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By: David Zurawel

CEO is pleased to report that the City of Toronto will be amending its purchasing by-law to change the way it will manage its litigation exclusions provisions on public projects.  The change is a result of broader industry efforts, including CEO, through the City of Toronto’s Broader Construction Association Consultation Group (BCACG).

Toronto Council had voted last year to amend the City purchasing by-law effective January 1, 2017 to permit the “[City] Treasurer, at its sole discretion [to] disqualify a [contractor/supplier] in litigation with the City related to a contract awarded by the City on a case by case basis.”

CEO entered into discussions with City officials, both through the BCACG and on its own, strongly arguing that in Ontario the rule of law requires that all official power, including that of municipal governments, be exercised within a specific framework.  Such authority must be applied fairly, reasonably and in accordance with the powers duly conferred on the body exercising it.  CEO pointed out that the City of Toronto was not entitled to the authority that the revised by-law had attempted to confer on its staff.  Rather, such powers are reserved exclusively for the courts. 

As a result of these efforts, the City of Toronto has tabled Proposed Revisions to [its] Supplier Code of Conduct (PRSCC).  This revised process maintains the City’s ability to apply exclusions.  However, such action will be informed through its proponent pre-qualification and performance evaluations systems. Both City of Toronto staff and broader industry stakeholders recognize that more work is required to finalize the PRSCC and proponent systems to make them efficient, effect, transparent and fair.  Both parties have agreed to establish a working group to address these requirements arising from this commitment to change the policy.

City of Toronto staff have yet to confirm when the purchasing by-law will be presented to Council to remove the Litigation Exclusion provision.  However, CEO staff will continue its active role on this issue and will keep members informed on new developments as details become available.

Should you have any questions, please contact David Zurawel at dzurawel@ceo.on.ca or 416-620-1400 ext. 222.