Toronto Has Options Other than Toll Roads


If Toronto opened construction projects for competitive bids it could reduce the need for tolls by 50%

November 24, 2016

HAMILTON – Turning the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway into toll roads may raise revenue for infrastructure projects, but it leaves a major problem unsolved: Toronto taxpayers are paying too much for construction projects.

“Since the mid 1970s, Toronto has been paying a completely unnecessary premium on its construction projects,” said Brian Dijkema, Work & Economics Program Director at Cardus. “Because of an obscure section of the Ontario Labour Relations Act, the City of Toronto must restrict which companies are allowed to bid on city work to a small group of unionized Ontario companies.”

Cardus studied projects that were subject to this arcane rule. We found more than half a billion dollars worth of projects per year in Toronto are restricted from the fair, open, and competitive tendering rules that the rest of the province follows. International research indicates opening up city infrastructure projects to truly competitive bids leads to savings of up to a quarter of a project’s cost.

Toronto could have saved almost $150 million in 2012 alone – half of the $300 million the city wants to collect annually through highway tolls.

Opening Toronto’s construction to competition would be a huge step towards fairness for Torontonians and towards maintaining the mayor’s reputation as fiscally responsible. It means that the limited pool of money available to Toronto for infrastructure would go a lot further, and would have the happy benefit of keeping more money in the wallets of those driving the DVP and the Gardiner.

It’s time for Toronto to open up infrastructure projects to truly competitive bidding.

To arrange an interview with Brian Dijkema (DYE’-kuh-muh), contact Daniel Proussalidis, Director of Communications.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus - Director of Communications
613.241.4500 x.508


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.