2018-12-31

2018 annual report

Summary

275 denunciations received
2 public reports
1 mid-year report
348 hours of traning
1705 people trained

MESSAGE FROM THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF VILLE DE MONTRÉAL

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

It is with pride that I present to you the Annual Report of the Office of Inspector General sharing our achievements for the year ended December 31, 2017, pursuant to section 57.1.23 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, metropolis of Québec.

Named first as interim in July 2018, the City Council granted me, unanimously, the privilege of occupying the position of Inspector General of Ville de Montréal on December 17, 2018, following a process involving the governing and opposition elected officials, and the Agglomeration Council. At the same time, Ville de Montréal sent a clear message to the effect that integrity represents a value at the core of its actions, and a priority for all elected officials and the citizens they represent.

This vote of confidence is not only for the Inspector General, but also and above all for the entire Office of Inspector General. We humbly accept this renewal of confidence and we are committed to honor it.

The Office of Inspector General is composed of passionate people, entirely dedicated to the mission of promoting integrity and compliance with public procurement contracting and execution rules, so that the citizens of Montreal can benefit from quality products and services at a fair price. The diversity and complementarity of their expertise is a vital asset to achieving this mission through investigations and upstream interventions.

Better equipped than ever to continue to defend the integrity and transparency of public contracts, the Office of Inspector General is now an established institution. Members of the Inspector General’s team have been, and will continue to be, increasingly present in the field to quickly detect breaches and uphold high standards of contractual execution. In this sense, mentorship of each of the City boroughs and departments and of its para-municipal organizations by a representative of the Office reflects the direction taken and allows for training and learning about situations that affect them directly. Specific or recurring issues can thus be detected, and the necessary interventions implemented diligently.

Whether through its training activities, its public reports denouncing situations or its recommendations, the Office of Inspector General has always aimed to encourage changes in culture and practices within the municipal apparatus. To this end, we have observed an increasingly pronounced and asserted will from City employees to fully and proactively fulfill their role as front line integrity guardians.

The increase in denunciations, in number and quality, from people involved in contracting processes is a clear demonstration of their commitment in this regard, while highlighting the raison d’être and importance of the Inspector General’s independence and whistleblowers’ protection guaranteed by the Act respecting the inspector general of Ville de Montréal. These two elements are the cornerstone of this function and remain essential to our mission.

The selection of preliminary investigation files for the period from July 1st to December 31st, 2018 presented in this report is a further demonstration of the municipal stakeholders’ commitment. In many cases, we emphasize that the verifications carried out showed their concern for respecting legal provisions, their diligence and cooperation, as well as increased monitoring and implementation of control measures following recommendations of the Office of Inspector General.

This is apparent for two problematic aspects that stand out, namely the clauses related to the experience and equipment required of bidders, and the estimation of contract costs. Through the Office of Inspector General’s upstream interventions, City officials in charge of contracts were alerted and could rectify the situation if necessary. Files relating to the performance of contracts and the status of entrepreneurs’ accreditations also demonstrate the vigilance and scope of the Office of Inspector General’s actions concerning the actors involved in contracting processes and the public.

Similarly, a follow-up on files presented in the 2017 Annual Report shows the impact of the decisions and recommendations made public regarding corrective and preventive measures put in place. The Office of Inspector General has continued in particular to study the towing industry in Montreal through the evolution of market prices and the establishment of exclusive contracts, as well as limited investigations related to denunciations received. This analytical and investigative work reveals the concerted efforts of stakeholders to counter collusion and enhance integrity of the tendering process, which allowed for market opening.

However, we can not take these results for granted or reduce our investigative efforts, which uncover increasingly creative, diverse and refined schemes. As such, the year 2018 has seen reports by the Inspector General concerning fraud in connection with two garbage collection and transportation contracts and bypassing of contractual rules for the awarding of contracts as part of the Formula E race.

The refinement of the schemes observed reveals the influence and complicity between manufacturers and professional firms, as discussed in our latest public report. Special attention will be paid to this trend in 2019.

This year will see the arrival of new players such as the Autorité des marchés publics. Consequently, the integration of its mandate to our own will further increase the integrity contractual levers available to the Office of Inspector General.

After five years of operation, the relevance of the Office of Inspector General is definitively established. With the experience, information and network at our disposal, our investigations enable us to detect ever more complex schemes of contractual delinquency. It is expected that their public denunciation will rouse and certainly disturb their authors, for which the Office is ready.

In closing, I would like to thank my predecessor, Mr. Denis Gallant. He not only set up the first office of inspector general of this type in Canada, but also managed to give it a voice and respect, to make it essential for all agencies working in the field of public contracts’ integrity.

The Inspector General,

Ms. Brigitte Bishop ORIGINAL SIGNED

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2018 annual report