Nearly 50 construction contracts in Montreal are pending approval from the provincial securities regulator and Quebec’s anti-corruption unit (UPAC) — and those holdups are creating headaches for some Montrealers.
Bill 1, Quebec’s Integrity in Public Contracts Act, is less than a year old. It was created in light of the province’s corruption inquiry, which dragged into the spotlight the rampant misdoings in the construction industry.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), working with UPAC, looks at companies bidding for Quebec government contracts worth more than $40-million, and Montreal city contracts worth more than $100,000.
The two lowest-bidding companies on each of those projects are submitted to the AMF for careful analysis of any past possible wrongdoing. The City of Montreal sends 25 companies per month for examination, the limit set by the province.
AMF spokesman Sylvain Théberge said 151 decisions have been rendered so far, with only four companies rejected.
But another 69 companies are awaiting judgment in the province, with 49 of them in Montreal.
The way it works, Théberge explained, is that a company can bid on any number of contracts. If it gets approved for one contract, it gets approved for all contracts within a three-year span.
The city said, for example, that one company awaiting its decision has bid on five contracts. If it gets cleared, work on all five contracts can begin right away.
Watch CBC Montreal reporter Raffy Boudjikanian’s report at the top of this page for more.