NDP

Auditor General raises concerns about P3 decisions

November 30, 2016


For immediate release.

HALIFAX – The Auditor General criticized the government today for failing to make informed and timely decisions about P3 schools, despite 17 years of lead time. The report also highlights that the province has spent $700 million on P3 schools over the past 20 years, and will need to pay $200 million to purchase all the P3 schools in the province.

“The Auditor General’s comments make it clear what an utter failure Nova Scotia’s experiment with P3 schools has been,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “This report should halt any plans to use the P3 model for schools, hospitals, or other public infrastructure, now or in the future.”

According to the Auditor General, the Department of Education’s process was “completely inadequate” and is creating a situation where “decisions are made without proper analysis.” Delays have also put the government into a weaker negotiating position with the private companies that own the schools and have resulted in higher costs due to contract extensions.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report that found P3 schools did not achieve cost savings and allowed two companies to see $52 million in profits. A 2014 report by Peter Vaughan, Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness also found that private financiers provided only $66 million for the Cobequid Pass, a P3 project, while highway users have paid more than $300 million in tolls.

“Parents and communities deserve answers from the Minister of Education about why the Liberal government has failed to take timely action on P3 schools,” said NDP Education Critic Lenore Zann. “It was a Liberal government that brought in the P3 school model 20 years ago and, now, we’re dealing with another Liberal government that is failing to make informed decisions about how to move forward.”

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For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.