Amid yet another tumultuous year of snow removal on Muskoka’s highways, Muskoka411.com spoke to an employee of Carillion Canada Inc. on the condition of anonymity, who expressed frustration at the way the company has been operating.
This sentiment is apparently shared throughout the ranks of the company that is responsible for snow removal on Highways 11 and 400 through Muskoka, Parry Sound and Haliburton.
“Our patrol yard doesn’t have enough trucks to keep the highways safe,” said the employee when asked about the availability of equipment. “The majority are broken down and we can’t get any repairs done, since no one will work on them because they’re afraid of not getting paid for the work they do.”
Carillion’s contract with Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation is reported to be worth $87 million per year. This past fall, the MTO announced that it had mutually agreed to end the arrangement as of September 1, 2018, five years before it was due to expire in 2023. Bracebridge’s Fowler Construction will assume highway maintenance duties for the region as of that date.
“We’re being told from our supervisors to just park the trucks and carry on with what we have,” the employee told Muskoka 411. “It bothers me, but there’s nothing we can do.”
In 2014, the British-based company, which employs over 6,000 people in Canada, was fined $900,000 by the Province of Ontario after it was late to deploy snow-clearing equipment. It was again under investigation just last year for failing to adequately salt the highways after a January 2017 storm.
“I just want the motoring public to understand that it is not the workers fault but management out of the main office that has curtailed having equipment fixed,” said the employee.
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