French-based water multinational Suez is one of the world’s two largest water corporations. It’s also a possible bidder on Canadian water and wastewater privatization contracts. Suez operates in North America through its subsidiaries United Water and Degrémont.

Cities around the world are taking back public control of their water and wastewater services, and Suez has lost major contracts in recent years – including in its home city of Paris, France.

Over the last 15 years, more than 180 communities in 35 countries have taken back control of their water services from private corporations. This trend to remunicipalize is driven by high costs, poor quality and the failure of private corporations like Suez to deliver water services.

To date, Suez has not established a major Canadian presence. A Suez subsidiary was part of a failed P3 bid for a wastewater treatment plant in Halifax. And two Canadian municipalities currently contract out wastewater operations to United Water. But the pressure to privatize municipal water and wastewater services is growing.

This profile of Suez is one of several published jointly by CUPE and the Polaris Institute. The Public risks, private profits series shines a spotlight on water and wastewater services corporations who may be bidding on Canadian P3s.

The profiles provide overviews of corporate structures and governance, lobby activity, past and present P3 contracts, and background on legal troubles or controversies.

The companies being profiled are diverse, ranging from international corporations to smaller Canadian-based financiers and contractors. All have been identified by federal P3 promotion agency PPP Canada as likely bidders on Canadian water and wastewater P3s.

The Public risks, private profits series is an important tool for communities challenging P3s.