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City auditor to investigate Stage 2 LRT evaluation process

The City of Ottawa’s auditor general will investigate the evaluation process that led to SNC-Lavalin winning the $1.6-billion contract to extend the Trillium Line, even though the company didn’t meet the technical threshold for the light rail project.

Auditor Ken Hughes began his report to the city’s audit committee on Monday morning by adding the LRT Stage 2 investigation to his 2019 work plan, and putting off a proposed compliance audit of travel and hospitality.

At the council meeting of March 6, where the $4.66-billion LRT Stage 2 plan was approved in a 19-3 vote, Coun. Diane Deans asked whether the SNC-Lavalin — which was the preferred proponent for the $1.6-billion Trillium Line contract —met the minimum technical score of 70 per cent.

Neither city officials nor their hired lawyers overseeing the procurement would answer, citing confidentiality of the process.

On March 22, CBC News reported that SNC-Lavalin had not met the technical threshold.

Auditor received calls, emails

“After receiving emails and telephone calls from the public and from councillors, I conducted some research and consulted with most of the members of council,” Hughes told the committee.

“We reviewed the delegation of authority, and accordingly we would like to amend the previously submitted annual work plan. We are going to add an audit of the Stage 2 LRT procurement.”

Hughes added that although his office is bound by the same confidentiality requirements under the procurement agreement, under the Municipal Act he “has access to everything.” He assured councillors he will look at all the data and interview all those involved.

Other audits being undertaken by Hughes’s office include:

  • Audit of Bylaw and Regulatory Services — Bylaw Enforcement — Operational Audit.
  • Audit of Fleet Services — Operational Audit.
  • Audit of Lansdowne Accounting/Waterfall — Compliance Audit.
  • Audit of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Contingency Fund — Compliance Audit.
  • Audit of Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe — Operational Audit.
  • Audit of Shenkman Arts Centre — Operational Audit.

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