The bids and tenders website that the Yukon government uses no longer publicly displays certain procurement information, which the Official Opposition argues reduces transparency.
According to the website, due to a recent system update, the tender documents, plan takers, award results and other details are only available to account holders. Accounts must be registered under a legal company name.
In an Aug. 8 interview, Highways and Public Works critic Stacey Hassard of the Yukon Party said there was nothing wrong with the way the system was before. He doesn’t get the point of making Yukoners register.
“This kind of problem is getting bigger,” he said.
As noted in the Yukon Party’s Aug. 8 release, previously accounts were only required to submit a tender and Yukoners could openly access bid documents, bidders, awards and prices.
“This move by the Liberal government continues their trend of reducing transparency on bids and tendering,” Hassard said in the release.
“Information involving public spending should be easily accessible to Yukoners,” Hassard said.
Cabinet communications responded to the Yukon Party’s release in an email statement, attributing the system change to security improvements.
“On the last day of the legislative sitting in 2012, the Yukon Party used a guillotine clause to pass amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The amendments allowed the government to deny access to some government documents — including briefing notes prepared for ministers — making it one of only three Canadian jurisdictions with such restrictions at the time,” reads the statement.
The statement indicates the territorial government remains committed to openness and transparency.
“This is why we made our ministers’ briefing binders available online when we amended the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in 2021.”
The government uses a third-party platform to post bid opportunities, the statement continues. Per the statement, the platform now requires users to create a free account to view various aspects of bids due to data scraping — when other hosting sites copy bids posted on the platform.
“Despite the changes to account requirements, which protect contractors from fraud, no other functions of the site have been affected by this change and all information is still free to access,” reads the statement.
Contact Dana Hatherly at firstname.lastname@example.org