Trudeau Taps Former Pension Chief Sabia as Top Finance Official

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Michael Sabia, former chief executive officer at Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, as the top bureaucrat at Canada’s finance department.

The appointment is effective Dec. 14, according to a statement Monday from the prime minister’s office. Sabia’s predecessor in the role announced his decision to retire last week after Trudeau’s government detailed a budget deficit this fiscal year of C$381.6 billion ($298 billion), or 17.5% of gross domestic product.

Trudeau Taps Former Pension Chief Sabia as Top Finance Official

The deputy finance minister is the country’s third-highest ranking policy maker on economic matters, after the finance minister and Bank of Canada governor. Maclean’s magazine first reported news of the appointment Sunday night.

Sabia will be tasked with helping put together a post-pandemic stimulus package worth as much as C$100 billion. The funding was promised by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in her first fiscal update since taking the reins from Bill Morneau, who resigned in August after a public rift with Trudeau.

Sabia stepped down as head of the Caisse -- Canada’s second-largest institutional investor, with C$333 billion in assets under management as of June 30 -- earlier this year, before taking over as chairman of the state-run Canada Infrastructure Bank in April.

He has been an aide on economic policy issues for Trudeau’s government since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and was chief executive officer at BCE Inc., the nation’s biggest telecommunications company, from 2002 until 2008.

Paul Rochon, the outgoing deputy minister, will become a senior official at the Privy Council Office, Trudeau’s office said.

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