Yukon Party interim leader Stacey Hassard says the Yukon government has “missed opportunities” by waiting too long to use new trade rules that allow it to limit certain contracts to only Yukon companies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

YG slow to reveal tender info for new public contracts

Work will be exempt from national free-trade rules

The Yukon government is taking advantage of new trade rules that allow it to limit certain contracts to only Yukon companies.

But getting any further specifics on how the government is spending that public money is more of a challenge, even when a few of the tenders have already gone out. That’s because those tenders are not available on the government’s public system.

Highways and Public Works Minster Richard Mostyn touched on the government’s plans this week at the annual Industry Conference in Whitehorse.

A part of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement created last year means the Yukon can pick up to 10 contracts per year worth less than a million dollars each and allow only Yukon companies to bid on them.

In an interview Feb. 22 Mostyn said the government is going to issue 10 contracts by the end of March using the exception. That means those contracts will qualify as being part of the 2017-18 fiscal year which is about to end.

Details of which projects have been chosen will be made public “sometime in early March” Mostyn said. “I think there’s a little bit more work to be done on putting those contracts out.”

But three of the 10 contracts have already been let, the minister confirmed.

After originally not saying which projects those were, the department of Highways and Public Works revealed tenders have been issued to have the roofs replaced at the school in Carcross and at the WCB building in Whitehorse. The third tender relates to the Porter Creek Secondary School generator. No other details were provided.

Unlike most government contracts that are publicly available, these three tenders are “invitational” meaning they are not posted on the government’s public tender management system.

Department spokesperson Cassandra Kelly said the tenders won’t be going online because invitational tenders are “not considered a public tender.”

They are “a request that goes out to a limited number of bidders or proponents who have been identified by project managers,” she said. They’re chosen based on market research, by looking at a supplier directory or by looking at company’s who have bid on similar tenders in the past.

Kelly said she “couldn’t speak to” why invitational tenders are not a part of the public registry. She said invitational tenders are used to “to ensure that we can limit competition and take the greatest advantage of this opportunity to benefit our local economies.”

She did not mention whether the other seven contracts slated to be issued under the new rules would also be invitational.

The public will be informed by March 1 which 10 projects the government has chosen. At that point the projects’ names, locations and details of how they meet the requirements of the trade agreement will be posted on the government’s procurement website, not the tender site.

Projects are registered on the public contract registry once there is a contract, Kelly said.

It doesn’t appear Mostyn knew the tenders that had already been issued would not be available publicly.

When questioned about why projects that had already been tendered were being kept private he said someone “may be able to go on the tender management system to see what they are.”

Public tenders would have details including a closing date and specifics about what work was going to be done and when. The public would also be able to see which companies were interested in bidding and what bids had been placed after a tender closed.

The late-night email from Kelly revealing which three tenders had been issued included no other details.

Mostyn said his department has worked with other departments to come up with criteria for which projects would qualify for the exception, but wouldn’t say what that criteria was. That detail will be coming “in the coming weeks,” he said.

Mostyn said the projects are being distributed between Whitehorse and the communities.

None would get close to being worth the $1 million cap, he said.

“It will be somewhere I would think in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for each of these contracts.”

Yukon Party interim leader Stacey Hassard said he will be waiting to see what criteria the government has used to pick projects.

He criticized the Liberals for taking too long to make a decision.

“I think that because the minister has delayed so long in starting to use it there’s been missed opportunities,” he said.

“I can’t say which opportunities have been missed because we may never know just because of the fact that the master has waited so long to do this.”

Mostyn said the Yukon will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to use this part of the new trade deal.

He said his department will keep an eye on how this process works and refine it for the next fiscal year.

“In broad strokes what we wanted to accomplish was to keep as much money in the Yukon economy as we could instead of flushing it all beyond the borders to other jurisdictions.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Canadian Free Trade Agreementgovernment secrecyYukon Department of Highways and Public Works

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read