Montreal

Snow-removal company blacklisted by Montreal for charging for service it wasn't providing

Sylvain Choquette inc. will not be allowed to bid on any new municipal contracts for a period of five years after an investigation revealed the company was falsely claiming to have added wooden extensions its dump trucks’ beds to collect more snow.

Company charged for wooden extensions on dump trucks that weren't actually installed camera footage revealed

The ploy consisted of claiming to have added wooden planks around the trucks to transport more snow, Montreal says. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Montreal has added another snow-removal contractor to the city's blacklist after it is was caught charging for a service it wasn't actually providing.

Sylvain Choquette inc. will not be allowed to bid on any new municipal contracts for a period of five years after an investigation revealed the company was falsely claiming to have added wooden extensions its dump trucks' beds to collect more snow.

Montreal councillors made the decision to put the company on the blacklist after tabling a detailed report by the inspector general Tuesday.

The company could charge $136 per hour rather than $111 for providing trucks equipped with the wooden extensions, but inspectors, in monitoring surveillance cameras at the entrance to snow dumps, discovered the extensions were not in place.

The cameras were installed after inspectors caught wind of the ploy and those cameras revealed the trucks did not contain the volume of snow the company was claiming to carry.

Coun. François Parenteau who is in charge of the city's snow-removal file as a member of the executive committee, said the measures, introduced by the previous adminstration under Denis Coderre, are working.

Wooden extensions are added to snow-removal dump trucks so snowblowers can more easily fill the trucks and the tucks can carry more snow. Contractors charge more for the service. (Charles Constant/Radio-Canada)

Another recent city investigation used cameras to prove a contractor was charging for full loads even though the trucks weren't full.

The city announced that discovery in June, cancelling two snow-removal contracts with one company that were worth a total of $9.3 million and, issued in June 2016, were to last four years.

That company, Transport Rosemont, was charging between $172 and $332 per full truckload, depending on the size of the vehicle. 

The contracts were issued by the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough in June 2016 and were to last four years.

A total of 300 of 514 loads analyzed by the inspector were filled to 50 per cent or less during the fifth snow removal operation of the season.

With files from Radio-Canada

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