Adlair Aviation's $31.5M lawsuit over Nunavut medevac contract continues

Court proceedings are moving forward in a $31.5 million lawsuit against the Government of Nunavut and a Cambridge Bay charter company.

Hearing being scheduled for early December

Court proceedings are moving forward in a $31.5 million lawsuit by Adlair Aviation against the Government of Nunavut over the loss of a medevac contract.

Adlair Aviation is suing for general damages, loss of profit and temporarily shutting down its business after its bid for a five-year air ambulance contract to service the Kitikmeot region in 2011 was unsuccessful.

The contract was awarded to Aqsaqniq Airways, a partner of Yellowknife-based Air Tindi, which is owned by Discovery Air out of London, Ont.

Adlair Aviation appealed the decision in August 2011, arguing no bid adjustments were made under the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti (NNI) policy. The policy is meant to ensure Inuit-owned firms, Nunavut-based businesses and local businesses are given preference when awarding government contracts.

That appeal was dismissed by the NNI Contracting Appeals Board and in December 2012, Adlair Aviation filed a lawsuit against the territory.

Last week the case was back in an Iqaluit court.

A hearing is currently being scheduled for sometime in early December, according to lawyers involved with the lawsuit.

Disputed contract

Adlair Aviation had been under contract with the Government of Nunavut to provide air ambulance service in the Kitikmeot region since 2002 and prior to that, had been operating medevac flights in the region for decades.

In a statement of claim, Adlair Aviation names the Government of Nunavut and the territory's senior manager of procurement and logistics, Mark McCulloch.

It says no bid adjustments were made.

​It also says Aqsaqniq Airways was "unable to establish a base and aircraft based at Cambridge Bay, causing critical delays in their air ambulance service leading to delays in medical treatment and death of patients."

​"Adlair Aviation and [owner] Rene Laserich is far more concerned of the service that's been lost in Cambridge Bay and the lives that are at risk in Cambridge Bay than he is about the money," said Adlair Aviation's lawyer Ed Brogden.