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Airlines opt for civil litigation against Alberta Health Services

Business disputes can often end in the courtroom, but a recent story shows these conflicts don't always just involve private enterprises. Two airlines in Alberta have recently filed a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services, alleging that they picked the airline for air ambulance operators in an unfair way. The civil litigation will center on the Request For Proposals (RFP) and decision-making processes that Alberta Health Services (AHS) underwent to choose an airline.

The issue began when AHS requested proposals for the contract at 10 locations in Alberta. Can-West Corporate Air Charters were awarded the contracts for eight locations last March. However, before that happened, AHS contacted two other companies to extend their contracts in those locations as Can-West did not have the infrastructure to take over on the scheduled date.

Repeated short-term extensions gave way to suspicion of serious issues, with the two airlines eventually opting for civil litigation with a lawsuit of $8 million. They allege that Can-West was favoured by AHS and that is misrepresented its infrastructure, muddling the RFP process. It alleges that Can-West has neither the operating certificates nor the aircraft in the regions to provide air ambulance service.

To date, Can-West has still not taken over the contracts for AHS. They blame the municipality at Peace River for their inability to obtain a hangar in the area. In this case as in other Alberta civil litigation cases, both public and private organizations are involved. Those who are facing disputes over contracts like this should reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible to understand their options.

Source: CBC News, "Alberta Health Services faces lawsuits, judicial review over air ambulance contracts", Roberta Bell, Feb. 19, 2018

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