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  • February 20, 2018

Province Standing up for Ontario Workers and Businesses

Proposed Legislation Would Respond to “Buy American” Procurement Policies

February 20, 2018

Ontario is standing up for workers and businesses with the introduction of legislation that, if passed, would allow the government to take measured actions in response to discriminatory American procurement policies. 

The proposed Fairness in Procurement Act would allow Ontario to take responsive action to address unfair government procurement practices that are being implemented in New York State and Texas, and considered in other states. These policies represent a worrying trend towards protectionism and prevent Ontario businesses from accessing cross-border procurement opportunities.

The proposed legislation would give Ontario the flexibility to choose whether and how to respond to discriminatory actions, by creating regulations to address those actions. The responsive regulations, if made, would be pursued when a U.S. subnational jurisdiction enacts legislation or adopts an unfair, discriminatory policy. These regulations would be designed to be in proportion to restrictions made by public sector purchasers in the opposing U.S. jurisdiction.

Defending the interests of Ontario workers and businesses is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The New York Buy American Act, which is scheduled to be implemented on April 1, 2018, could prevent Ontario iron from being supplied for New York State public works contracts over $1 million (USD) for surface roads or bridges.
  • The Texas Buy American Act, enacted on September 1, 2017, requires that all construction contracts awarded by all state government entities require the use of U.S. made iron and steel, with some exceptions.
  • Bills tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario undergo three readings (votes) before receiving Royal Assent from the Lieutenant Governor and becoming law. Traditionally, between second and third reading, bills are referred to a legislative committee that solicits public feedback on the bill and considers amendments to the bill.

Background Information

Quotes

“Ontario is committed to free trade, while maintaining fair procurement practices between our province and the U.S. Our proposed legislation would allow the government to respond when necessary to any unfair actions taken by the U.S. that limit competitiveness for our local business and threaten Ontario jobs.”

Eleanor McMahon

President of the Treasury Board

“Our government values fairness and opportunity, and we will continue to advocate for open and competitive procurement processes. It is crucial for Ontario’s economic prosperity that we continue working to strengthen and promote our long-standing business relationships.”

Steven Del Duca

Minister of Economic Development and Growth

“Open and competitive procurement practices benefit people on both sides of the border. Our government’s priority is to ensure that Ontario businesses and workers have access to other markets and are treated fairly when operating within those markets. Our proposed legislation would achieve that by creating a level playing field between Ontario and U.S. states when it comes to government procurement.”

Michael Chan

Minister of International Trade 

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