Ontario PC Municipal Affairs Critic and former AMO President comments on a Municipal Outsourcing Award, Outsourcing Metrolinx and Open Tendering


What:  OTAG CITY WATCH - A Rogers Ottawa Experts Community TV Show on Innovating Transit

Where: Channel 22

When: Monday, February 25th, 2013, 8.30pm - 9.30pm


Show Guests: 


Steve Clark is a Member of Provincial Parliament, Ontario PC Critic for Municipal Affairs and former President of the Association for Ontario Municipalities. Clark was elected mayor of Brockville, at age 22; he was the Canada’s youngest Mayor and served for 3 terms. He later worked as a journalist for the Brockville Recorder, as an admin. assistant to MPP Bob Runciman, and as the chief admin. officer of Leeds and the Thousand Islands.


John McBride is the CEO of PPP Canada, formerly the Executive Vice-President of the Canadian International Development Agency, President and CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, as Assistant Deputy Minister at Industry Canada, and as an Executive Director at the Treasury Board Secretariat.


Randal O’Toole is a Senior Fellow from the CATO Institute. An active cyclist who rides thousands of miles and loves riding passenger trains; he is the author of Fixing transit, a case for Privatization. O'Toole is a Yale University Fellow and Utah State University Visiting Professor and former lecturer at the University of California


Benjamin Dachis is a Senior Policy Analyst at the C.D. Howe Institute. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Toronto, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA in Economics from the University of Toronto.  


Show Hosts: OTAG President- Kevin MacDonald, MTAG President- Ade Olumide

To hear comments from MPP Steve Clark on some outsourcing at Ontario’s municipal transit system (Metrolinx), open tendering where non-unionized contractors are blocked from municipal tenders and a potential Municipal Outsourcing Award to encourage out of the box thinking by municipalities, tune in on Feb 25 to watch the show.


In most cases MTAG does not 100% privatization, but if a municipality reduced their head count by 25% over 5 years through outsourcing at the pace of natural attrition that would create private sector jobs and likely create taxpayer value, that would be a positive trend. Some examples of outsourcing case studies are:


HT / IT / Finance / Admin: Halifax is preparing to outsource HR and IT services like SAP to the Province of Nova Scotia. Tucson Arizona School Service Board voted to outsource services like payroll, maintenance, transport in a money saving effort. Boca Beach & Park District in Florida has just accepted proposals to outsource their financial management.


Auditor General: Sudbury is debating the office of the auditor general. A councillor suggested that to increase AG independence, the office should report to a Committee that includes Councillors and members of the public, another Councillor suggested outsourcing would be cheaper.


Payment / ID Cards: The US government is investing in a pilot project where identity cards could be outsourced to banks or mobile phone operators that already have a lot of personal information.


Police: The police department in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire in the UK were in negotiation with the security firm G4S to outsource HR, IT and finance. Their position is that all police support services should be subject to market forces.


Fire: A veteran of Kitchener City Council says that to cut costs, outsourcing some or all of the fire department operations must be considered. A 2013 report by the International City Management Association Center for Public Safety Management recommended Las Vagas privatize ambulance service to providers like American Medical Response. Another option was for fire fighters to transport patients since 88% percent of fire fighter responses were due to health issues but 72% of the time, the patient was transported by an ambulance.


Youth Centre / Elderly Care: According to AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario), cities that have outsourced management of elderly care include Algoma, Kawartha Lakes, Manitoulin, and Muskoka. In Muskoka, their Home operated with a $0.4 million yearly taxpayer subsidy, after privatization, the subsidy ended in 3 years. Sonoma County in California is looking to outsource their Youth Centre to the private sector.


Hydro / Water: Redding Electric Utility in California has outsourced their billing call centre. LaGrange in Georgia has outsourced stuffing of utility bills.


Transit More Than One: York Region has four private bus providers and each supplier cannot have more than 50% market share of four service zones. One labour dispute cannot shut down any zone. Phoenix, Arizona embraced a “more than one” supplier delivery / price per route mile payment model, so their services were not affected by downsizing during the financial meltdown. Stockholm, Sweden, also has a “more than one” supplier delivery model, they contract to 8 transit service providers.


Social Media: Best practice could be to outsource the writing, daily posting and monitoring but in source the initial content and responses that require new content.


Outsourcing at A Higher Cost?: In Servier County, Tennessee, the City has to decide between keeping billing in house at $0.50 cents or outsourcing at $0.51 cents and no post-employment liabilities.