CBC: New health minister considering ramification of cancelling Edmonton ‘superlab’

This article was published by CBC News on May 8, 2019. You can view the original article here.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says he is looking into the possible ramifications of cancelling Edmonton’s new “superlab.”

“We have paused the construction,” he told reporters at the legislature Wednesday. “Now it is a matter of doing due diligence and find out what the consequences will be when looking into being able to cancel that.”

The $590-million project, announced by the previous NDP government in 2016, would have consolidated lab services for Edmonton under a single roof and put it under the control of Alberta Health Services.

The government planned to pay Dynalife, the current service provider, $50 million when its contract ended on March 31, 2022.

Construction on the site near the South Campus LRT station started in March and was slated to be completed by 2022.

Work was put on hold the weekend after the UCP won the election on April 16. The government said it didn’t want to incur additional costs while the project was under review.

Premier Jason Kenney vowed during the election to cancel the project. He suggested money for the construction of the new lab would be better used for patient care.

Former NDP health minister Sarah Hoffman said her government relied on a report from the Health Quality Council of Alberta that recommended a consolidation of lab services under a “single public-sector platform.”

Shandro said he plans to get advice from Dr. Penny Ballem, the project lead and principal author of the integrated lab services plan for HQCA.

“It’s part of our due diligence,” he said.

Shandro said he doesn’t yet know what the financial consequences will be if the government cancels the contract with the construction firm.