Mike Harris joins Minister Todd Smith to Announce Fair and Open Tendering Legislation

Published on

11 December 2018

Kitchener, Ontario-the Hon. Todd Smith, Minister for Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade announced Bill 66 the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act with Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Amy Fee, MPP for Kitchener South-Hespeler, and Belinda Karahalios, MPP for Cambridge, on the future site of Waterloo Region's Transit Hub in downtown Kitchener.

If passed, this Act will cut red tape across the Province of Ontario with specific provisions that will amend the 1995 Labour Relations Act to ensure fair and open tendering on public projects. These provisions will “…deem municipalities and certain local boards, school boards, hospitals, colleges, universities and public bodies to be “non-construction employers.”

Under the 1995 Act, the Region of Waterloo and other municipalities, including Hamilton, Sault-Ste Marie, and Toronto, are deemed “construction employers” and operate under a closed-tendering system. This restricts construction businesses who do not have agreements with certain unions from tendering for municipal projects.

In 2015 the President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario stated that “restricted tendering increases project costs, harms local economic development and prevents the public from getting the best value for its tax dollars.” In Waterloo Region a closed-tendering system drives up the cost of infrastructure projects by nearly 30 percent, according to a 2017 study from the non-partisan think tank Cardus.

“Through the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, we are proposing changes that would allow a broader range of contractors to bid on a greater number of public sector construction projects. This is about restoring competitiveness, and saving job creators and the people money,” said Minister Todd Smith on Twitter.

“This is a game-changer for Waterloo Region and something I have supported from day one. Many local businesses with proven experience in delivering quality builds at a good price are shut-out from competing for municipal projects. This reality raises costs and hurts taxpayers, said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris.

“I am pleased to hear about this recent announcement on fair and open tendering. This will give small businesses a level playing field to compete, all while providing taxpayers with the most cost effective solution on construction projects, not only in my riding of Cambridge, but across the region,” said Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios.

“This is great news for the residents of Kitchener South-Hespeler and all of Waterloo Region. Having fair and open tendering will open the market — saving taxpayers millions, while allowing more local employers to have opportunities to bid on contracts across the region,” said Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee.