Outcome Recommendations from the Charbonneau Commission Report
Published on: 15/12/2015
On November 24, the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry (the Charbonneau Commission) in Quebec was published. The report, which totalled over 1700 pages, sought to identify the causes for illegal activities in the construction industry and make recommendations in order to curb collusion and corruption in the tendering of public construction projects in Quebec. Sixty recommendations were made in total that will touch all of the different sectors involved in the industry, including government bureaucrat, contractor, supplier, and consulting engineer.
Included below is an overview of some of the more relevant recommendations made:
- Reform the legislative and regulatory framework governing the awarding of public contracts because the repeated use of foreseeable and well known criteria, especially the lowest conforming bidder rule, facilitates the organization of cartels;
- On municipal contracts, allow authorities to apply criteria other than price in selecting their contracting parties;
- Mandate a longer time-limit for filing bids;
- Extend tender filing deadlines if substantial/late alterations are made to a project;
- Regulate the formation of selection committees;
- Carefully govern the release of information for transparency sake (i.e. the release of the list of contractors who have obtained/purchased tendering documents/specifications facilitates the circulation of information within groups of firms wishing to collude);
- Require anyone owning a 10% stake in a construction company to be listed as a corporate officer (down from 20%) and be subject to a police check; and,
- Empower the Régie du bâtiment du Québec to allow them to review all construction corporate officers for companies bidding on public contracts.
- Modify electoral law to compel political parties to disclose the professional affiliations of its volunteers, to be reported annually;
- Require all donors to a political party or candidate at either the provincial or municipal level to disclose the name of their employer at the time the contribution is made;
- Prohibit the announcement of contracts or grants during political fundraising activities; and,
- Suspend any elected official charged with corruption.
Awarding of Public Contracts
- The government of Quebec should create a Procurement Authority to oversee the government procurement process at both the provincial and municipal levels;
- Move towards quality-based selection (rather than low-bid) for procurement of public projects; and,
- Speed up the payment process for public contractors, particularly around holdback funds to alleviate financial risk on the contractor, which should encourage wider competition
- Allow the professional order to impose disciplinary sanctions against members/partnerships/corporations who provide engineering services;
- In order to better promote good behavior amongst members, institute greater regulation over the profession through the five-pronged approach taken in the rest of Canada:
- Compulsory registration of engineers;
- Make licences conditional upon compliance with the rules;
- Compel engineers to report all relevant information;
- Implement a compliance system (including random audits by the professional order); and,
- Allow for the imposition of sanctions for non-compliance;
- Enhance public engineering expertise to decrease reliance on consultants; and,
- Heighten the quality of worksite supervision to reduce the number of unjustified "extras" being claimed.
If you have any questions or comments about Charbonneau Commission Report, please contact contact Patrick McManus (905-629-7766 ext. 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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