By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 18 2018
While Carillion PLC the British base of the multinational company responsible for the maintenance of provincial highways 35 and 118 through Haliburton County is collapsing a spokesperson for Carillion Canada says the Canadian arm of the company is not being liquidated.
Based in the United Kingdom Carillion employs 43000 people worldwide; 20000 in the U.K. and another 23000 abroad including in Canada the Middle East and the Caribbean. Carillon Canada employs about 6000 people.
According to a story in the Toronto Star earlier this week “Carillion has been struggling to reorganize for the past six months amid debts of about 900 million pounds ($1.54 billion) and a pension deficit of 590 million pounds. Carillion’s share price has plunged 70 per cent in the last six months.”
After failed attempts to attain a British government bailout the company is liquidating its assets.
However a spokesperson for Carillion Canada told the paper the Canadian arm of the company is continuing to operate.
“On Jan. 15 2018 Carillion PLC announced that it has been unable to achieve a restructuring and as a result Carillion PLC and certain subsidiaries have been placed into compulsory liquidation” reads an email from Cody Johnstone assistant communications manager for Carillion Canada.
“However Carillion’s Canadian operations are not in liquidation and continue uninterrupted. Our employees subcontractors and suppliers in Canada continue to be paid and we remain committed to delivering safe quality services for our clients. Our Canadian leadership is currently assessing the situation and working with stakeholders to ensure continuity of operations.”
Staff with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation have been meeting with Carillion representatives and ministry communications staff told the paper the ministry is committed to making sure highways remain clear.
“The Ministry of Transportation has met with Carillion Canada today [Jan. 15] and they have advised us that winter maintenance services are continuing uninterrupted at this time” reads an email from Lara Cantin regional issues and media adviser for the MTO’s northeastern region.
“Regardless MTO is continuing to look at all of its options should this situation change. We will be meeting with Carillion Canada throughout this week and we will continue to provide updates to the travelling public as they become available.”
After years of complaints about dangerous winter highway conditions the province announced last fall it was terminating a 12-year contract with Carillion for the Huntsville district. That contract began in 2012.
The company is scheduled to continue maintenance until Sept. 1 of this year when a new seven-year contract will begin with Muskoka-based Fowler Construction.
Fowler had previously held the contract for the area subcontracting snow removal services to local companies.
Regardless of what unfolds with Carillion Cantin indicated the ministry will ensure highways are plowed.
“The safety of the travelling public in Ontario is our highest priority” she wrote. “We are actively exploring options to make sure Ontarians will continue to receive the winter maintenance that they both expect and deserve – regardless of what is happening overseas with Carillion U.K.”
Carillion was fined $900000 in 2015 for shoddy clearing of the QEW following two snowstorms.
In 2016 it was fined $80000 for depositing waste on a Muskoka property that was not a ministry-approved waste disposal site.