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EU trade agreement spells increased competition for Canadian engineers

A document obtained by the Toronto Star newspaper suggests that the terms of Canada's pending free trade agreement with the European Union will limit the ability of municipalities and provincial governments to specify local firms to supply...


A document obtained by the Toronto Star newspaper suggests that the terms of Canada’s pending free trade agreement with the European Union will limit the ability of municipalities and provincial governments to specify local firms to supply goods and services.

The provision will mean consulting engineers could face competition from their European counterparts when bidding for projects.

On August 14 the Toronto Star reported that the text of the EU-Canada trade agreement has been finalized and that parts of the document have been leaked in Europe. According to the report, the Comprehensive, Trade and Investment Agreement (CETA) will require that provincial governments ministries allow EU corporations to bid on contracts over $300,000 for the supply of goods and services.

The $300,000 threshold for opening up bidding will also apply to municipal governments, but there are exception such as energy projects, school boards and academic institutions, hospitals and social service agencies.

Public agencies that operate facilities like airports, water facilities and electricity companies will have a higher threshold of $550,000 before they need to open up the bidding to EU companies for goods and services.

For construction contracts themselves, the threshold will remain at $7.9 million.

The newspaper quoted Scott Sinclair of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, who said: “This is by far the most sweeping government procurement agreement Canada has ever negotiated. Provincial and municipal governments are going to lose an important tool for improving their economies and creating jobs.”

To read the article in the Toronto Star, click here.