OGCA urges members not to accept third-party verification prequalification requirements

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CaDCR staff writer

The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) has issued a letter urging its members not to accept contract pre-qualification conditions requiring the use of third-party verification companies.

“We do not support the requirement being imposed by owners that bidders be pre-qualified on the basis of membership in, or agreement with, these third party companies,” OGCA president Clive Thurston wrote in an Oct. 31 memo to members and stakeholders. “This new requirement on the industry does not, in our opinion, provide added value proportionate to its costs. Moreover, we believe that Ontario’s culture of safety”, of “internal responsibility” and focus on due diligence best promotes the conduct we expect from everyone involved in the construction industry.”

In the letter to members, Thurston says that the association supports “a strong auditing system for companies and their safety programs.”

“That is why, we, the IHSA and others invest in and promote training and educational programs such as CoR, that are not just classroom-based but actually reach out to sites,” Thurston wrote. “our on-site audit and verification system s are actually implemented in the field. CoR accreditation, which is a nationally recognized standard, confirms programs and policies are in place and that they are fully implemented. The IHSA accredits that firms have achieved a high level of performance and continue to perform. Infrastructure Ontario, TTC, and Metrolinx, among many others, use COR to pre-qualify their construction procurement.”

Thurston said the third-party services, on the other hand, do not provide “added value to procurement, construction or health and safety as the services they provide are very limited.”

“These companies generally confirm that the contractor has submitted documentation of policies and processes that have been put into place, but not that the contractor has achieved a high standard of health and safety performance or that the written processes and procedures have been implemented.”

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