The P3 model that’s triggered a police probe at a Montreal university is spreading to other Quebec campuses, according to a new report.
The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) study says public-private real estate schemes on two other campuses are similar to a disastrous deal at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
The report found that the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) bears all the risk for an on-campus P3 development, including guaranteeing the private corporation’s mortgage payments. The deal has no safeguards if the corporation goes bankrupt. The Université du Québec en Outaouais is using the UQAR model for a project on its St-Jérôme campus.
The UQAR’s Lévis development includes plans for commercial tenants, mirroring the structure of UQAM’s Îlot Voyageur fiasco. The Montreal scheme is under police investigation following a scathing report from the provincial auditor.
The report says UQAR has abdicated its role as a good employer by contracting out well-paying jobs related to the P3 development.
The authors conclude the Quebec government’s campaign of underfunding and forced competition between institutions could push more universities into privatized real estate and financial arrangements that undermine their basic mission.