REGINA – With the announcement of a selected contractor team to build nine joint-use schools as a public-private partnership (P3), CUPE is calling for greater transparency surrounding the costly P3 process.
“We have significant concerns about accountability and transparency when it comes to P3s and other forms of privatization,” said Tom Graham, President of CUPE Saskatchewan. “The government has said they will not share the contracts and the full price tag of P3 schools with the public until negotiations are complete, but the public deserves to know the costs upfront.”
Earlier this month, the calculations used by SaskBuilds to justify proceeding with P3s came under fire from the provincial auditor. Furthermore, briefing notes obtained through Access to Information requests revealed that the Ministry of Education previously determined: “P3s are an expensive public procurement approach because they involve higher interest rates, a more expensive bidding process, third party advisors and a profit margin”.
“Across the country, we have seen many examples of the problems associated with P3s,” said Graham. “Nova Scotia’s provincial auditor found that its 39 P3 schools cost $32 million more than if they had been built publicly. In Alberta, the Calgary School Board opted out of the P3 process because the conventional way would be built faster.”
CUPE is calling on the government to demonstrate transparency and accountability by disclosing all contracts and costs related to public-private partnerships.
For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Nathan Markwart, Executive Assistant, CUPE Saskatchewan
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