Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government says it is launching a new framework for receiving and evaluating infrastructure proposals from the private sector.
Unsolicited proposals (USP) are proposals to the government that were not requested through an existing procurement.
This marks the first time there has been a formal process for submitting USPs to the Ontario government. Through this new approach, private-sector ideas with the potential to improve public infrastructure and related services will be considered using a consistent and fair process.
“An unsolicited proposal framework is a leading global practice to leverage the expertise of the private sector to develop innovative infrastructure solutions to benefit the people of Ontario and make government open for business,”Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott said in a statement Tuesday. “It provides a clear path for industry to share proposals we might otherwise not have developed on our own.”
“We will always work hard for the people, but we must acknowledge that government doesn’t always have all the answers,” she said. “Our new USP framework will ensure we are listening to the people and businesses that build and operate infrastructure in Ontario to find the best ideas and make them a reality.”
About The Unsolicited Proposals (USP) Framework
The program is open for all infrastructure proposals. This includes proposals for transit lines and stations, highways, health care facilities, housing supply projects, energy generation and storage projects and “digital infrastructure” (such as broadband and cellular network expansion).
The province will focus on infrastructure projects that provide the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario, are feasible from a technical and commercial perspective, align with the government’s priorities and provide the greatest value for money for any investment of public dollars.
Potential participants can submit proposals and find more information about the program online at: ontario.ca/proposals.
In statements, some business and association representatives expressed support for the new system.
“We at Hatch are very excited to see Ontario create a process to receive unsolicited proposals,” said Michael Schatz, global managing director, infrastructure, Hatch. “When you consider the size and scope of the infrastructure challenges governments and communities face around the world, innovation and capacity to implement are critical. The proposed process for Ontario encourages beneficial public outcomes in a clear and transparent manner.”
Andy Manahan, executive director, Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) said: The engineering and contractor sectors are involved with infrastructure projects around the world and have ideas for incorporating more innovative approaches. These ideas cannot be effectively generated through traditional procurement processes. Encouraging unsolicited bids will therefore have significant positive implications for infrastructure delivery throughout the province.”