Government of Canada announces appointment of new Chief Executive Officer to Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, June 19, 2023 — Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced the appointment of Charl van Niekerk to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), the Crown corporation responsible for the delivery of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

Mr. van Niekerk recently held the position of Executive Vice President – Transportation at Infrastructure Ontario and brings a wealth of experience in infrastructure planning and delivery, asset management, and operational management in the public and private sectors. Mr. van Niekerk has gained significant experience overseeing the delivery of complex provincial highway, subway, and rail projects, including the successful delivery of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway that connects to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. Globally, he has an extensive leadership background in the construction, operations, and engineering industry.

Mr. van Niekerk was appointed in accordance with the Government of Canada’s open, transparent, and merit-based selection process. He will assume his new responsibilities starting July 25.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge will support economic growth by improving connections between Canada and the U.S. and enabling the continuous flow of people and goods through a safe, secure, and efficient Windsor-Detroit corridor.

By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities, and improving the lives of Canadians. 


“I am pleased to welcome Mr. van Niekerk as Chief Executive Officer of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. Mr. van Niekerk’s leadership, knowledge, and expertise will be an asset in ensuring the successful completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, which is vital to Canada’s economic prosperity.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan is being delivered through a public-private partnership by WDBA, a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation. WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing. WDBA works closely with the International Authority, which includes members from Michigan and Canada in support of the Crossing Agreement.

  • WDBA is led by the CEO and governed by a Board of Directors responsible for overseeing the business activities of WDBA, engagement with key stakeholders, as well as management and delivery of the project. The Board of Directors, led by Chair Tim Murphy, is composed of up to nine members. 

  • The Gordie Howe International Bridge is a $5.7 billion generational mega project comprising multiple components, including what will be the longest cable stay bridge in North America; the largest Canadian Port of Entry along the Canada-United States border; a United States Port of Entry – one of the largest in North America; the Michigan Interstate 75 Interchange; and approach bridges on both sides of the border. Once constructed, the bridge will provide an uninterrupted, highway-to-highway transportation route from Montreal to Mexico with direct connections between Ontario’s Highway 401 and Michigan’s Interstate 75. 

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
(343) 574-8116

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154
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