Court approves sale of Carillion Canada’s highway maintenance contracts for Alberta, Ontario

A Carillion Canada snowplow clearing Highway 44 in Rivière Qui Barre, Alta. on Monday, January 9, 2016 after a snowfall. Courtesy: Henry Kieftenbeld

It’s a deal that wasn’t struck without controversy but on Thursday the Alberta government announced an Ontario court has approved the sale of its highway maintenance contracts as well as Ontario’s as the firm that had been doing the work, Carillion Canada, is now under creditor protection.

In a news release, Alberta Transportation said Emcon Services Inc. can now assume Carillion Canada’s highway maintenance contracts.

“The agreement will ensure that highway maintenance in Carillion’s former contract areas will not be interrupted,”said Brian Mason, Alberta’s transportation minister. “This sale represents the best way forward to maintain safe and reliable Alberta roads, and was the most cost-effective option considered by government.”

Earlier this month, the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association voiced its concerns about the contracts being sold to Emcon, a B.C.-based firm. The association said Alberta firms should be given a chance to do the work. The contracts run to 2022 or 2023.

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READ MORE: Alberta government and roadbuilders feud over $500M deal

In a statement on Thursday, Mason suggested he was confident that Emcon is the right contractor to take over the work.

“Emcon has 30 years of providing contracted highway maintenance, and will work hard to ensure a safe and dependable highway network for Albertans,” he said. “This move will also create new jobs in Alberta. We’re hiring 10 to 12 mechanics and mechanical apprentices and between 60 and 80 new winter equipment operators.”

Emcon’s president, Frank Rizzardo, said his company is “committed to keeping all current Carillion staff” and plans to work with the same labour agreements Carillion did.

The deal is expected to see Emcon take over maintenance of 40 per cent of Alberta’s roads over the next few years.

READ MORE: Government makes ‘additional $3.1M available’ to financially troubled Carillion to maintain Alberta highways

Pieces of Carillion Canada, meanwhile, have already been sold off. In recent months, the Alberta government had made millions of additional dollars available to the company to ensure highway maintenance would not be interrupted.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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