Open Tendering to Open Opportunities for Local Job Creation: Hudak
21 September 2012
“Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s proposals to curtail union powers that are damaging our economy and wasting taxpayers’ money couldn’t have come at a better time.”
- Toronto Sun editorial, July 6, 2012
WINDSOR – Ontario can unleash its economic potential and create new opportunities for local small business owners, if we clear away the “economic deadwood” of the last century like closed tendering – which inhibits competition and stifles job creation, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak made the comments during a tour of EPG Electric, a full-service electrical company, where he discussed his party’s Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets white paper. It includes a series of bold new proposals to rebuild Ontario’s economy and create good-paying private sector jobs. Windsor’s unemployment is 9 per cent, well above the provincial average and among the highest in Canada.
“Closed tendering is an outdated practice that limits competition and drives up costs,” Hudak said. “It means qualified professionals, with proven records of delivering projects on time and on budget are banned from bidding on new projects, because they’re either part of nonunion shops or aren’t members of politically favoured unions.”
As evidence, the Greater Essex County District School Board is taking the Ontario Labour Relations Board to court so it can open construction jobs to competitive bidding. Since 1999 the board has been trying to implement a competitive bidding process and allow all contractors to bid on new job-creating opportunities. Right now companies like EPG Electric operate and pay taxes in the Essex-Windsor area, but are shut out from bidding on Essex school board construction projects. The Essex school board has so far spent $400,000 on legal bills – that’s money that could have been invested in the classroom.
Hudak said, “as a basic principle, all companies should be allowed to bid on government contracts. Closed tendering smothers job creation. It also leads to more expensive infrastructure, which means less of it gets built.” As an example, the Toronto District School Board was rocked by scandal when a lack of competition led to wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money like a bill for a $143 to screw in a pencil sharpener, Hudak noted.
Ontario PC Essex candidate Dave Brister said, “it’s time to replace the antiquated 1940s-era workplace rules with 21st century solutions in places like Windsor and Essex, so we can all compete and win.”
Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets also proposes giving an individual worker a choice whether to become or remain a union member, making union leaders more accountable to unionized employees and reforming Ontario’s workplace agencies to encourage job creation. Hudak concluded, “With a more flexible workplace, businesses will have more opportunities to compete and grow, driving up the demand for workers – and wages with them.”