Provincial Debt Issuance Programs

The Province of British Columbia achieves the annual borrowing requirement for government, Crown corporations and agencies through various established debt issuance programs, such as the Domestic, European, Australian and Canadian Promissory Note and U.S. Commercial Paper programs. These programs enable the B.C. government to access domestic and international capital markets, through the issuance of bonds or notes, from which proceeds are then allocated to various government and Crown corporation initiatives such as the building of new schools, hospitals and bridges.

Typically, purchasers of B.C. bond issues are large institutional investors with a relatively small proportion held by retail investors.

Domestic Programs

Domestic Debt Issuance Program

The Domestic Debt Issuance Program is the primary source of funding for the Province. Bonds issued under this program are typically long-term with 10-year or 30-year maturities. Once bonds are issued, they will trade in the secondary market where investors can buy and sell the bonds. The domestic market is the Province's base market from which the costs for issuing under the international programs are compared. Generally, when the Province considers issuing an international bond, the cost to the Province will be compared to the domestic program in order to ensure the most cost effective funding is achieved for the Province. Notes are:

  • Denominated in Canadian or U.S. dollars and issued domestically
  • Book-based form (non-bearer) only
  • Settled through CDS Clearing and Depository Services Inc.
  • Documented under British Columbia law

View the table of outstanding issues.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) Program

The CPPIB Program is an agreement that enables maturing Government of British Columbia securities, which have been privately placed with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, to be reinvested by CPPIB through the further issuance of privately placed replacement securities. Over time, this program will eventually be wound down once all replacement securities have reached their maximum allowable term. Replacement securities are purchased by the CPPIB under the following terms:

  • Final maturity date is limited to 30 years from the maturity date of the originally issued security
  • Includes replacement provisions at time of each security maturity
  • Each replacement term to be no less than 5 years
  • Book-based and issued in Canadian dollars
  • Settled through the Depository Trust Company

View the table of outstanding issues.

Canadian Short Term Promissory Note Program

The Canadian Short Term Promissory Note Program is used for money market financings within Canada. The program is primarily accessed to fulfill short term cash flow requirements of one-year or less. The Province issues short-term promissory notes on a day-to-day basis to participating syndicate members, who then market these same notes to investors. Syndicate members are selected according to a number of criteria such as market distribution capabilities, track record, previous service, reputation and pricing. Notes are:

  • Book-based form (non-bearer) only and issued in Canadian dollars
  • Settled through CDS Clearing and Depository Services Inc.
  • Documented under British Columbia law

View the Canadian Short Term Promissory Note Information Circular (PDF).

International Programs

Australian Medium Term Note Programme

The Australian Medium Term Note Programme enables the Province to borrow in Australian dollar denominated notes which are typically issued in Australia but can also be issued in other countries, with the exception of the United States of America (unless registered under, or exempt from registration requirements, under the United States Securities Act of 1933). When issuing bonds, the Province will sell a specified amount of notes to an underwriting syndicate, who then market the notes to Australia-based investors. Syndicate members are selected according to a number of criteria such as market distribution capabilities, track record, previous service, reputation and pricing. The program is currently limited to a maximum of AUD $3 billion in notes outstanding at any one time. Notes are:

  • Registered uncertificated form and issued in Australian dollars (or other transferable currencies)
  • Primarily settled through Austraclear, Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg
  • May be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange or other stock exchanges as necessary
  • Governed by laws of New South Wales, Australia

View the Australian Medium Term Note memorandum (PDF).

View the table of outstanding issues.

European Debt Issuance Programme

The European Debt Issuance Programme enables the Province to primarily borrow in European markets and issue bonds in a number of international currencies. The program permits syndicated and non-syndicated bond issues which can be tailored to meet specific investor preferences. The program is currently limited to a maximum of USD $6 billion in notes outstanding at any one time. Notes are:

  • Notes (other than exempt notes) will be issued in minimum denominations of €100,000
  • Book-based, bearer or registered form
  • Settled through Euroclear, Clearstream and/or the Depository Trust Company
  • Listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange or other stock exchanges as necessary
  • Documented under British Columbia law

View the European Debt Issuance prospectus (PDF).

View the table of outstanding issues.

U.S. Global Bond Program

Notes issued as U.S. global bonds are done so from a U.S. shelf registration filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This U.S. shelf registration amount is then drawn down, after each U.S. issuance, by the amount of the bond issuance purchased by U.S. investors. As the U.S. shelf registration decreases, it can then be topped-up by filing additional U.S. shelf registrations. U.S. global bonds are primarily issued by the Province when financing a large borrowing requirement. The U.S. global market provides the most cost-effective means of raising funds in terms of 2, 3, 5 and 10-year bonds. At the time of issue, the Province sells a specified amount of notes to a U.S.-based underwriting syndicate, who then market the notes to investors. Notes are:

  • Book-based form (non-bearer) only and typically issued in Canadian or U.S. dollars
  • Settled through the Canadian Depository for Securities, the Depository Trust Company, Clearstream or Euroclear
  • Simultaneously offered for sale in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia
  • Governed by the laws of British Columbia and the laws of Canada applicable in B.C.

View the table of outstanding issues.

U.S. Short Term Commercial Paper Program

The U.S. Commercial Paper Program is used for money market financings in the United States market for terms up to 270 days. The Province sells short-term commercial paper notes on a day-to-day basis to participating syndicate members, who then market these same Notes to investors. Syndicate members are selected according to a number of criteria such as market distribution capabilities, track record, previous service, reputation and pricing. Notes are:

  • Book-based form (non-bearer) only and issued in U.S. dollars
  • Settled through the Depository Trust Company
  • Exempt from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registration

Documented under British Columbia law

View the U.S. Commercial Paper information circular (PDF).

View the U.S. Commercial Paper Limit for B.C. (PDF).

Fiscal Agency Loan Program

Most Crown corporation and agency borrowing is done through the Fiscal Agency Loan Program of the Province. Under this program, the provincial government borrows directly in the capital markets and off-lends the bond proceeds to government or government bodies under the same terms as the bond issuance. The bond financing costs and future payment obligations (interest and principal) for the loan made under the Fiscal Agency Loan Program remain the responsibility of the respective government or government body that borrowed the funds.

The Fiscal Agency Loan Program provides low-cost financing due to the Province's strong credit rating and its ability to leverage this rating to borrow at low interest rates.

Direct Borrowing

In some circumstances, Crown corporations and agencies may borrow directly from lenders. The authority to borrow is provided by the government. In addition to the traditional borrowing methods discussed above, the Province reviews opportunities for alternative financing, such as public-private partnerships (P3), as a means of meeting the growing demand for public infrastructure. One advantage of using alternative methods is that support from taxpayer revenues can be minimized.