Government & policy
Quebec mulls financing model for
MONTREAL – The Quebec government is
reconsidering whether to build its upcoming superhospitals as
public-private partnerships, something it announced it would do three
The so-called superhospitals, one to be built by the McGill University
Health Centre (MUHC) and the other by the Centre hospitalier de
l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), are designed to supercede much of the
aging infrastructure in which the hospitals currently operate.
The two projects are expected to cost $4.7 billion – about $1.6 billion
more than originally forecasted. The MUHC project at the Glen Yard is
expected to be completed by 2013-14 and the CHUM work by 2018.
It appears the government is now having second thoughts about running
the projects as public-private partnerships. “For the government, PPPs
are not a religion,” said Marie-Ève Bédard, Health Minister Yves
Bolduc’s press attaché, referring to public-private partnerships.
“The PPP mode is a tool that we could use to carry out large-scale
projects,” Bédard told the Montreal Gazette. “However, the economic
context has evolved a lot and it’s possible that it won’t be the best
Under a PPP, a private partner builds and maintains a public facility
for 20 to 30 years, leasing it back to the government. The private
consortium raises the funds for the project and assumes the risk of cost
But critics claim that PPPs end up costing taxpayers tens of millions of
dollars more in the long run.
Two consortia are competing for the contract to build and maintain the
planned hospital of the McGill University Health Centre on the site of
the Glen Yard straddling Westmount and Notre Dame de Grâce.
Also, two other consortia are bidding for the contract to construct and
maintain the future home of the Centre hospitalier de l’université de
Montréal, next to St. Luc Hospital.
According to the Gazette, the four consortia are to submit their
proposals to the government in the coming months. The winning bid for
the MUHC project is to be chosen by December, and for the CHUM soon
In a statement, Arthur Porter, executive director of the MUHC, said
committees will be spending the next few weeks evaluating the bids.
“Imagine hundreds of days of concerted effort by members of the MUHC and
the two outstanding international consortia, not to mention boxes upon
boxes of design and technical-specification documents for the Glen
campus, and realize you would only be seeing the tip of the iceberg!”
Posted Sept. 24/09