Local Press Releases

Harris calls on Milloy, Fife to preserve open tendering in Region

May 17, 2013

KITCHENER — Today, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris called on his provincial colleagues in the Region of Waterloo to preserve open competition for local infrastructure projects by supporting his private member’s bill, the Fair and Open Tendering Act.

“I encourage both John Milloy and Catherine Fife to stand up for local taxpayers by working with me to pass the Fair and Open Tending Act,” Harris said at a media conference at the Grand River Transit Headquarters in Kitchener. “This bill, if passed, would help hundreds of municipalities, empower thousands of contractors and protect millions of taxpayers.”

Harris tabled his bill yesterday to provide the legal tools needed to preserve and maintain competitive bidding for public infrastructure projects tendered by Ontario municipalities and school boards.

“My private member’s bill is based on two fundamental principles. The first is fairness. I believe all Ontarians, regardless of their affiliation with a particular union, should have the right to work on publicly funded infrastructure projects,” Harris said.

“The second is open competition. When all qualified unionized and open-shop companies have the opportunity to compete for contracts to build bridges, new schools and other public buildings, municipalities and school boards can ensure taxpayers get the highest quality work at the lowest possible cost.”

Over the years, certain unions have successfully exploited a legal loophole in Ontario’s outdated labour laws as a way to force public-sector employers to contract out all publicly funded infrastructure projects to companies organized by a specific union – effectively creating a labour monopoly. Now, Waterloo Region is at risk of becoming trapped in one of these monopolies, which will drive up annual infrastructure costs by about $78 million.

“We can’t let this happen to our Region. It’s not fair to local taxpayers to have the cost of projects escalate simply because our outdated labour laws can be used to prevent open competition. That’s why I’m calling on my provincial colleagues here in the Region to join me in supporting the Fair and Open Tendering Act.”