toronto single bids

City of Toronto has been awarding multimillion-dollar contracts to single bidders

Lucrative contracts awarded by Toronto's municipal government with just one sole bidder are on the rise, and many City contracts handed out to single bidders are measuring in the millions of dollars.

Matt Elliott's City Hall Watcher newsletter analyzed the number of contracts issued by Toronto's Bid Award Panel over the last six years that had just one bidder, with the help of Chat GPT.

The panel, which is comprised of senior staff, designates from the City Manager and the Chief Financial Officer, meet up every week to discuss and approve the award of contracts up to $20 million. 

According to Elliott, the panel has awarded nearly 2,500 contracts since it was first established in 2017 for all sorts of projects, including tree planting and new trucks. 

Reading the panel's agendas, the newsletter notes that many contracts awarded by the City saw only a few bidders, and in some cases, only one bidder, with the data showing that this type of scenario has only been increasing over the past few years. 

Using AI, Elliott was able to make a list of all the panel's minutes since 2017, and found that the vast majority of contracts seen by the group don't get many bids. 

In fact, 75 per cent of contracts got five bidders or less, while 95 per cent got 10 or fewer. Naturally, there are some outliers noted in the report, including 70 biddders for recruitment services and over 150 bids for training programs. 

However, the data is quite different when it comes to contracts that require a bit of specialization, such as making trucks. 

Some recent contracts awarded with a single bid include $917,875 for quality assurance testing, $3.8 million to modernize the office space at City Hall, $1.6 million for golf carts, $5.7 million for toys and furniture for kids, and up to $8.7 million for 19 trucks. 

While the data shows that the number of contracts awarded with a single bidder on the rise, the analysis doesn't include contracts worth more than $20 million or contracts that were intentionally sole-sourced.  

Lead photo by

Roy Harris/Shutterstock

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