public works construction

Legal action launched over Alberta road contracts

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Five Alberta companies are taking legal action over the Alberta Transportation’s deal with Emcon Services Inc., which will be assuming the highway maintenance contracts in Alberta and Ontario as a result of a sale by Carillion Canada.

Alberta Highway Services Ltd., Carmacks Maintenance Services Ltd., LaPrairie Works Inc., Ledcor Highways Ltd. and Volker Stevin Highways Ltd. currently maintain Alberta’s provincial highways. They have retained legal counsel (Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP) and filed an application with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.

The court application requests judicial review of the Government of Alberta’s role in the agreement that was announced by the Alberta Minister of Transportation on July 26, 2018. The agreement in question assigns highway maintenance contracts covering 40 per cent of Alberta highways to Emcon Services, a B.C. company. Emcon was reportedly granted better terms than those of the previous owner of the contracts, Carillion Canada.

As Carillion is under creditor protection, its assets were sold as part of a court supervised process in Ontario. Carillion’s Alberta and Ontario road maintenance contracts were marketed as a single package of assets.

The group’s smaller members were thereby shut out because they operate today only in Alberta, while larger members were blocked by the Minister’s own rules around reducing the number of maintenance contracts that any one firm can hold in Alberta.

The group is asking the court to review whether the Alberta Minister of Transportation, Brian Mason, violated his government’s legal requirements by granting contractual concessions and extensions in favour of one company, effectively sole-sourcing contracts worth over half a billion dollars of public money over several years.

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