Four 100-bed mobile hospital units are currently lying fallow in an Ottawa storage facility, despite the growing need for them lately due to Omicron.
Perhaps equally alarming is that $300 million was allocated to this project, and that it was originally intended to produce a total of 15 mobile hospitals.
According to the Globe and Mail, "The federal government gave a sole-sourced contract of up to $150-million to a joint venture between SNC-Lavalin and Pacific Architects and Engineers (SNC-PAE) in April, 2020, to build five mobile respiratory-care hospitals that can be set up in existing structures such as conference centres and indoor skating arenas."
SNC-Lavalin has been a company rocked by scandal in recent years. It was brought to trial for corruption in 2019, and then just as recently as Sept 2021, the company itself and two of its former executives were all charged with fraud, forgery and conspiracy.
The Globe and Mail goes on to report: "A similar multimillion-dollar contract went to Weatherhaven Global Resources Ltd. for 10 stand-alone field hospitals that can be deployed either in urban or remote areas."
It appears that, as of the time of this writing, the SNC-PAE collaboration has only delivered one unit out of the five required, although they have received $71 million in payment. Weatherhaven has delivered three out of the 10 units stipulated in their contract.
It is also quite possible that the extra capacity would be moot at this point, since hospitals all across Canada are severely short-staffed, due to hospitals' strict quarantine rules, and workers quitting or being suspended or fired due to vaccine mandates.