Quebec reviewing how it awards contracts in wake of corruption inquiry

ESTEREL, Que. – The Quebec government is reviewing the way it does business in the wake of revelations from the province’s corruption inquiry and police probes into bid-rigging.

Provincial Treasury Board President Stephane Bedard says the government is examining how contracts are awarded in all sectors — not just in construction.

Information technology is one area under study but Bedard insists nothing is exempt. He made the comments during a media briefing at a Parti Quebecois caucus retreat.

Quebec has been rocked in recent years by allegations of kickbacks in the awarding of contracts and questionable contributions to political parties at the provincial and municipal level.

Corruption and organized-crime influence was a major issue in last year’s provincial election.

Premier Pauline Marois’ government has brought in new measures to add to tougher regulations implemented by the previous Liberal administration.

Now a government source tells The Canadian Press that the tender system is also being reviewed.

The source says the rule of awarding the contract to the lowest bidder could be questioned in future, for example, if the government is aware that the bidder cannot do the job at that price.

The government is now gathering information on best practices being used in Ontario, the United States and elsewhere in the world.

The new rules will be implemented gradually.