CUPE represents more than 590,000 workers in Canada including 110,000 in British Columbia. More than half of CUPE’s members work in the local government sector. CUPE has considerable experience with the funding, development and operation of public infrastructure. The union has undertaken extensive research on privatization and the impacts of contracting out and P3s on public services and facilities.

In 2006, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) chose not to enter into a public-private partnership to upgrade and operate its wastewater treatment facility. The decision has since allowed the RMOW to respond efficiently to economic contingencies, and implement creative and sustainable technologies. It has also proven to be comparatively cost-effective. More important, in choosing to keep wastewater treatment public, councilors voted in favour of accountability, transparency, upholding their responsibility to the electorate. This report examines why the proposed P3 failed and explains why regular public procurement was a better option.