Ontario Government protecting union supporters, not taxpayers

Merit Canada calls for open tendering at the Toronto District School Board

OTTAWA, Jan. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Merit Canada strongly denounces the Ontario Government's decision to impose a renewed contract with the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) rather than let the Board pursue open tendering that would provide better value to taxpayers.

"It is inconceivable that an organization that has been found to be inefficient in a provincially sponsored report and whose former workers are under police investigation has had its contract renewed.  In no other sector could a service provider that has been documented to be costing far more than it should be rewarded with a new contract that lasts until 2014," stated Terrance Oakey, President of Merit Canada.

The Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council is comprised of the various building trades unions, which were part of the Working Families Coalition that spent millions of dollars to re-elect the Ontario Liberals in the last two provincial elections.

"Short of trying to line up allies before the next election, there is no rational explanation for renewing this contract.  The Board does not want it, the work is proven to be inefficient and more expensive than necessary, and former employees of the Council are under police investigation.  With the Province's finances in desperate shape and school boards lacking funding for classrooms, how can the Ontario Government side with its union friends over students?" added Oakey.

Merit Canada favours an open tendering approach for all projects that spend public funds.  A PwC report that reviewed all of the TDSB's operations also recommended that some work be contracted out.  A Toronto Star investigation documented cases of gross inefficiency by the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, including $3,000 to install an electrical outlet and $143 to attach a pencil sharpener to a wall.

"Renewing the contract with the Council and imposing it on the TDSB is an insult to hard-working taxpayers across the Province.  The Ontario Government should not be rewarding an inefficient and underperforming organization that is costing taxpayers millions more than warranted.  Real working families will be outraged," stated Oakey.

Merit Canada is the national voice of Canada's eight provincial Open Shop construction associations. Open Shop companies and workers build more than 70% of the industrial, commercial/institutional, and residential construction projects coast-to-coast-to-coast. As of June 2011, the Canadian construction sector employed 1.26 million Canadians with 900,000 working in the "open shop" sector.

SOURCE: Merit Canada

For further information:

Terrance Oakey
President, Merit Canada
terrance.oakey@meritcanada.ca
(613) 601-2350