Policy Win – Open Tendering for Public Procurement

· by b.caramento@hamiltonchamber.ca

On December 6th, the Government of Ontario  proposed legislation, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018, announced by the Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to see that the provincial government implemented legislative change, recommended by the our policy staff earlier this year.

In April of 2018, Hamilton Chamber proposed a policy resolution, in conjunction with  the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce,  Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, and Mississauga Board of Trade. The resolution held that provincial legislators amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act to enable fair and open tendering for public infrastructure projects.

The Labour Relations Act prevents some municipalities and public entities from openly tendering and procuring construction projects. Language in the Act allows municipalities and school boards to become certified “construction employers,” which ties all of the municipalities’ construction work to a particular union (or small group of unions) and its bound contractors. As a result, up to 70 percent of the industry is unable to compete for work on publicly owned and publicly funded projects, inflating construction costs by as much as 30 percent. This system stifles competition and often results in unnecessarily high infrastructure costs.

The Chamber is thereby pleased to hear the Province plans to amend the Act to explicitly deem public bodies, including municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, as “non-construction employers”, thereby opening procurement.

“Closed tendering stifles competition and often results in unnecessarily high infrastructure costs. We have seen these costs reflected in contracts awarded across the City of Hamilton. This legislative change will provide an equal playing field for everyone participating in the tendering process, while also respecting the allocation of hard-earned tax dollars in government procurement.” – Keanin Loomis, President and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

“The OCC is pleased to see the Government of Ontario’s decision to allow for fair and open tendering. For too long, municipalities and public entities were burdened by a procurement process which hindered economic development and innovation. By permitting open tendering, the government is allowing for a system that operates more efficiently, fosters economic growth through greater competition among suppliers and allows municipalities the ability to maximize their infrastructure investments.” – Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce 

To read the OCC media release on the announcement, click here.

For more information, please contact: Bianca Caramento | Policy Analyst | Hamilton Chamber of Commerce | t: 905-522-1151 ext: 230 | e: b.caramento@hamiltonchamber.ca