Yukon hospitals unaffected by Dowland receivership

Dowland’s bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, filed a complaint in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench on May 21, and Dowland has since been ordered to turn over all of its assets and property to an appointed receiver.

Dowland Contracting is in receivership and has filed for protection from its creditors.

Dowland’s bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, filed a complaint in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench on May 21, and Dowland has since been ordered to turn over all of its assets and property to an appointed receiver.

This latest development in Dowland’s downfall won’t further affect the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s two new buildings.

Hospital Corporation CEO Jason Bilsky said that the corporation’s lawyers were able to secure an exemption from the bonding company that has taken over Dowland’s jobs in Watson Lake and Dawson City.

The Yukon Hospital Corporation’s two new hospitals won’t be encumbered by Dowland’s receivership, Bilsky said, adding that work will continue as planned. The projects are still on track for their expected delivery dates of July for the Watson Lake hospital and sometime this fall for Dawson City.

“There’s no question that it’s a messy situation, and we wish it hadn’t happened, but it did and we have to deal with it,” he said.

Both hospital jobs still have subcontractor liens against them, but Bilsky said he is confident that the bonding company, Intact Insurance, will take care of them and deliver the new buildings lien free as promised.

But Dowland’s troubles are affecting another Yukon project. The Selkirk Pump House in Whitehorse was supposed to be finished this March. Dowland has defaulted on that job as well, and a bonding company has been brought in, said Mike Gau, Whitehorse’s director of development services.

“There are two parts of that project,” Gau said. “Norcope is working on excavation and pipe work around the site, and that is unaffected. The part that Dowland was working on (the pump house itself) is about 85 per cent done,” Gau said.

“There is a bonding company that’s working on it and we’re working with them. We’re working with them and trying to get answers on that same question, to finish the project. Our focus is on finishing the project as quickly as possible,” he said.

The pump house job is on hold right now while the city and the bonding company figure out a solution, and Gau couldn’t say when the delays will end.

“They are working on sorting it out and finding solutions. It’s a work in progress right now,” Gau said.

The pump house project’s total budget was $5 million.

Dowland has defaulted on jobs across the country, including a $36-million hospital renovation in Iqaluit, and a massive hydroelectric project in Terrace, B.C. Sources inside the company said that Dowland was planning to file for bankruptcy almost a month ago.

Emails obtained by the News from the vice-president of Dowland’s industrial branch show that the company was struggling to pay its staff, and had in fact removed money from its employees’ bank accounts.

“From what I understand the bank still won’t release the payroll so Patrick (McGuinness, Dowland’s president and CEO) is saying we are done.

“I believe they are filing tomorrow,” reads an email from April 30.

Dowland’s Whitehorse offices have been emptied, and former staff members say the company’s Kamloops and Edmonton locations have been gutted as well.

McGuinness has never returned calls for comment, and no one from Dowland has offered an official statement at any point in the company’s implosion.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com