Newfoundland and Labrador takes a risky turn toward P3s—warns new report

October 6, 2020

Halifax,NS/St.John’s, NL—A new report released today, Many Dangers of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Newfoundland and Labrador provides evidence about these deals that should make Newfoundlanders and Labradorians very concerned about how their government is making decisions when it comes to spending public revenue. 

Christine Saulnier, author of the report and also the Director of the CCPA in Nova Scotia, says: “First and foremost, residents of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve to be treated as equal partners on any deal that involves building essential public infrastructure. As it stands, commercial confidentiality is being protected at the expense of public transparency. Surely the pandemic has taught us that public control is essential if you want to make urgent decisions about public services and infrastructure and that the risk of entrenching private, for-profit interests into essential health infrastructure is not worth it?” 

Saulnier goes on to say: “Not only will the P3 advantage not be realized, these projects undoubtedly cost more than if they were done the traditional public procurement way. How much more we don’t know and likely will never know, but we estimate at least $294 million more than the $1.5 billion.”

“The province has embarked on a $1.5 billion experiment without incorporating the lessons learned in the rest of Canada about these so-called partnerships. The red flags are numerous and begin with the flawed process of assessing what was in the best interest of the province,” points out Saulnier. 

As Saulnier explains, “The Value for Money assessment process is a closed-door subjective listing and ranking of risks. Then the risks are costed based on the consultant’s proprietary statistical software program, which no outside party can verify. Given that the consultant had a stake in the P3 outcome, it is not surprising that public procurement risks are overplayed, while many risks of using P3s are downplayed.”

“The people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve to know exactly how and why decisions are made, in order for them to assess the decision-making process and hold the government, and these contractors, to account. They must be reassured that their resources are being spent where they are most needed,” concludes Saulnier.


For more information, contact Nova Scotia Director, CCPA, Christine Saulnier, 902-240-0926 (cell) or [email protected]

This report, Many Dangers of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in Newfoundland and Labrador, can be downloaded at:

The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability.