Following an article published in La Presse, SNC-Lavalin issued a press release on March 11 refuting the "misinformation" written in the newspaper about its contract to manage hundreds of federal buildings.
The press release said "In effect, the author of the article chose to ignore many important facts which were explained to him. If they had been included in the article, they would have clearly demonstrated that SNC-Lavalin's rates are absolutely consistent with the going market price for these types of services."
The La Presse article had criticized the amounts SNC-Lavalin Operations and Maintenance had charged the Canadian government for items like office cleaning offices, installing a new doorbell, and supplying and maintaining plants.
Part of SNC-Lavalin's press release explained:
"The federal buildings maintenance contract was specifically tailored to align with the government's objective to save taxpayers money while offering quality services. SNC-Lavalin is proud to have realized substantial savings of about $50 million annually for the client since the contract was awarded following a call for tenders for this property management contract for 320 federal buildings. Moreover, SNC-Lavalin's Operations and Maintenance (O&M) division has also reduced energy costs for these buildings by $2.1 million annually.
"By virtue of the volume of work SNC-Lavalin O&M manages, it has also been able to obtain very competitive prices and rates from suppliers through economies of scale thus transferring these savings to the Government and ultimately, Canadian taxpayers.
"Certain numbers mentioned in the La Presse article may appear to be high, but it should be noted that they cannot be compared to residential rates. For one thing, there are laws, conventions and regulations that apply to various trades for work carried out in commercial buildings that must be respected."
As specific examples of "just how much information is missing in the article," SNC-Lavalin included:
"Maintenance costs for the cleaning of two offices of $36,000 a year: these costs, in reality, cover the daily cleaning of two floors of the building, with a total of 22 enclosed offices, two common areas, two kitchens and two complete washrooms, which together add up to 1,500 square metres.
"A new doorbell that cost $1000: this required the installation of a current-reduction transformer, the opening and repair of part of a wall in order to install an electric panel, electrical conduit and wiring, extending more than 12 metres from the doorbell."
Finally, SNC-Lavalin pointed out that it had undergone 170 satisfactory annual audits by organizations such as Public Works and Government Services Canada since it began its operations and maintenance contract.