Liberals Traded Away Winter Safety for Flashy Presentations – McDonell

April 29, 2015

 

 

QUEEN’S PARK – The provincial Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk released her report on winter maintenance procurement by the Ministry of Transportation, which highlighted how best practices and common-sense safety precautions were left out of the maintenance contracts and the procurement process.

 

“Throughout the report, we see the Liberal Government letting go of best practice standards and accountability measures. For instance, Ministry staff did not include any buffer time in the contracts, did not enforce a plowing circuit time standard that had served the Province well and, shockingly, ignored the Ministry’s own studies highlighting the need for extra plowing on particularly collision-prone highway stretches and ramps. In our region, the new contract came into force in May 2013 and saw snow plows reduced from 59 to 32 units, contributing to the severity of numerous multi-vehicle incidents”

 

The Auditor-General highlights flaws in the two-step contract award process. The initial bidder screening ranked interested contractors on a set of criteria and allowed those who scored 70% or higher to proceed to stage 2, where the lowest bid would win automatically.

 

“The Liberals made the screening criteria a joke” MPP McDonell stated. “A contractor could move to stage 2 without proving they had sufficient equipment to meet circuit time standards. In the auditor’s own words, the adequacy of contractors’ equipment accounted for 15%, while the formatting and physical presentation of the proposal accounted for 13%. We knew the winter maintenance system had broken down two winters ago; now we know what our residents’ safety was traded for. Those who signed off on this scheme and let it happen should be dismissed”.

 

The report also analyzed the oversight and accountability flaws in the new performance-based contract procurement.

 

“Reporting and monitoring standards were left out of the contracts altogether” MPP McDonell said. “Some contractors’ inspectors reported false highway condition information, while others were over-stretched and had to monitor highway segments in excess of 300km. This information was then provided to the 511 system, misleading drivers. This Government has crossed the line from incompetence into reckless negligence, and people’s lives were put in danger. When is this Government going to put the best interests of Ontarians first?”

 

The report is available online

·         English: http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/winterhighway_en.pdf

·         French: http://www.auditor.on.ca/fr/rapports_fr/winterhighway_fr.pdf