Would you pay $143 for a pencil sharpener? How about $3,000 for an electrical outlet?

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2012


SIMCOE – Until Ontario ends sole-source tendered public sector contracts we will continue to see abuses of the taxpayer purse according to Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.

Barrett commented following Toronto Star revelations that the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) payed out $143 for a pencil sharpener and $3,000 for an electrical outlet for work by members of the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, with whom the TDSB is required to contract for virtually all such projects.

“These are the type of abuses we in Opposition address in our White Paper: Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets,” Barrett noted. “Closed and sole-sourced tendering, as we see in the case of the TDSB, creates monopolistic bidding conditions that inflate costs and stifle job creation.

“These practices need to be abolished across Ontario’s public sector so these scams don’t have a chance to fester in the first place.”

The White Paper has been released in the midst of the Toronto Star series on the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, accused of abusing its favoured contractor status with the TDSB to intimidate workers, school superintendents and principals against speaking out. Recent revelations include handing out a quarter-million dollars in electronics store gift cards to school construction and maintenance workers from what one source calls a Liberal “slush fund”.

The Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets White Paper also proposes giving an individual worker a choice whether to become or remain a union member; making union leaders more accountable to unionized employees; and reforming Ontario’s workplace agencies to encourage job creation.

– 30 –

For more information contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446, 905-765-8413 or 1-800-903-8629