Criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin does not jeopardize 9,000 jobs: analyst
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his former principal secretary Gerald Butts have shared concerns that a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin could jeopardize 9,000 jobs, but a construction industry analyst says any impacted employees would easily find work.
Andrew Macklin, editor of the magazine ReNew Canada, says other engineering companies would quickly snatch up the affected workers.
“Just because SNC-Lavalin would be removed from the equation doesn’t mean that the record investments in infrastructure go away or that we don’t need the 9,000 people to do that work,” Macklin told CTV’s Power Play on Friday.
A criminal conviction in the SNC-Lavalin case could potentially mean a 10-year ban for the Montreal-based giant on bidding on federal infrastructure projects.
But Macklin said there is a skills shortage in the construction and infrastructure industry, so SNC-Lavalin’s workers would be in high demand.
“Without question those 9,000 jobs are needed right here on Canadian soil,” Macklin said.
Macklin explained that ReNew ranks the 100 biggest public infrastructure projects each year and that there are 15 to 18 companies that are similarly large players to SNC-Lavalin. They each work on 20 or more top-100 projects at any given time.
Not only could those other companies potentially take on SNC-Lavalin’s workers, but SNC-Lavalin might not even need to leave Canada, considering that there aren’t expected to be many big federal projects to bid on over the next decade.
“What does the federal government infrastructure pipeline look like for the next 10 years as far as major projects are concerned?” Macklin said.
“Really, when you look at the number of multi-billion-dollar projects procured over the next decade, we’re talking probably realistically something in the four to six range of projects,” he said.
“So, without question, losing the ability to bid on federal contracts would be a hit ... but it wouldn’t be the end of the world should they be able to work with other companies in provinces across Canada.”