Res #: 14-02M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Highways & Transportation
Resolution No. 14-02M
WHEREAS, the Saskatchewan Department of Highways allows tenders from all Canadian provinces with no preferences; and
WHEREAS, the Alberta government does not allow Saskatchewan companies in to Alberta to tender, thereby protecting their companies; and
WHEREAS, the playing field is not level taxation-wise between the Saskatchewan companies and the Alberta companies and Alberta has been awarded many Saskatchewan Highways contracts in this District; and
WHEREAS, our government dollars are going back to Alberta rather than staying here in Saskatchewan for our own people and economy;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Saskatchewan put in place a protectionist policy for our Saskatchewan contractors to allow them to stay in Saskatchewan rather than move to Alberta.
Response From the Honourable Mark Wartman:
In 1995 the First Ministers of Canada signed an Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), which eliminated discriminatory practices in interprovincial procurement. Essentially all contractors/ suppliers in Canada are able to bid on tendered projects across Canada.
Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation awards contracts to the lowest qualified bidder. The only reason for the department not to award a contract to the lowest bidder would be in the event the lowest bidders was not qualified to do the work. This serves public interest by ensuring the best value for taxpayers' dollars.
In most cases, Saskatchewan firms are successful when bidding on highway projects. Just as the department uses contractors from other provinces, contractors in Saskatchewan are free to work in other provinces under the AIT.
Even though a contract is awarded to an out-of-province contractor, much of the labour force is from Saskatchewan. For example, on paving projects, the majority of the labour force is private trucking. These truckers are usually residents on Saskatchewan.
The department has mechanisms in place to ensure that out-of-province contractors pay their portion of Saskatchewan taxes prior to contract finalization. Tax clearances are obtained from the Department of Finance before releasing contract holdback funds. As well, a special bond is required from all out-of-province contractors.