Special Union Deals Costing Ontario Taxpayers Billions: Cardus Report
Hamilton, ON—If Ontario Power Generation (OPG) construction contracts were tendered openly and fairly to all qualified bidders, the estimated $25.8 billion refurbishment of the Bruce and Darlington nuclear plants might be as much as $5.2 billion lower.
According to the new Cardus report, Skimming off the Top: How Closed Tendering Weakens our Ability to Pursue the Public Good, restricted bidding based on union affiliation adds up to 25 percent to project construction costs and reduces the pool of bidders by 84 percent.
Bidding on OPG construction contracts is limited to firms affiliated with a subset of building trades unions. That means fewer bidders, leading to higher costs for the Bruce and Darlington refurbishment projects—possibly as much as $5.2 billion higher than open, fair bidding would have achieved.
“Restricted bidding isn’t in the public interest,” says report author Brian Dijkema. “It makes the construction of public infrastructure less affordable by inflating costs. And it stacks the deck in favour of a small group of firms based on union affiliation, which is unfair to taxpayers and to workers in the broader construction industry.”
Dijkema notes that costs are only one issue to consider. Restricted bidding is also fundamentally unfair.
“To disqualify a firm whose workers have made a choice to join one union or another is completely contrary to the purpose of government, whose job it is to rule for all, and which has a constitutional obligation not to discriminate against people for exercising their rights,” Dijkema says.
Find the full report on the Cardus website. Cardus is a nonpartisan, faith-based think tank.