City council in Whitehorse on June 17, 2019. Whitehorse city council voted in favour of adopting the new policy at its Aug. 10 meeting following a lengthy discussion which resulted in an amendment that will see prospective contractors who have been excluded from bidding able to take to take their case to council for review. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

City adopts new procurement policy

Policy comes into effect Jan. 1, 2021

A new procurement policy will govern City of Whitehorse contracts and purchases beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

Whitehorse city council voted in favour of adopting the new policy at its Aug. 10 meeting following a lengthy discussion that resulted in an amendment that will see prospective contractors who have been excluded from bidding able to take their case to council for review.

Under the policy, the clause dealing with exclusions allows the city to bar contractors from bidding if there are issues with previous work the contractor has done that has gone unresolved or if the contractor is in legal proceedings against the city.

Coun. Dan Boyd first proposed an amendment that would have taken out the exclusion over legal matters, noting that suppliers “have every right” to take the city to court, with Coun. Laura Cabott stating her agreement. Others suggested the provision should remain in the policy to protect the city.

“We’re talking about taxpayer’s dollars,” Coun. Steve Roddick pointed out.

It was Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu who then proposed the provision to keep the clause in the policy, but with the addition that council could review cases of exclusion.

Curteanu suggested that would see seven members reviewing the matter.

After adopting the amendment council members voted in favour of the overall policy that will govern how purchases are made.

One of the more major changes will see city staff given administrative authority in awarding contracts. Currently, contracts are often put to city council for a vote, a situation that raises liability issues, city staff have stated previously.

While staff will deal with contract awards, there would be a “commencement” process in place where council would be required to give its authorization before procurements estimated to be more than $500,000 or deemed to be a significant risk, involve security concerns or are of significant community interest, could proceed.

Cabott argued this will actually give more responsibility to council in moving forward on projects.

The commencement period will also allow council to maintain oversight on work going forward, Roddick said.

“I’m excited about that,” he added.

Also in place are requirements for bi-monthly reporting on forthcoming procurements and semi-annual reports on contract awards of more than $100,000, single or sole source awards, emergency purchases, contract extensions or renewals and any instances of non-compliance with the policy and actions taken to deal with such cases.

A local preference clause is also included that will see the city give preference to a local business where the bid price is not more than three per cent higher than the lowest compliant non-local price where the procurement is between $50,000 and $100,000.

Meanwhile, for contracts that are between $10,000 and $49,000, local preference will be given where the bid is not more than five per cent higher than the lowest non-local bid.

Finally, for contracts of $10,000 and less, local preference would be given where the bid is not more than 10 per cent higher than the lowest compliant non-local bid.

As for what constitutes a local business, it’s defined as “a business that has a valid city or inter-municipal business license and has a physical address located in the Yukon from which its business is conducted.”

Before the policy came forward for a vote by council, a submission by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce on the policy was read into the record.

The chamber noted it was pleased to see the focus on local business and that the city had incorporated some of its earlier recommendations into the policy. It did, however, highlight concerns remaining over the changes that will see administration award contracts rather than being under “council’s watchful eye.”

During discussion, council members highlighted the ongoing efforts that were made to consult and come up with the new policy.

“This has been one of the hardest pieces of policy we have gone through,” Coun. Jan Stick said.

Over the coming months city staff will be working to develop the procedures under the policy before it comes into effect Jan. 1.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read