Ontario Passes Legislation to Respond to Protectionist Procurement Policies
Province Standing up for Ontario Workers and Businesses
Ontario is standing up for workers and businesses by taking measured actions in response to discriminatory American procurement policies.
The Fairness in Procurement Act, 2018 was passed today in the Ontario legislature, and will allow the province 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 legislation gives Ontario the flexibility to choose whether and how to respond to discriminatory actions by creating regulations to address those actions. Responsive regulations will be pursued when a U.S. subnational jurisdiction enacts legislation or adopts an unfair, discriminatory policy. The government has posted proposed regulations to respond proportionally to the restrictions set out in New York State and Texas "Buy American" legislation. Proposed regulations are posted for public comment on Ontario's Regulatory Registry.
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.
- 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 valued at 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.
“Our government will continue to advocate for Ontario workers and businesses while maintaining open, transparent and competitive procurement with our U.S. partners. This legislation will allow the government to respond when necessary to any unfair actions taken by the U.S. that limit competitiveness for our local businesses and threaten Ontario jobs.”
“Protecting Ontario’s economic interests is our top priority. With this legislation, we are standing up for our people by making sure we are prepared to respond to unfair actions. Our workers need to have the support to access markets and grow their businesses.”
“Ontario and the U.S. both benefit from a strong, balanced economic relationship, including through open procurement. With this legislation, our government is taking action to advocate for the interests of Ontario businesses and workers, not only to emphasize the importance of reciprocal access to state government procurement projects, but also to seek ways to strengthen and promote our long-standing business relationships with our partners south of the border.”