North Battleford hospital P3 agreement will not be affected despite liquidation of British firm

A British company that is part of a P3 agreement with the Saskatchewan government to build and maintain a new hospital in North Battleford has gone into liquidation.

Carillion Canada says operations will continue uninterrupted after Carillion PLC's collapse

The company in charge of maintenance for the new North Battleford hospital has gone into liquidation. (Saskatchewan Health Authority)

A British company that is part of a P3 agreement with the Saskatchewan government to build and maintain a new hospital in North Battleford has gone into liquidation, but its Canadian operations will carry on.

In a statement released Monday, Carillion PLC, which employs more than 6,000 people in Canada, said it had no choice but to liquidate.

However, Carillion Canada said in a statement to CBC on Tuesday that it is not in liquidation and operations will continue uninterrupted. 

"Our employees, subcontractors and suppliers in Canada continue to be paid and we continue to focus on delivering safe, quality services. The Canadian leadership team is currently assessing the impact to the Canadian business," the statement said. 

Carillion PLC has been struggling to reorganize amid debts of $1.24 billion and a similar pension deficit. Carillion's share price has plunged 70 per cent in the past six months.

According to SaskBuilds, which is organizing the North Battleford project on behalf of the government, construction and completion of the hospital will not be affected by this announcement.

Construction of the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford (SHNB) began in 2015 and is scheduled for completion this spring.

SaskBuilds director Lisa Danyluk said the Government of Saskatchewan's $407-million contract to build the 284-bed mental health facility, which will include 96 secure beds to be used by incarcerated patients, is with Access Prairie Partners (APP), which includes six companies.

APP had designated Carillion to be the company that would provide facility maintenance in the 30 years following the project's completion. APP will be tasked with finding a replacement.

"We know that APP is aware of Carillion's situation, and they have committed to keeping the government informed as they work through it to ensure that maintenance services will be in place for SHNB with no additional cost or delay," Danyluk said in an emailed statement.

If a maintenance provider is not in place in time, APP will face "significant financial penalties."

This isn't the first time the hospital project has faced bumps in the road.

Construction crews at the site had to tear down exterior bricks and cladding to remove and replace insulation in the walls in October 2017.

At the time, Danyluk told CBC said the contractor building the hospital found a manufacturing issue with "shrinkage."

With files from The Associated Press