“This is a clear sign that privatization doesn’t work. It’s ineffective. It’s overpriced. And as we’re learning today, it’s totally unreliable. This is another example of failed privatization taking more money out of the pockets of Ontarians." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (17 Jan. 2017) — In the wake of the surprise collapse of the UK-based multinational Carillion, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), is calling on the provincial government to put the privatized services that Carillion delivered back into the hands of professional and qualified public service workers.
Failure of Carillion an example of why privatizing public services doesn't work
“This is a clear sign that privatization doesn’t work,” says Thomas. “It’s ineffective. It’s overpriced. And as we’re learning today, it’s totally unreliable. This is another example of failed privatization taking more money out of the pockets of Ontarians."
“I’m demanding that our government face these facts and begin bringing privatized services back under public management, where they belong,” Thomas says. “Here in Ontario, let’s start with services Carillion had been providing — we clearly can’t count on them anymore.”
Before its collapse, the Ontario government had privatized a variety of services to Carillion, including maintenance services at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and the snowplowing of significant stretches of the 400-series highways and rural highways. Even before this week’s collapse, Carillion’s track record in Ontario has been poor:
- 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 and coating.
- Late last year, the corporation abandoned its snowplowing contract in the Huntsville area after a string of complaints from the public.
Public at risk with privatizition
“Carillion was a mess, but its sudden demise puts services, workers, and the public at needless risk,” said Thomas. “We have to protect ourselves from privatization disasters like this by bringing these services back in-house."
“Remember: Carillion isn’t the only large corporation providing privatized public services in Ontario,” Thomas added. “It’s time for us to look at all of those contracts and ask ourselves if they’re worth the risk.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE