Winnipeg Council Should be Guided by Public Benefits of Construction Competition

A report by an independent Montreal public policy think-tank on the benefits of construction competition is an important reminder for Winnipeg City Council, as it considers how the public can benefit from future large scale infrastructure projects, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) whose member companies employ thousands of skilled construction workers.

“It’s clear that when cities embrace construction competition on major public projects, there are sizable cost savings for local taxpayers,” said Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “We encourage Winnipeg Council to make competition a guiding principle on future projects, such as the next phases of the North End Sewage Treatment Plant (NESTP) because its fairer for taxpayers and all workers.”

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) report entitled “How to reduce construction costs in Ontario,” shows increased competition has saved Waterloo Region, $24 million in the two years since it opened up its construction market. The report underlines the importance of a diverse and competitive procurement process and the negative effects of policies that restrict competition, such as the restrictive Project Labour Agreement (PLA) at The Ottawa Hospital, which according to the MEI, will cost Ontario taxpayers up to $525 million in additional construction costs.

Manitoba’s provincial government recognized the importance of construction competition by outlawing restrictive Project Labour Agreements (PLAs) that favour select unions and drive up the cost of public projects by millions of dollars.

“The benefits of construction competition are undeniable,” added de Jong. “Competition ensures taxpayers are getting good value on public infrastructure investments. This frees up funding to build more hospitals, public housing, and other key projects that cities need.”