Montreal

Deadline approaches for Quebec companies to repay collusion cash

The window is closing for companies suspected of being involved in collusion to take part in Quebec's voluntary repayment program.

Enterprises have until Nov. 1 to voluntarily hand over money

A total of eight companies have stated their intention to take part in the voluntary program. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The window is closing for companies suspected of being involved in collusion to take part in Quebec's voluntary repayment program. 

The Quebec government launched the program about a year ago to recover money from companies that have defrauded taxpayers on public contracts over the past two decades.

Enterprises and individuals have until Nov. 1 to file a notice of intention to repay with the provincial body.

François Rolland, the director of the Voluntary Reimbursement Program, said he's pleased with the results of the program so far. 

A total of eight companies, including SNC-Lavalin, Dessau and Construction Frank Catania and Associates Inc., have already stated publicly their intention to take part.

Rolland said the companies that don't participate in the voluntary recovery program are open to lawsuits and could face stiff penalties.

"The directors of these companies are personally liable," he added. 

"So if I were a director, and I was there at the time and they don't settle, I wouldn't sleep that well."

Under a law passed unanimously in the National Assembly in March 2015, companies that do not come forward with the cash could also be refused the right to bid on future contracts with Montreal.

Once the program ends in November 2017, all the companies that participated will be made public.

with files from Elias Abboud

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