Responses to the High Frequency Rail Project Request for Qualifications


In February 2023, Public Services and Procurement Canada launched, on behalf of Transport Canada, a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for the High Frequency Rail (HFR) project. This was a major step in the procurement process that consists of a series of milestones towards selecting a private developer partner who will work collaboratively with VIA HFR to design and develop the High Frequency Rail project.

The purpose of the RFQ was to identify and qualify up to three groups who would be invited to participate in the Request for Proposals process. The objective of this procurement process is to select a private developer partner to work collaboratively with VIA HFR, the newly created subsidiary of VIA Rail, to design and develop the High Frequency Rail project.

The Request for Qualifications provided an updated overview of the High Frequency Rail project, and described:

  1. The procurement process including the evaluation criteria, security requirements, proposal development funding support, and key principles of the deal structure;
  2. The roles and responsibilities of the private developer partner; and
  3. The project outcomes that the private developer partner will be expected to meet or exceed.

Respondents were required to demonstrate a capacity for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples by developing the project to create mutually beneficial, socio-economic development opportunities.

The RFQ closed on April 24, 2023. The Government of Canada evaluated four responses from Canadian and international groups. Three of them have been invited to participate in the next step of the procurement process, the Request for Proposals, which is expected to be launched in September 2023.

Selection of candidates

Public Services and Procurement Canada is committed to ensuring the procurement processes are conducted in an open, fair, and transparent manner.

Therefore, we have engaged a Fairness Monitor to oversee all aspects of the High Frequency Rail procurement. The Fairness Monitor’s duties include, but are not limited to, observing all of the procurement process; providing feedback to Canada on any potential fairness issues; and attesting to the fairness, openness and transparency of the entire procurement process.

Each RFQ response was structured as six packages:

  1. Respondent team composition, structure, governance and experience
  2. Infrastructure development capability and experience
  3. Design capability and experience
  4. Rail operations, commercial management & customer service delivery experience
  5. Experience and approach – working with Indigenous Peoples
  6. Financial capability and experience

Six separate expert evaluation committees, one per package, evaluated each package independently and prepared anonymized evaluation reports.  An Evaluation Review Committee then reviewed the anonymized evaluation reports from all evaluation committees to ensure completeness and consistency.

National security and related risks were assessed and will continue to be assessed throughout the project, and measures to address these risks will be developed. Selection of the chosen private developer partner will depend on several conditions, including national security. 

The results were finalized on an anonymous basis and respondents were informed of the outcome on July 19.

Details of all Respondents to the RFQ phase are available on VIA HFR’s website.


  • CDPQ Infra
  • SNC-Lavalin
  • Systra Canada
  • Keolis Canada

Intercity Rail Developers

  • Intercity Development Partners
  • EllisDon Capital
  • Kilmer Transportation
  • First Rail Holdings
  • Jacobs
  • Hatch
  • CIMA+
  • First Group
  • RATP Dev Canada
  • Renfe Operadora

QConnexiON Rail Partners

  • Fengate
  • John Laing
  • Bechtel
  • WSP Canada
  • Deutsche Bahn
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