Today Ontario PC Pan Am Games Critic MPP Rod Jackson, and the Ontario Director of the Progressive Contractors Association, Sean Reid, called on the Liberal government to restore open, fair and competitive procurement practices in Toronto and Hamilton for projects for the 2015 Pan American Games.
Currently, Ontario's labour laws create unfair monopolies in several municipalities that favour particular trades unions. This means only specific unions - like the Carpenters' Union - are allowed to bid on Pan Am Game contracts. Numerous other unions or non-unions are shut out.
In Hamilton, this sweetheart arrangement effectively shrinks the market of potential bidders by 75 percent and inflating construction costs up to 40 percent. This costs the City millions of additional dollars every year. The Pan Am Ivor Wynne stadium re-build is no exception.
"Non-union and alternative union workers are restricted from working on virtually all industrial, commercial and institutional construction projects tendered by the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton," according to Reid.
"Two years ago when I personally raised this issue with a senior aide for Ontario's Minister of Labour at the time, I was told 'there are winners and losers' on this issue and the Minister had no plans to revisit the matter," said Reid.
"With nearly 600,000 men and women out of work and a $16-billion deficit, government should be exploring every option to tackle Ontario's jobs and spending crises," said Jackson.
"Allowing for greater competition helps accomplish both of these goals. Tendering would create more work for contractors who are shut out of the bidding process. And making unions compete would save government money," added Jackson.