Montreal recovers $31M in overpayments from companies that admitted collusion

Mayor Valérie Plante says her administration is now planning to sue companies that have colluded and have not participated in Quebec's voluntary reimbursement program.

Funds recovered as part of Quebec's voluntary reimbursement program

Businesses that admit collusion over the last two decades in Quebec have the opportunity to voluntarily repay those illegally acquired funds under a provincial reimbursement program. Montreal has collected $31 million under the program. (Romain Schué/Radio-Canada)

Montreal has recovered $31 million in overpayments from companies that have admitted to collusion under Quebec's voluntary reimbursement program, Radio-Canada has learned.

"We are happy to receive the amounts due to us," Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said. "But what must be reiterated is that, for the City of Montreal, it does not stop there."

The voluntary reimbursement program, which ran from November 2015 to December 2017, allowed companies, such as construction and engineering firms, to repay collusion-related overpayments dating back some two decades.

The program is supposed to be an alternative to lengthy court battles between municipalities and offending companies.

Montreal has managed to collect a total of $31,063,294 — money that was paid unfairly when awarding public contracts.

Plante says her administration is now planning to sue companies that have colluded and have not participated in the reimbursement program. 

"It is our intention to sue those who have decided not to take the opportunity to participate in the voluntary reimbursement program," Plante said. "For us, the money that has been taken from Montrealers must go back to Montrealers."

Under the reimbursement program, the Quebec government collected $95 million from 31 participating companies.

The City of Laval collected $30 million of overpayments dating back to the era of former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt. Approximately $20 million of that was collected from companies that admitted collusion and an additional $9 million was collected from Vaillancourt himself.

Vaillancourt was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016.

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