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Quebec to ask companies to voluntarily repay dishonest gains

The government of Quebec has proposed legislation under Bill 61 that offers construction and engineering companies the opportunity to voluntarily repay any funds that they received through overbilling and other fraudulent practices.


The government of Quebec has proposed legislation under Bill 61 that offers construction and engineering companies the opportunity to voluntarily repay any funds that they received through overbilling and other fraudulent practices.

In an article in the Montreal Gazette, Justice Minister Bertrand St-Arnaud was quoted as saying the government intends to get back “tens, hundreds of millions of dollars” under the plan. The idea is to save the province (and the companies) huge bills in legal fees investigating and fighting corruption charges in court.

Any company that does not voluntarily join the payback scheme would be under threat of prosecution.

The Bill also proposes to extend the usual time limit on civil suits to apply backwards 15 years in order to deal with all the corruption cases emerging from the Charbonneau Commission inquiry.

The opposition Liberal and Coalition Avenir Québec parties have indicated their support of Bill 61.

And on December 2, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Quebec (AICQ) expressed its support of the provisions of Bill 61 as a good initiative to restore confidence in the province’s engineering firms. However they have suggested some adjustments to the proposals. Click here.

Meanwhile Dessau has been reinstated as a company permitted to bid on public contracts by the Quebec Treasury Board. The company, Canada’s sixth largest engineering company that has 4,700 employees in Canada and countries overseas, was allowed back onto the registry after showing the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) that it has reorganized its internal controls to meet the province’s new integrity requirements. In June, Jean-Pierre Sauriol resigned as chief executive officer and president of the company after the Charbonneau Commission heard that the company had issued false invoices.

To read reports in the Montreal Gazette, click here.

And here.