The Office of Inspector General conducted an investigation to determine whether the Saint–Laurent Borough complied with the requirements of call for tenders 15–031 regarding the licences necessary to perform the work described in the tender documents.
The Saint–Laurent Borough awarded one (1) contract for a period of three (3) years, from 2015 to 2017, inclusive, for the renovation, replacement and addition of exterior signage on public municipal buildings and in green spaces in that borough.
The tender documents include two (2) licence requirements, as follows: (1) the contractor, the sub–contractor and any labour shall have all the licences required by law; and (2) the contractor shall have a general contractor’s licence.
The evidence gathered during the investigation shows that the successful and sole bidder in this call for tenders, Enseignes Dominion, does not meet the licence requirements specified in the tender documents. The company does not have a general contractor’s licence, but rather a specialized contractor’s licence. Moreover, the successful bidder does not have all the licence subclasses required by law in order to carry out the work described in the tender documents as a specialized contractor.
In the opinion of the Inspector General, both criteria allowing him to rescind the contract under section 57.1.10 of Montréal’s City Charter are met. The requirements of the specifications in the case at hand are very clear: the bidder must have a general contractor’s licence as well as [translation] “all required licences in accordance with the laws in effect, including licences in good standing with the Régie du bâtiment du Québec.”
The Inspector General is of the opinion that by awarding the contract to Enseignes Dominion, despite its failure to provide a copy of the required licences as specified in the documents in call for tenders 15–031, the Saint–Laurent Borough failed to fulfill its obligation to accept only eligible and compliant bids.
The breaches noted are objectively “serious.” The breach noted concerns the very integrity of the contracting process: by ignoring the failure to comply with the requirements set out in the specifications, the Saint–Laurent Borough broke the rules it itself had established in the call for tenders. It therefore gave a competitive advantage to the successful bidder to the detriment of other interested suppliers who had obtained the specifications and who might have reasonably expected that only a company with the required licences could bid on the call for tenders and win the contract.