After Carillion collapse, leaders call for services to be made public again

Snowplowing

After the collapse of the worldwide privatization giant Carillion, political and public service leaders from Ontario and around the world are calling for its services to be brought back under public management and control.

"Carillion was a mess, and its sudden demise puts services, workers, and the public at needless risk," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a news release. "We have to protect ourselves from privatization disasters like this by bringing these services back in-house."

In the release, Thomas points out Carillion's long track-record of problems in Ontario:

  • In 2004, Carillion led the privatized design and construction of the William Osler Health Centre, which the Ontario Auditor General later said cost us a half-billion too much.
  • In 2014, the company was fined $900,000 for failing to fulfil its contractual duties in highway maintenance.
  • In 2016, the company pleaded guilty to illegally dumping oil and toxic paint coating.
  • In 2017, the corporation abandoned its snowplowing contract in the Huntsville area after a string of complaints from the public.

"I'm demanding that our government face these facts and begin bringing privatized services back under public management, where they belong," Thomas said.

In the UK,where Carillion is based, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called the collapse a "watershed moment."

"It's time to put an end to 'rip-off' privatization policies," Corbyn said in a video statement. "“It’s time we took back control. We not only need to guarantee the public sector takes over the work Carillion was contracted to do – but go much further and end contracts where costs spiral, profits soar and services are hollowed out."

Here in Ontario, Postmedia reports in the article Fears Over Ontario Highway Safety after Carillion placed in liquidation, that the provincial government paid Carillion more than $125 million for highway snowplowing services last year.

Ontario transportation minister Steven Del Duca told Postmedia that for the future of snowplowing, all options are being considered.