Consultations with major public institutions

In 2020, OCA met regularly with such major local purchasers as The Ottawa Hospital (to discuss contractor prequalification) and Public Services and Procurement Canada (to review alternate construction-delivery options). We also worked closely with the new senior procurement teams at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University to discuss the new procurement procedures each has put in place in recent months.

Campaigns for industry best practices

The COVID-19 pandemic created an alarming trend among some public-sector bidders. With limited staff in offices in the spring of 2020, some began accepting bid submission from contractors over email. OCA was among a group of Ontario local construction associations that strongly opposed this practice. Alongside our allies, we launched a campaign to remind purchasers of the logistical and ethical risks associated with this practice.

Joint meetings with the City of Ottawa

OCA’s Standard Practices Committee normally meets quarterly with representatives from the City of Ottawa to discuss items of mutual interest. On the agenda for the joint meetings held in 2020 were such subjects as responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes created by Ontario’s new Construction Act, electronic procurement technology, the city’s planned implementation of the Certificate of Recognition program as a condition of contract, irregular contract clauses relating to frivolous requests for information and rejected shop drawings, and finally, the city’s Vendor Performance Management system.

Contractor security clearances

We continue to advocate for the simplification and harmonization of security clearances of trades workers on federal-government construction sites, as per a recent message to members from OCA president John DeVries. Clearances for work on the highest-security sites in particular is highly time consuming and can seldom be ported from one project site to another. To advance this aim, we wrote letters explaining our position and our concerns to several members of Parliament, and held a video conference with senior government officials to bring attention to the issue. We further committed to meeting with officials from the Treasury Board of Canada and other security-focused organizations in 2021.