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Letter to the Editor: There is no public interest argument for restricting bidding to ‘privileged’ contractors

Brian Dijkema
Letter to the Editor: There is no public interest argument for restricting bidding to ‘privileged’ contractors

To the Editor,


I’m writing in response to the letter, “Sault Ste. Marie should not attempt to change its construction employer status,” dated Jan. 18, 2018, which mentions our work.

Rather than responding to the evidence that I and my co-author from the University of Toronto present on the cost implications of closed tendering as well as our analysis of why the City of Toronto’s report is unreliable, Mr. Gallagher chose to attack the integrity of our organization.

Cardus has written multiple papers with well-respected industry experts and economists, using real evidence from Ontario municipalities, and from respected organizations like the OECD, to make the case that there is no public interest argument for restricting bidding to a few, privileged, contractors.

Instead of bringing evidence against the almost universal consensus that competitive tendering provides taxpayers with the best value for money, they choose to impugn our reputation or introduce red herrings, such as safety ratings, to make their case.

Nobody is arguing against safety being a paramount consideration. This is why virtually every municipal procurement office in Ontario already uses safety as a prequalification criterion for its bids.

If these firms have such an advantage, you would expect them to welcome competitive bidding and let their record do the talking.

Instead, we see, time and again, attempts to penalize Ontario’s construction workers for exercising their private right to affiliate with a variety of unions, or no union at all.

Unions are wonderful things that bring workers tremendous advantages; but one’s private affiliations should not be the basis for deciding whether a worker can work on a project in her or his own city that is paid for through his or her taxes.

It’s simply not fair.

Given the utter inability to make a compelling case for these restrictions, we expect that Mr. Gallagher knows this.




Brian Dijkema
Program Director


Daily Commercial News welcomes letters on any construction industry-related subject but reserves the right to edit and withhold them, although care is taken to preserve the core of the submission. Letters should be no more than 550 words and must include the name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the author. Letters reflect the opinion of the author and not that of Daily Commercial News, ConstructConnect or its staff. Submit letters to

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