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Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn and Yukon Party’s interim leader, Stacey Hassard

Mostyn quizzed over procurement exceptions

The official Opposition challenged the Yukon government Monday over its inaugural use of procurement exceptions provided through free trade agreements signed last year.

By Taylor Blewett on March 6, 2018

The official Opposition challenged the Yukon government Monday over its inaugural use of procurement exceptions provided through free trade agreements signed last year.

The negotiated exceptions under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) allow the Yukon government to exempt 10 procurements a year up to $1 million each from Outside competition requirements, to bolster regional economic development.

But of the 10 procurements set for tendering this fiscal year, two are for cleaning services and two are for roof replacements.

Those contracts have historically gone to local companies anyway, Stacey Hassard, the Yukon Party’s interim leader, pointed out in the legislature.

On the last five cleaning services contracts the Yukon government awarded, there were 18 bids – all by local companies, Hassard observed.

“Why did the minister use two of his exemptions for contracts that appear not to have been at risk of going to southern companies?” he asked.

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn fielded the question.

“I am very happy to talk about fulfilling this election promise this afternoon,” he said.

“This government vowed to support local procurement and maximize government spending in the territory. We have done that,” he told the house.

“Through the excellent work of Highways and Public Works staff, we have 10 contracts before local contractors throughout the Yukon.”

Mostyn highlighted the fact that the Yukon is the first Canadian jurisdiction to take advantage of these exceptions.

He did not, however, explain why two of the contracts are for cleaning services, rather than another procurement area where Outside companies traditionally dominate.

Mostyn was unavailable for an interview this morning to elaborate.

A similar exchange occurred after Hassard pointed out that on the last five roof replacement contracts, it appears that all but one of 13 bidders were local, and the Outside bid was the highest.

“Could the minister please confirm if this is in fact the case?” he asked.

“Again, we are left wondering why the minister would use two of the 10 exemptions under the free trade agreement on contracts that again appear to not have been at risk of going to a southern company.”

Mostyn underscored the fact that with the help of his procurement team, a 2016 election campaign promise has been fulfilled.

“I have also fulfilled a mandate item to increase the ability of local businesses and First Nations to secure government dollars and contracts.

This is great news for the territory,” he said.

Hassard persisted with his line of questioning.

“We’re left wondering if the minister wasted the last 12 months when he could have been identifying contracts that were truly at risk of going south.

“Could the minister please share with us the criteria that he used to decide which contracts were being chosen, and could he also provide us with the criteria for those who may be eligible to bid on these 10 contracts?”

Mostyn said the criteria will be provided in the coming days and weeks.

The 10 goods, services and construction procurements “were selected for their potential to provide local employment, opportunities for skill development and other economic benefits to five Yukon communities,” according to a March 2 Yukon government press release.

The 10 procurements are for:

• Slope and drainage improvements – Campbell Highway;

• Fraser water line and treatment replacement – Fraser Camp;

• cleaning services – Whitehorse airport terminal;

• cleaning services – Whitehorse buildings;

• roof replacements – Carcross Community School and territorial workers’ compensation board building in Whitehorse;

• stand-by-generator – Combined Services Building, Whitehorse;

• boiler replacement – Watson Lake Elementary School;

• maintenance garage ventilation upgrade – Whitehorse airport; and

• generator replacement – Porter Creek Secondary School.

Each contract ranges in value from about $350,000 to $650,000, totalling approximately $4.4 million of a possible $10 million in exceptions.

Bidding or proposal submissions on the procurements is by government invitation only.

“Later this spring, input from industry and First Nations will be sought to help refine the criteria and the procurement approach for selecting and tendering projects for the 2018–19 fiscal year,” the government press release promises.

Comments (2)

Up 1 Down 0

Benedict Arnold on Mar 8, 2018 at 6:29 am

This is real rich where we have the unelected leader of the opposition complaining about how procurement contracts are awarded, I think he set the record when the 'Yukon Party' was in power for a violation of contract awarding rules by letting a sole source contract out to a supporters company that was in excess of $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars),

Up 0 Down 0

steve on Mar 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm

I sure hope you have some knowledgeable people who do procurement as there are so many easy ways to develop criteria to award contracts on a fair basis but one that is also cost effective.

So far from all the posts and articles I have seen there are not very many knowledgeable people putting their two cents into the process.

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