Montreal: irregularities for a computer contract of several million denounced

Montréal: irregularities in a multi-million IT contract exposed

Montreal City Hall.

Obvious shortcomings in the granting of an IT service contract led the Inspector General of the Office of General Inspectorate (BIG), Brigitte Bishop, to recommend that the municipal council terminate the contract as soon as possible.

Following denunciations, the BIG became interested in call for tenders no. 17-16146 won by Onix Networking Canada Inc. concerning “Provision of professional services and acquisition of a cloud computing collaboration tools and office suite”. While the denunciations alleged favoritism in the awarding of the contract, the OIG noted irregularities elsewhere, namely in the conditions of the call for tenders.

Dating from 2018, the contract, worth $15,911,288, offered Google's G-Suite as a cloud solution. It has an effective period of four years, renewable three times for a period of 24 months each time. In total, the contract amounts to $35,032,634.56.

According to the investigation report, irregularities relating to the price and the non-compliance with an essential condition of the tender documents during the award were noted. “The City of Montreal had enough information, at the time of the analysis of the tenders, to conclude to these major irregularities and had consequently to reject the tender of Onix”, specifies the document.

The Inspector General is of the opinion that the breaches noted during the investigation are serious and serious and would justify termination of the contract resulting from call for tenders 17-16146.< /p>Extract from the BIG report

Price irregularities and contract requirements

Specifically, the price irregularity concerns the six-year option. Onix has added pricing notes to its bid slip. The company specified that it “cannot contractually commit to offering the same discounts for the following six optional years. Google licensing prices will need to be reassessed before renewal dates.”

“By specifying that the price of the licenses will not be maintained after four years and that it will depend on the price of Google, the price of Onix's bid is not determined or determinable for the option years”, specifies the report. On the contrary, the call for tenders mentions that the option years cannot exceed the percentage increase of the consumer price index of Statistics Canada.

However, the OIG did not not conclude that the Onix company benefited from favouritism, even if “the investigation shows that the evaluation of the tenders was not uniform for all the competitors of call for tenders 17-16146”. The Onix bid was accepted despite failing to meet certain tender requirements such as #48 which required blocking access to a user after a set number of attempts.


The submissions of the companies SIA Innovations Inc. and Free Software Linagora Inc. were rejected at the stage of the evaluation of the technical compliance of their submissions.

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