QUEEN’S PARK – Jennifer French (Oshawa), the Official Opposition NDP critic for Infrastructure, released the following statement after Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO) announcement that Colliers Project Leaders (formerly known as MHPM Project Managers) would continue to provide project management services for government capital repair projects:
“Ford’s Conservatives, like the Liberals before them, have continued to privatize and outsource to funnel more public dollars into private pockets. This latest mega contract means Ontario’s taxpayers will keep paying more and inevitably getting less on capital repair projects.
“This private contractor has been embedded within Infrastructure Ontario for over a decade. The Auditor General found that the previous procurement for this work in 2014 had been rigged to favour large contractors like Colliers, and IO only received three bids for two large contracts. While IO has not disclosed the value of this latest mega contract, it appears to be even bigger, limiting competitive bids even further.
“Under the Liberal and PC governments, supposedly public agencies like Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have been hollowed out, with publicly accountable civil servants replaced by profit-seeking private consultants and contractors. The permanent presence of these embedded private contractors within the government means decisions about capital projects are being driven by private interests, and not the public interest.
“With thousands of public assets in urgent need of capital repairs, it makes no sense for the government to layer on private profits by contracting out this core function. It is time to bring this work back in-house, restore public sector capacity and accountability, and ensure that public dollars are used to serve the public interest, and not to pad the pockets of private outsourcing companies.”
- Colliers Project Leaders, whose president is a former Conservative Party staffer, was accused of violating labour laws during the pandemic, and its performance on First Nations water treatment projects drew protests in 2020.
- This week, the Ford government tabled Bill 151, the Improving Real Estate Management Act, which will transfer more control over the management of public real estate assets to IO and its private contractors
- A separate Colliers division, Colliers Capital Markets, helped design and oversee the procurement process for the Ontario Place redevelopment, which has been criticized for irregularities and opacity after awarding redevelopment rights to Therme.