Ingersoll, Ont., electrician turns to community to help house tradespeople working on CAMI plant -

Published Feb. 8, 2023 6:46 p.m. ET

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The abrupt closure of an Ottawa construction company is having a ripple effect on everyone from homeowners and employees to contractors who say they’re owed thousands of dollars.

Electrician Chris Neron is unexpectedly out of a job after Highbridge Construction shut its doors and announced would be filing for bankruptcy.

“Really sad, actually, because it’s pathetic, and I’m not the only one,” Neron said of himself and others now looking for work.

Homes have been left in shambles and complaints about the company are piling up.

Neron alleges he witnessed high-pressure tactics from project managers.

“They would show on site and they would ask for more money to keep their project going but the client would respond ‘I already gave you 20 grand and you’re telling me you have no money to buy material?’ So it’s been going on for awhile,” Neron said.

Recently, Neron said employees were told, because of a change in companies, they’d be paid with cheques instead of direct deposit. He says another e-mail came in hours later with a strange request.

“We received another one saying can anybody hold onto their cheques until Monday because we’re waiting on a big company to give us big money to cover those cheques and we would be rewarded 2,000 Air Miles,” he said. “I was one of them that contacted them directly [saying] I will wait until Monday. I was one of the lucky guys that deposited it today. It was declined, it all bounced.”

CTV News has made multiple attempts to contact the company and has not heard back from anyone.

Cory Desormeaux owns Junk that Funk and said he’s out five figures.

“A big contracting company like that not paying their tradespeople, not paying the electricians, not paying the plumbers, the garbage guys, it’s awful,” he said. “There’s a ripple effect; there’s financial losses, there’s wasted time. We’re still driving around today wasting our time picking up our bins on sites, dealing with dumping fees, dealing with angry homeowners so it’s just not right.”

The Home Construction Regulatory Authority says it’s cracking down. Consumer advocate Barbara Captijn says oversight bodies have had years to act and haven’t done enough to protect people.

“HCRA should’ve protected the employees you’re talking about and the consumers that I’m talking about because they should have or must have known there were red flags about the financial ability of this builder to meet his obligations,” she said. 

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