Richard Mostyn, minister of the Department of Highways and Public Works, talks to media about a new procurement policy in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

New procurement policy set to be up and running this spring

The last major procurement overhaul occurred in 1995, Mostyn said

Come April 1, the Yukon government will roll out a new procurement policy, touted by Minister Richard Mostyn as being the most significant rewrite in a “generation.”

In 2016, the Procurement Advisory Panel submitted 11 recommendations, all of which have been followed through on, he told reporters on Feb. 14, when the policy was unveiled.

They include making the bidding process more independent from government, random contract checks to ensure compliance, a five-year capital plan, updating the definition of Yukon businesses and annual trade agreement exceptions in 10 contracts intended for local companies.

For the latter, Mostyn, minister of the Department of Highways and Public Works, said these exceptions are worth $1 million each, and criteria has been developed to make a competitive bidding process.

“(It’s the) first in the country to use those,” he said, adding that more details about this component will be disclosed next week.

Fast-tracking the recommendations were an election promise, he said.

“We set a target of two years to get the job done. I’m happy to report we’ve made progress on every single one of those recommendations.

“The changes that we’re putting into place is because there was widespread dissatisfaction and a lack of confidence in the system that we inherited when we took government,” Mostyn continued. “I’ve been working really hard to restore confidence in that system, to make the changes we need.”

Other developments include hemming in invitational bids to roughly $100,000.

The last major policy retooling was in 1995, Mostyn said.

It’s not over yet. The government continues to work with First Nations on a policy that’s specific to them, which has never been done before, Mostyn said. This work is expected to carry on beyond April 1.

“This new ‘from-scratch’ policy will be embedded within the updated procurement policy and will provide direction about increasing opportunities for First Nations to secure government contracts,” according to a document that outlines changes spurred by the advisory panel.

Representatives from 12 of 14 Yukon First Nations are currently working to draft a policy, Mostyn said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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