Yukon government cancels $904K contract with Yellowknife firm, calling it a 'mistake'
Yukon's public works minister says the rest of the contract will go to a tender restricted to Yukon companies
The Yukon government has cancelled a contract with a Yellowknife architecture firm, worth almost $1 million.
The territory's minister of public works says a contract for $904,086 should not have been awarded to Taylor Architecture Group. The contract, to oversee the design and construction of Whitehorse's planned francophone high school, was penned in April through a standing offer agreement.
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"A contract of this size should have gone through a more competitive bidding process," said Minister Richard Mostyn.
"Not doing that was a mistake."
Mostyn says he wasn't aware of the specific details of this contract when it was sealed with his department.
"I should have been informed of a million-dollar decision."
The decision to give the contract to an outside company sparked anger within the Yukon contracting community.
Bureaucrats earlier told CBC that the move was good for Yukon companies, because it would leave them free to bid on the larger design build of the new francophone high school.
Scott Milton, acting deputy minister of public works, said the proper process was followed with regards to the standing offer agreement.
During the 2016 election campaign, Premier Sandy Silver promised that a Liberal government would ensure Yukon companies received preferential treatment when it came to government contracts for capital projects, goods and services.
Contract canned last week
"I've decided to end the contract with the N.W.T firm," said Mostyn. "Issuing a standing offer to an outside firm for $900,000 of work did not align with this government's commitments and goals."
The project is already underway with the Yellowknife company, but Mostyn says the remainder of the contract, worth about $650,000 to $750,000, will now go to an invitational tender restricted to Yukon businesses. Mostyn thanked the business community for their patience while he delved into the issue.
He refused to discuss whether there would be any consequences for the error, nor would he divulge who made the decision to award the contract to the Yellowknife firm.
Mostyn says the Yukon government will not face any penalties for cancelling the contract.
"I'm fully within my rights to cancel the next phase, phase three, and I will do that."
With files from Nancy Thomson