2016-10-20

Rescinding of the contract for the renovation, replacement and addition of signs in the Saint-Laurent Borough (call to tender 15-031), decision filed on October 20, 2016

Summary

A contract was awarded to Enseignes Dominion, which did not hold a general contractor’s licence as required by the tender documents, but only a specialist contractor’s licence. The borough failed in its obligation to accept only an eligible and compliant bid. The contract was rescinded.

SUMMARY

The Office of Inspector General conducted an investigation to determine whether the SaintLaurent Borough complied with the requirements of call for tenders 15031 regarding the licences necessary to perform the work described in the tender documents.

The SaintLaurent 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 subcontractor 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 15031, the SaintLaurent 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 SaintLaurent 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.

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Rescinding of the contract for the renovation, replacement and addition of signs in the Saint-Laurent Borough (call to tender 15-031), decision filed on October 20, 2016