Authorities in Canada have re-authorised contractor SNC-Lavalin to bid on public contracts in the province of Quebec, following months of investigation.

The contractor welcomed the decision by the province’s financial market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), and highlighted its on-going efforts over the last two years to implement an effective ethics and compliance framework.

Since December 2012, AMF approval has been required before companies can sign or renew large public contracts or subcontracts in Quebec.

The tightened rules came amid a corruption scandal that exploded in the province in late 2009, when the police started L'Opération Marteau (Operation Hammer). This is an investigation into ties between organised criminal gangs and the construction industry, and price collusion between contractors.

As the investigation progressed, it uncovered links between corrupt politicians, contractors, unions and organised crime.

SNC-Lavalin has been implicated in several corruption scandals in Canada, Libya and Bangladesh over recent years. Last year the contractor was banned by the World Bank from any involvement in projects it finances for a decade – the longest debarment period it has ever imposed.

Responding to the AMF’s decision to re-authorise the company, SNC-Lavalin president and CEO Robert Card said, “We have implemented a comprehensive ethics and compliance programme, but we are aware that ongoing effort is required, and we are committed to continuous improvement. “

SNC-Lavalin’s head office is in Montreal and the company employs over 6,400 in Quebec. The company added that it was committed to working with the government of Quebec to reach a settlement that was “comprehensive, final and fair”.

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