The Alberta Government has come to the rescue of Carillion Canada, which looks after close to half the highways in the province.
"They were losing money on the contract, they were being subsidized by their British company and that, of course, is no longer available since it's in receivership," explained Transportation Minister Brian Mason. "In order to allow them to pay for the supplies they need, the gravel and sand and to pay their workers, we've provided them with $8.9 million."
"The problem we had was how can we keep a company that has about 40 per cent of the roads in Alberta continuing to operate and fulfill its obligations to keep our roads safe during the unpredictable weather in Alberta winter and spring."
The money will go to pay Carillion's expenses through the end of April as well as cover outstanding amounts owed to vendors which were incurred over the winter. Auditors have been appointed to make sure that none of it goes to profit.
Mason said the government really didn't have a choice, as no other road maintenance companies were able to take over the work on short notice.
"They have about 300 plows, they have facilities around their area and they have nearly half of the province's highways, so nobody's able to just step in and do that on short notice," he stated.
Mason said a clause in its agreement with Carillion Canada allows the Alberta Government to cancel the contracts at any time and the focus now is on finding a long-term solution.