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As the Quebec government pushes ahead with a sweeping P3 agenda, theres new evidence that the schemes will cost taxpayers dearly. Analysis of plans for a Quebec City long-term care facility show that it will cost $14.4 million more as a P3 than it would as a public project.

The revelations are in a government-commissioned study obtained under access to information laws and released by CUPE Quebec and the FTQ. The study is an independent analysis of P3 and public construction options to relocate the Rs0069dence Saint-Charles. If the facility is built and operated as a P3, each of the residences 132 beds will cost $110,000 more over the life of the 25-year deal. Extend that to the provinces plans to build between 3,000 and 5,000 long-term care spaces as P3s, and the added costs of a private sector involvement balloon to $550 million.

The documents also provide a telling glimpse into the impact of P3s on the quality of facilities. The P3 plan includes a 20 per cent cut in construction costs, which the unions say will inevitably lead to corners being cut on lower-quality materials or less-spacious buildings. Thats a long way from government promises that P3 constructions would be better quality than public projects but its par for the P3 course. Shoddy construction and lower standards have plagued British P3 hospitals.

The report shows that the apparent advantage of a P3 is founded on the unlikely assumption that the private sector will accept a 5 per cent rate of return far lower than the 15 to 20 per cent profits the privateers generally demand.

CUPE is demanding that the governments newly-created P3 agency release all documents analyzing P3 projects to the public. Visit www.scfp.qc.ca for more details on the Rs0069dence Saint-Charles documents, and CUPE Quebecs campaign against P3s.