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Economic, Government, Labour

Letter to the Editor: Our numbers were right, says Cardus

Brian Dijkema
Letter to the Editor: Our numbers were right, says Cardus

Dear Editor,

I would like to direct readers of these pages, particularly those who’ve been critical of our research in recent weeks, to a freshly produced City of Hamilton report that corroborates our numbers.

Cardus has estimated cost savings of eight to 25 per cent for municipalities that open construction contracts to all qualified bidders instead of maintaining discriminatory restrictions that limit bids to companies affiliated with one, or a small set, of unions. We noted that such savings represented millions of dollars, which could be better spent building affordable housing, funding social programs, or might simply be left in citizens’ wallets.

Late last week, City of Hamilton staff reported data from cases “where non-signatory contractors” bid on its construction projects.

“In such cases the cost savings from the next lowest bidder ranged from nine percent to 32 per cent lower, with the average being 21 percent lower,” staff noted.

By way of reminder, Cardus estimated savings in the range of eight to 25 per cent. Hamilton could have achieved savings in the range of nine to 32 per cent. We apologize for being slightly conservative in our estimated savings, but nonetheless are gratified to see our work corroborated in this way. The policy outcome that arises out of the data nonetheless remains the same: fair, open, and competitive tendering among a variety of qualified contractors provides construction purchasers – and citizens – with the best value for scarce resources.  


Brian Dijkema

Cardus program director

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