UPAC visited Terrebonne again

The City of Terrebonne is grappling with allegations of conflict of interest related to the largest contract in its history. The firm advising her for this $100 million project has the same owners as one of the companies carrying out the work.

Four years after handcuffing former mayor Jean-Marc Robitaille, the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) is back in Terrebonne. She recently had to look into the issue of the future wastewater treatment plant for this city on the northern shore of Montreal, which has 120,000 inhabitants.


Former mayor Jean-Marc Robitaille was arrested following a UPAC investigation in 2018. He finally obtained a stay of proceedings due to the breaches of the Crown and the police.

Photo d’archives, Martin Alarie

Former mayor Jean-Marc Robitaille was arrested following a UPAC investigation in 2018. He finally obtained a stay of proceedings due to the breaches of the Crown and the police.

The contract, which was awarded last fall, led to several complaints, so much so that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MAMH) had to put the project on hold for a few months.

At the heart of the controversy: the firm FNX-Innov was mandated by Terrebonne in the first half of 2021 to draft the calls for tenders, analyze the bids and monitor the work to come.

However, while FNX-Innov was analyzing the bids, it was part of a group that was looking to buy Allen Entrepreneur Général, who will do part of the work (see timeline below).

The acquisition was finally completed last March, so that the watchdog of the City of Terrebonne and its taxpayers (FNX-Innov) is now the sister company of one of the firms (Allen Entrepreneur Général) that works on site.

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Work began after the Public Procurement Authority (AMP) gave the green light. UPAC spokesman Mathieu Galarneau said his organization “gives its opinion” to AMP regarding potential conflicts of interest, but would not elaborate on the advice it gives. .

The administration of the mayor of Terrebonne, Mathieu Traversy, maintains that he only learned of the links between the two firms in December 2021, when the contract was already awarded.


The mayor of Terrebonne, Mathieu Traversy, ensures that discussions are underway with the firms involved in the project to avoid a conflict of interest.

Photo archives, Jean-François Cloutier

The mayor of Terrebonne, Mathieu Traversy, ensures that discussions are underway with the firms involved in the project to avoid a conflict of interest.

“The mayor takes the situation very seriously and discussions are underway between the City and the company advising it [FNX-Innov] in order to avoid any conflict of interest”, told us its press attaché, Véronik Gravel, without wanting to specify the measures that could be taken.

The links are so important between the supervisor and one of the performers that the boards of directors of the two companies are occupied by the same two people.

One of them, Pierre-Yves Méthot, recognized this fact. He explained that it is “because we are the owners”.

Mr. Méthot claims to have been transparent with the City in this matter from the start.

“One day, I will receive instructions from the administration [Terrebonne], then they will tell us here is what needs to be done. »

Construction work on the Terrebonne water treatment plant should be completed next year. In particular, the plant will solve the problem of wastewater odors and facilitate urban, commercial and industrial development.

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COMPLAINTS AND INVESTIGATION

May 19, 2021

Terrebonne calls for tenders for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant.

Summer 2021

While the call for tenders is open, FNX-Innov, the firm advising the City, is part of a group negotiating the acquisition of Allen Entrepreneur Général inc.

October 4, 2021


Municipal Council March 18, 2019

Courtesy YouTube City of Terrebonne

During an extraordinary session of the municipal council, the last before the municipal election of November 7, the administration of the mayor Marc-Andre Plante awards the contract to CRT Construction inc. for more than $103 million.

One of the subcontractors who will carry out the work is Allen Entrepreneur Général inc.

November 7, 2021

Mathieu Traversy is elected mayor of Terrebonne.

December 9, 2021

Magil-Tisseur, a firm whose bid had been disqualified, is sending complaints to UPAC, AMP, the ministry, the Municipal Integrity and Investigations Commissioner (CIME) and the City of Terrebonne.

A conflict of interest between FNX-Innov and Allen Entrepreneur Général is alleged, among other things, because of the acquisition talks then in progress.

14 mars 2022

Terrebonne receives a letter from the AMP announcing that no breach has been detected “in the normative framework” in the awarding of the contract.

Neither the AMP nor the UPAC wanted to tell us if the question of the alleged conflict of interest had been studied.

21 mars 2022

FNX-Innov announces that Allen Entrepreneur Général has been acquired.

28 mars 2022

Beginning of the roadworks.

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