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SNC-Lavalin employees pay fine to OIQ over political contributions

Agreement concluded between engineers and ex-engineers of SNC-Lavalin and the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec over illegal political contributions.


SNC-Lavalin's head office in Montreal.   BP/CCE

SNC-Lavalin’s head office in Montreal. BP/CCE

SNC-Lavalin said on May 26 that thie Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ) had reached an agreement with 107 engineers and former engineers of the company who were being investigated for political contributions they made between 1998 and 2010.

The company had “participated and collaborated” in the arrangements that allows the engineers to pay OIQ an amount “in lieu of a fine.” The settlements are confidential.

Reportedly similar arrangements have been made between OIQ and other consulting engineering companies and their employees, and more will occur in the future.

During the Charbonneau Inquiry it emerged that employees of some consulting engineering companies had received bonuses from their employers in return for paying political contributions. Quebec does not allow corporations to pay political donations, since they could influence decisions. The donations involving the SNC-Lavalin staff occurred between 1998 and 2010.

SNC-Lavalin said it continues to work closely with its stakeholders to ensure its business is conducted ethically. The company is determined to set a new standard of ethics and governance in the engineering and construction sector.

Employees are explicitly prohibited from making political contributions on behalf of SNC-Lavalin or in its name, or to use their position within the company to solicit them for the benefit of any political party or candidate in countries and regions where it is illegal to do so. The policy was further updated in July 2014, to now prohibit such political contributions on behalf of SNC-Lavalin even in regions or countries where it is allowed by law, unless express permission is given by three members of the senior management team.

The OIQ said in a statement:  “In its inquiries, the Office of the Syndic found that neither the professional competence nor the diligence of the engineers concerned were at issue. However, according to the Office of the Syndic, these engineers’ participation in a political party funding process involving a refund from their employer constitutes an act derogatory to the honour and dignity of the profession that must be brought to the public’s attention and penalized in order to maintain the transparency required in political contributions.”

To see the company press release, click here. http://www.snclavalin.com/en/news/2016/agreement-engineers-snc-lavalin-syndic-ordre-des-ingenieurs-du-quebec

To read an article in the Montreal Gazette, click here.

To read the OIQ statement, click here.