Public Interest Not Served by Closed Tendering in Waterloo Region
A recent Cardus study is highly critical of tendering policies at the Region of Waterloo.
The report, titled No Longer the Best: The Effects of Restrictive Tendering on the Region of Waterloo, was released by the Hamilton, Ont.-based public policy think tank.
Cardus researchers examined regional construction contracts between 2009 and 2017, with total values of more than $350 million.
In 2014, the regional government decided to restrict construction bids to firms affiliated with the Carpenters' Union. This had several negative effects, the report concluded.
“What has effectively occurred in the Region of Waterloo is a movement from a highly competitive environment with very narrow gaps between the winning bid and the second-place bid to a place where not only those gaps are wider, but they are being filled by firms that did not win in the competitive environment,” the report states.
The average number of bids also decreased by more than 50 percent after closed tendering was introduced.
Closed tendering creates a “coercive oligopoly” for a small number of firms that are able to increase profits at taxpayer expense. “There is no compelling public-interest case for closed tendering,” the report concludes.
Region of Waterloo officials plan to respond to the study once they have a chance to examine it, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo reports.
The full study is available on the Cardus website.