major Projects Coalition;
• Tim Stanley – engineer and president at Stratice Consulting; and
• Chris Gauer – engineer and former president, project delivery, Infrastructure Ontario.
“Leveraging the skills and expertise of our panel members will allow us to strengthen the future of Manitoba Hydro and find ways to better protect Manitobans by not running the risk of repeating the same mistakes with past decisions from former governments,” said Wharton.
The project team, chaired by Manitoba Crown Services and composed of various members across government departments, will prepare a response to all 51 recommendations. It will undertake a further examination of areas such as cost-reimbursable contracts, impact of project labour agreements, a deeper analysis of the Bipole III routing decision, the failure to disclose escalating cost estimates to the Public Utilities Board (PUB), and how $1.2 billion was spent on Keeyask/Bipole III prior to its approval by the PUB.
A public formal response document that describes the actions that have been or will been taken in response to each of the ERBK recommendations will be tabled in the house in fall of 2022, the minister said.
Under the Crowns Corporations Governance and Accountability Act, the minister provided a directive to Manitoba Hydro to support the implementation of the province’s response to the 51 recommendations outlined in the ERBK.
“Implementing the recommendations of commissioner Brad Wall’s review showcases our commitment to strengthen Manitoba Hydro,” added Wharton. “We remain committed to the future of Manitoba Hydro and the integral work they do for Manitobans.”
– 30 –
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ATTACHED