Fresh Takes

Public Tenders: How About Some Transparency?

Recently, we learned that over 3,000 public contracts totalling almost $2 billion were awarded by the Quebec government without calls for tenders. These contracts, which exceed the legal limit of $100,000 beyond which a public tender is required, have cost taxpayers nearly $8 billion over the past five years.

A proper public tender process guarantees healthy competition in the allocation of public contracts. This competition generally reduces costs for taxpayers, all while maintaining the quality of goods and services provided. The absence of calls for tender for public contracts drains public finances by preventing different entrepreneurs from submitting lower bids.

For the public tender processes to be effective and allow numerous companies to bid, they must not include too many constraints. Moreover, the process must be transparent in order to eliminate the risk of fraud, as when the Montcalm RCM modified public tenders to give an advantage to one particular company, which obtained 18 contracts without competition.

The existence of a system of public tenders is one of the guarantees taxpayers have that their money is being well spent. Circumventing this essential step poses a serious risk for the management of public finances.

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