2017-12-31

2017 annual report

Summary

269 denunciations received
4 public reports
24 traning sessions
845 people trained

MESSAGE FROM THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF MONTRÉAL

Mayor Valérie Plante, Members of the City Council and the Agglomeration Council, and citizens of Montréal,

It is an honour and a privilege for me to present the Annual Report of the Inspector General of Ville de Montréal for the year ended December 31, 2017, pursuant to section 57.1.23 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, metropolis of Québec.

As I was appointed in February 2014, I am going into the fifth and last year of my tenure as the first Inspector General of Ville de Montréal. Indeed, the legislation provides that the Inspector General is appointed for a five (5)-year non-renewable mandate. The City Council will have to designate the person who will succeed me and assume my duties by a resolution adopted by a two thirds majority vote,   as  prescribed  by  sections   57.1.1 to 57.1.6 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, metropolis of Québec. I take this opportunity to emphasize that the non-renewable mandate granted to the Inspector General is fundamental and necessary for the proper exercise of this function, since it is one of the safeguards to ensure its independence, both in appearance and in fact.

Notwithstanding, the multidisciplinary team that I have created together with my deputies is now complete. I’m convinced this team will ensure the mission’s permanence and continuity in the actions undertaken so far. I am proud of the structure, working methods, and processes we established within the Office, which will enable my successor to fulfil, in turn, his or her mandate with rigour and efficiency.

I am also proud of our achievements since my nomination as Inspector General. This report will highlight actions taken by the Office in 2017, as well as guidelines set for 2018.

For the past four (4) years, we have intervened with several bodies of the City and its para-municipal organizations, whether through decisions to rescind contracts or cancel calls for tenders, recommendation reports or upstream interventions. We have denounced unacceptable situations either resulting from actions taken by the City or due to shortcomings of existing policies or actions of contractors. We have also raised elected officials and City employees’ awareness of their role as guardians of the contractual processes’ integrity with the roll-out of training courses in 2017. These courses aim to provide participants with tools to prevent and detect breaches of integrity and applicable rules. Built around the Office’s experience, they rely on a competency-based approach and practical scenarios.

Throughout my tenure, and especially in 2017, we have developed partnerships and memorenda of understanding with other monitoring, control and law enforcement agencies operating at the municipal, provincial and federal level, and in the United States and Europe. These collaborations aim to coordinate each other’s efforts, to create a knowledge hub, to regulate the sharing of information, and to ensure an even more effective presence on the ground. The Office thus positions itself as a complementary tool integrated into the arsenal of the levers available to the State to fight collusion, corruption and the use of fraudulent tactics in public procurement.

The innovative measures put in place regarding contractual processes and the support provided to City employees responsible for awarding and managing contracts have made it possible to quickly achieve outstanding results. Particularly, we have created a coordination unit with the City business units, and established a mentoring program with the City various boroughs and departments and its para-municipal organizations, in order to lead by example and provide employees with means to address cases of irregularities or integrity risks.

All the actions taken by the Office have helped to implement a new integrity culture within the City and to restore citizens’ trust in their municipal institutions, but also to bring accountability back to the forefront. The interventions carried out have been a driver of change, regarding as much customs and practices as more comprehensive policies.

Despite the progress made, however, we must never lose sight of the circumstances that led to the creation of the Inspector General of Montréal, a first in Québec. Since then, similar positions have been developed in other cities in Québec. Notably, the cities of Laval, Saint-Jérôme and Longueuil announced the creation of Laval’s Office of integrity and ethics (Bureau d’intégrité et d’éthique de Laval (BIEL)), the Office of professional and administrative integrity (Bureau de l’intégrité professionnelle et administrative (BIPA)), and the Office of contract verification (Bureau d’inspection contractuelle (BIC)), respectively.

For its part, the National Assembly of Québec undertook a detailed consideration of Bill 108 establishing the Autorité des marchés publics, an organization in charge of overseeing all public procurement for public bodies, including municipal bodies, and applying the provisions of the Act respecting contracting by public bodies regarding ineligibility for public contracts, prior authorization to obtain public contracts or subcontracts, and contractors’ performance reports in relation to the performance of contracts. This bill, introduced in response to the Charbonneau Commission’s first recommendation, was eventually passed and assented to on December 1, 2017.

Over the past years as Inspector General, I have been able to observe the added value that an independent body for administrative monitoring of contractual processes can offer, if it is granted investigative and intervention powers in keeping with its mandate, and if it protects appropriately those who denounce irregular situations. Therefore, it is advisable that entities created have sufficient scope to be able to play a real and efficient role in extrication from practices condemned by the Charbonneau Commission.

However, one must bear in mind that the added value of an organization like the Inspector General’s Office does not always translate into figures or financial gain, but into short, medium and long-term impacts on contractors’ practices, clients’ rigour and policies, and contractual processes’ integrity. Integrity is priceless. Several sporadic interventions that went unmentioned over the years have had undeniable impacts on contractual relations between the City and its contractors, and have prevented serious breaches. The creation of the Preliminary Investigations team within the Office in 2017 has allowed us to react even more rapidly toward the City’s different bodies. The Office’s presence on construction sites and the support provided to employees have also had a positive impact, particularly on contract execution’s monitoring. Employees have thus been encouraged to apply contractual clauses and to demand the quality the City is entitled to expect from its contractors.

Each year, one section of the Annual Report is dedicated to the files addressed by upstream intervention or during the preliminary investigation phase. With a view to provide an even more timely public account of these files, the Office will examine in 2018 the relevance of issuing a biannual report on the actions taken, rather than waiting for the Annual Report published by March 31, the next year.

Finally, I wish to emphasize the importance of public procurement’s constant monitoring. Indeed, the investigations conducted have allowed me to note new schemes and the emergence of related entities created and/or used to circumvent the rules put in place and the sanctions imposed on offenders. It is therefore essential to maintain at all times an increased oversight of contract award and execution processes.

The Inspector General,

Denis Gallant, Ad. E.

ORIGINAL COPY SIGNED

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2017 annual report