Jun 19, 2019

By Jane Brown

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Toronto city councillors are expected on Wednesday to deal with the issue of whether to move to a system of open tenders for municipal work.

The new provisions would see bidding opened up to thousands of non-union and union shops who have been shut out until now on major Toronto construction projects.

Deputy Mayor and Ward 2 Councillor Stephen Holyday told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer, he feels this would be better for the City of Toronto.

“It creates more competition and it could lead to better outcomes when you get more people at the table making bids for projects for the city,” Holyday explained.

The yearly savings under open-shop tendering have been estimated to be as low as $68-million by Toronto’s City Manager Chris Murray or as high as $400-million, according to Sean Reid, Vice-President and Ontario Regional Director of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada.

Councillor Mike Layton told Fight Back, he doesn’t believe there would be any savings.

“And I think that with a decision like this comes a certain amount of risk, because I think the one thing people want more than just a job being done for the cheapest price is the job being done right and the job being done safely,” explained Layton, “and that’s what you get when you have collective agreements with unionized shops.”

Closed-shop tendering is currently required for City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing Corporation and at the Toronto District School Board, and impacts on the cost to build water treatment plants, community centers, police stations, playgrounds and splash pads.

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