With infrastructure a top priority on the government’s agenda – supported by billions of dollars in private and public investments – Canada is currently experiencing a flux of development projects. Although this is promising for the Canadian economy, the infrastructure landscape is as complex as ever due to the multitude of stakeholders. As a result, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), is launching Cities + Infrastructure – a first-of-its-kind service in Canada that will bring together multiple forms of strategic counsel and industry knowledge. Based on a successful track record in the infrastructure sector, H+K’s expertise will be leveraged to provide stakeholder risk assessment and mitigation, while building the public and political support needed to complete these largescale projects.

According to research conducted by H+K Perspectives, Hill+Knowlton’s proprietary research community comprised of approximately 20,000 Canadians, the need for infrastructure investment is evident. After healthcare and taxes, infrastructure is the third top issue that Canadians want to be consulted about. What’s more, the number one thing Canadians want government infrastructure investment to result in is better quality of life.

“H+K acquired Acertys earlier this year, strengthening our public engagement offering across a wide range of industries – particularly in relation to infrastructure developments,” says Goldy Hyder, president and CEO, H+K Canada. “We have extensive experience working to support clients undertaking large urban infrastructure projects,” added Mr. Hyder. “With the creation of our Cities + Infrastructure group, we are able provide a full service, integrated offering for public participation and stakeholder engagement specific to real estate and infrastructure projects, large or small, within both private and public sectors.”

With the acquisition, H+K gained a team of professionals trained in fields such as engineering, urban planning and economic development. Accordingly, the launch of Cities + Infrastructure was a natural progression for the firm. Services will include comprehensive risk assessment and management, research, government relations, mediation, along with online and in-person community engagement and strategic communications.

“Successfully delivering largescale infrastructure projects has become increasingly complex.  These projects are exposed to an extreme amount of risk at every stage of the project lifecycle that often result in higher costs, timing delays and a potential reduction in quality,” says Jacques Bénard, senior vice-president, H+K Canada. “We have a unique specialty in that H+K has long combined global insights and local knowledge to solve complex client challenges in infrastructure projects. We start by doing a comprehensive assessment and then tailor services according to the specific needs of each project, bringing insights at every step of the process to help mitigate any roadblocks.”

With subject expertise and training in land use planning, transportation, public policy and municipal services, the Cities + Infrastructure team speaks the language of urban infrastructure, while fostering the ability to translate technical language into publicly accessible material for all audiences. H+K’s new service offering provides support to project leaders in developing and implementing strategies to respond to the realities of development today. The team flexibly and seamlessly combines services to cover the range of client needs over the project lifespan, while collaborating closely with project partners and experts, such as lawyers, engineers, business consultants, planners and project managers, to successfully complete projects.