2018-09-17

Biennial report for the fiscal year January 1 to June 30, 2018, submitted on September 17, 2018

Summary

Presentation of the Analysis and Preliminary Investigations Division
Handling of denunciations
Upstream interventions
Clauses related to bidders’ experience
Product specifications
Other cases
Sidewalk industry
Profile of the industry since the CEIC revelations. The overall market is perceived to be more open and competitive. This industry is still a risky sector, however.
Road resurfacing and sidewalk reconstruction surveillance operations
The surveillance operations revealed several issues:
The critical role of the supervisors
The pressure they may be under
Situations where contractual rules were not upheld and/or non-compliances were tolerated

Message from the interim inspector general

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

On March 26, 2018, the Inspector General filed its Annual Report for the 2017 activities. In this report, the Inspector General indicated that the structure of the Office has been modified with the creation of a new division, the “Analysis and Preliminary Investigations Division”, and at the same time considered the opportunity to produce a biannual report.

As the Analysis and Preliminary Investigations Division is now operational, we therefore present the first Biannual Report of the Office of Inspector General for the period from January 1 to June 30, 2018, pursuant to the provisions of section 57.1.23 of the Charter of Ville de Montréal, metropolis of Québec. This report provides a chance to account for the interventions of this division, as well as to present two in-depth investigation files.

First of all, by setting up this new division, the Office of Inspector General confirms its intention to act, where possible, prior to the award of a contract. By intervening during calls for tenders’ posting period, City officials in charge of contracts then have the possibility to rectify those situations, while pursuing the awarding process. In doing so, the City avoids having to deal with problematic situations that can lead to additional fees, work delays, cancellations of contracts or legal proceedings.

Due to their recurrence, two issues have drawn the attention of the Analysis and Preliminary Investigations Division of the Office of Inspector General and deserve to be highlighted, namely the inclusion of clauses related to the bidders’ experience and product specifications. The use of either of these elements can be justified in the drafting of tender documents, but this must be done with caution, at the risk of restricting the pool of qualified contractors or leaving oneself open to allegations of rigged bidding.

Furthermore, the Office of Inspector General wishes to point out that in many cases treated upstream, City stakeholders acted with rigour and in compliance with the legal provisions. In this regard, when explanations, documents or information were requested, they responded with diligence and demonstrated the appropriateness and validity of their actions.

Secondly, this report addresses an in-depth investigation on the sidewalk industry, which allowed to see that it is generally now perceived as being more open and competitive. Nevertheless, because of this industry’s troubled past and the City’s major investments, current and announced, in these infrastructures, the Office of Inspector General intends to remain vigilant toward it and follow it closely.

Finally, the last part of this report concerns monitoring of the carrying out of contracts. During these operations, the investigating officers of the Inspections and Investigations Division conducted a large number of visits to the various sites of road resurfacing and sidewalk repairs on Ville de Montréal’s territory; they met with a multitude of stakeholders and observed diverse irregularities regarding monitoring of compliance with technical specifications’ requirements. Although these were individually brought to the attention of the people in charge of monitoring the work for correction, this report is an opportunity to present an overview of the breaches identified and expose their potential consequences.

The Interim Inspector General

Ms. Brigitte Bishop 

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Biennial report for the fiscal year January 1 to June 30, 2018, submitted on September 17, 2018