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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finding value in local preference

Ontario beefing up procurement rules to favour local construction bids
Since 2006, Ontario has received generally positive reviews for managing public-private partnerships with a focus on value for money, rather than other policy or political goals. In recent years, that approach led to controversial decisions to award projects to foreign bidders, including for Hamilton’s football stadium and Windsor’s $1.4-billion parkway.

Under pressure from the Ontario General Contractors Association and organized-labour allies, Mr. McGuinty brought “local knowledge” into the process at the end of 2012. Bidders are now required to provide “narratives” about experience meeting those standards, navigating permit processes with municipalities and working with the province’s labour force and suppliers. Those considerations are then cumulatively given 10-per-cent weight during requests for quotation (RFQs), the procurement stage that narrows competition down to a few finalists.

Ms. Wynne is now looking for ways to bolster the new criterion. Those could include making “local knowledge” a factor not just in RFQs but also in Requests for Proposals (RFPs), in which Infrastructure Ontario chooses from among the finalists. It is also possible that it could be made to count for more than 10 per cent in RFQs, RFPs or both.

The government also appears to be responding to criticism that “bundling” large quantities of work on the LRT and other projects into one procurement process prevents smaller Ontario companies from competing. Future projects could be broken up into multiple contracts, or winning bidders required to subcontract a minimum share of the work.
New EU procurement rules will ‘rebalance the markets towards social enterprises’

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