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PCA submits complaint to Competition Bureau to investigate Ottawa Hospital expansion deal

DCN-JOC News Services
PCA submits complaint to Competition Bureau to investigate Ottawa Hospital expansion deal
COURTESY THE OTTAWA HOSPITAL — The preliminary design model for the new Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital shows two in-patient towers connected to a central podium. At 2.5 million square feet, the campus will be one of the largest infrastructure projects ever in the capital city. Construction on the buildings is scheduled to start in 2024.

OTTAWA — The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) has submitted a complaint urging the Competition Bureau to investigate a labour deal for The Ottawa Hospital expansion project that it says is “exclusive and costly” and shuts out thousands of Ottawa construction workers. 

The complaint centres on an exclusive labour agreement between the hospital and the Unionized Building and Construction Trades of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec which prohibits contractors and workers who are not affiliated with these select unions from bidding on and building the hospital’s new $2.8 billion Civic Campus, states a release.

The hospital entered into a restrictive Project Labour Agreement (PLA) with select Building Trade Unions. No other health care facilities in the province have been built using this approach.

A report by the independent Montreal Economic Institute finds that by stifling competition  The Ottawa Hospital’s restrictive PLA will escalate project costs by anywhere from $168 million to $525 million by 2028, adds the release. It states, “It is unacceptable for a public entity to make taxpayers pay more by granting exclusivity to only a certain group of affiliated workers.”

“There’s something seriously wrong when thousands of Ottawa area construction workers and local companies have no chance to build one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city’s history,” said Karen Renkema, VP Ontario at PCA, in a statement. “This is a deal that shuts out local talent and does not provide good public value. That warrants an investigation.”

“It (the PLA) is a clear example of exclusive dealing, tied selling and market restrictions, which run counter to the Competition Act,” Renkema added.

Stay tuned as The Daily Commercial News will have more on this story.

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