Summary of Recommendations

The following summary provides the reader with a précis of the Yukon Hire Commission's recommendations, together with a rationale and overview of public comments. The recommendations in this section are grouped differently than in the main text of the report; the number in parenthesis at the end of each recommendation refers to the number assigned to that recommendation in the main text. The short version is simply for convenience. The full text of each recommendation, as found in the main text, is the Commission's formal position.

Definitions

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
For all government hiring purposes, except for hiring on construction contracts, a "Yukon Resident" is a person who holds a Yukon Health Insurance Plan card. (#3) Requires minimum three months. Easy to check. Not as onerous as the hiring requirement for construction because problem of Outside workers not as great. Public feels 3-12 months is appropriate period for "Yukon Resident."
For hiring on construction contracts, maintain the existing Business Incentive Program definition for "Yukon Resident," i.e. a person who has held a Yukon Health Insurance Plan card for at least three months. (#5) Requires minimum six months. Consistent with current Business Incentive Program definition. Discourages transient workers from Outside. Easy to check. Public feels different definitions for different purposes was OK (e.g. health vs. tax systems) but consideration was not given to different definitions for different industries. Construction industry wants to keep present definition as it is working well.
A "Yukon Business", for the purpose of any government preference policy, is one that meets two or more of the following criteria: employs Yukon Resident(s); has real property in the Yukon; has an office in the Yukon; or is owned by a "Yukon Resident." (#14) Public agreed that the primary reason to give preference to Yukon businesses was that more benefits would flow to Yukon people. Criteria to measure this easily could not be found, however. Definition needed mostly for sole sourcing. No consensus on mechanism, only principle. Suggested criteria fairly represent public comments, dispute might arise depending on weight given to each item.

Better Use of Existing Tools

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(a) Revise Contract Regulations
Require contracting departments to discuss contract specifications and tendering plans with industry in order to ensure all opportunities and efficiencies are taken into account and that potential Yukon vendors or manufacturers are not excluded. (#15)

Amend the contract regulations so that sole sourcing to Outside firms is allowed only for contracts worth less than $1,000. (#16)

Where competition is present, issue invitational tenders/proposals only to Yukon businesses. Any invitational tender must include Yukon vendors if they exist. Review and revise, if necessary, the mechanism for ensuring businesses have equitable access to government contracts (sole source and invitational). (#17)

Continue to recognize the importance of buying from "Yukon Businesses" by making best efforts to contract for services in the community in which they are used or from Yukon vendors. Require a minimum of 20 per cent of total points assigned to reflect Yukon preference. Require the contracting department to discuss request for proposal criteria with industry. (#24)

Create a mechanism to adjust sole sourcing limits for particular industries or types of contracts. (#26)

Government/Industry discussions to determine proposal criteria, opportunities to maximize local content, and government needs.

Commission research found most "necessary" sole source contracts Outside were for less than $1,000.

Favouring Yukon vendors when competition is present may cost the Yukon government a little more, but benefits of the multiplier effect of local spending will outweigh cost disadvantage.

Present "best efforts" provisions in regulations need to be strengthened; assigning percentage of total points assigned is means of ensuring significant consideration for Yukon content and benefits. More communication between government and potential vendors often is the simplest way to address the problems identified by the Yukon Hire Commission.

Increasing sole sourcing limits for all types of contracting would allow more potential for abuse, while decreasing present limits would unreasonably increase workload and inefficiency. However, there appear to be certain types of contracts that should have the sole source limits adjusted to the benefit of both government and business.

Strong public support for more Yukon preference in value-driven contracts, with understanding that cost might increase slightly as a result.

Strong public support for maintaining status quo on sole sourcing and invitational tender limits, although a number of industries wanted them revised (up or down).

Public feels Yukon government should retain option for contracting Outside, as local preference should not be a "licence to gouge."

Consultants feel strongly that present sole sourcing system favours some and discriminates unfairly against others.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(b) Improve Contracting Practices
Ensure that construction bids list subcontractors. Ensure that subcontractors listed in a bid do in fact carry out the work. (#19)

Require general contractors on construction contracts to invite Yukon and/or local companies to bid on subcontracts. (#23)

Ensure government departments understand and use the Source List. Review the structure and content of the Source List with the goal of improving its utility to government contracting authorities. (# 25)

Ensure clear evaluation criteria and comprehensive terms of reference in all government proposals. Ensure all government departments apply contract regulations consistently. (#27)

Ensure evaluations of proposal include points to give incentive to Outside firms to develop partnerships with Yukon firms, and/or Yukon firms to hire Outside experts for skills transfer and expertise. (#28)

Bid shopping is a destructive practice which leads to lower wages, poorer quality work. Enforcing existing requirements for listing subcontracts will reduce abuse.

Increase opportunities for Yukon subcontractors. General contractors do not always use Yukon subcontractors, or may not know what services are available.

"Yukon preference" is not sufficient in specifications or criteria; tenders and Requests For Proposals must give explicit direction as to how Yukon content and value will be measured.

Government departments now under no obligation to promote skills transfer, even when government goal is to cultivate local expertise. Possible links with Yukon Training Strategy.

Bid shopping is strongly opposed as unfair and as encouraging Outside subcontractors.

Public strongly supports ensuring potential Yukon subcontractors have the opportunity to bid.

Public strongly prefers incentives over requirements. Public feels Yukon Government within its rights to use contract criteria and specifications to advance its agenda, provided criteria were up front, appropriate, and not financially unreasonable.

Public feels tenders sometimes written inconsistently or inadequately, and that government should ensure staff is properly trained to write tenders/Requests For Proposals.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(c) Revise Business Incentive Program
Investigate extending the BIP to other industries where behavioural change(s) are needed and achievable, e.g. trucking. (#9)

Include employee benefits such as employer costs for supplementary health care and employee-controlled pensions when calculating BIP rebate. (#21)

Other industries not now covered by BIP say they would like to be considered. Trucking industry could benefit from BIP to reverse trend of firms relocating offices Outside and employing Outside drivers.

BIP rebate presently covers wages only; by including legitimate benefits, BIP then treats contractors evenly whether their workforce is union or non-union.

Public wants government to look at extending BIP to other industries, provided benefit to the Yukon can be shown. In industries where BIP would be impossible to apply, same result can be achieved by increasing "Yukon preference" points in value-driven contracts. Extending BIP to trucking industry not discussed in public workshops, but is supported by the Yukon Trucking Association and Teamsters.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(d) Revise Employment Standards Act
Amend the definition of "employee" in the Employment Standards Act so as to include "contract workers." Perform more audits of construction contracts. (#7)

Amend the Employment Standards Act as follows: (a) Add a $500 fine per incorrect employment record; (b) Add an administrative penalty of 10 per cent of the amount owed to an employee, to be paid to the employee; (c) Add the option of third-party complaints, when reasonable grounds are provided. (#18)

Raise the Fair Wage so that it is closer to the union scale. Review the Fair Wage Schedule every three years. (#20)

Illegal labour contracts are used extensively in the Yukon, based on an analysis of payroll records. Reducing use of labour contracts will lead to increased use of Yukon workers, help ensure Fair Wage Schedule followed.

Current "penalty" simply requires employer to pay moneys owed, so no disincentive to violating Fair Wage. Only affected workers can now file complaint; wronged workers intimidated from acting for fear of blacklist since employers will know who complained.

Originally, Fair Wage Schedule was close to union wage scale; Fair Wage Schedule now considerably lower. Increase to Fair Wages ensures more fair competition among Yukon contractors.

Strong and unanimous public support for upholding the law, ensuring all people pay taxes, ensuring Fair Wage is paid.

Strong public support for increasing penalties so that system discourages employers from underpaying workers, encourages accurate record-keeping.

Strong public support for Fair Wage Schedule as it "levels the playing field" for contractors bidding on government jobs.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(e) Improve Education/Awareness
Publish, at least annually, in Yukon newspapers the items/services purchased from Outside businesses. Immediately put the Contract Registry on the government web site. (#22)

Develop new methods to increase public awareness of contract regulations, etc. (#31)

Train Yukon government employees who write or evaluate bids/proposals to ensure consistency, full understanding of the contract regulations, etc. (#32)

Ensure that training offered to Yukon government staff for tender writing, project management, etc. continues to be made available to municipal and First Nations government staff. (#35)

Continue to allow municipalities to use Yukon government for capital project management, tender writing, etc. (#36)

Improve communication among the four levels of government and major utilities on capital projects. (#37)

Ensure better internal planning and communications with respect to contracting. (#38)

Increasing public awareness leads to better accountability for contracting. Also, is straightforward way to inform business of potential opportunities for sales/service.

Despite education services already offered by Contract Administration, public still uninformed or misinformed about contracting system.

Business concerned about inconsistent standard of requests for proposals/tenders issued by government--usually varying by department. Government contracting regulations need to be delivered fairly and consistently.

Extending Yukon government training to other governments will benefit business and help advance Yukon Hire philosophy and policies beyond the Yukon government.

Offering project management services help municipalities and contractors. Also may help extend Yukon Hire philosophy and policies beyond Yukon government and would enhance the consistency and quality of municipal contracting practices.

Governments and utilities are the main source of construction projects in the Yukon.

Public concern about contracting "problems" often disappeared/reduced once existing rules explained.

Public feels tenders sometimes written inconsistently or inadequately, and that government should ensure staff is properly trained to write tenders.

Public support for more education for public.

Public wants to see better co-ordination among governments, but doubtful it can happen.

Public supports government operating as efficiently as possible.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(f) Strengthen Training/Apprenticeship
Require contractors on government construction projects to hire certified tradespeople, gradually increasing the number required to 100 per cent of the non-apprentice workforce within 10 years. (#8)

Require that government capital plans have links to skills and training requirements identified and acted upon. (#10)

Ensure government construction contracts require Yukon apprentices to be hired, e.g. set a minimum apprentice-to-journey worker ratio. (#11)

Certified tradespeople deliver quality work efficiently, safely. Present system does not provide incentives to hire certified tradespeople over other workers. Ensure that in rural Yukon, qualified local workers (certified or uncertified) hired ahead of certified workers from Whitehorse.

Present capital planning system seldom looks at human resources needed.

Present incentive system not generating enough apprenticeship opportunities. Possible links with Yukon Training Strategy.

Public supports compulsory certification in principle, as trained workers are preferable to untrained workers, but feel that it should not be done right now because of lack of certified workers, bias against rural Yukon (due to lack of training opportunities), and perception that present training system is not capable of increasing certification.

Public strongly prefers incentives over requirements. Public feels the government is within its rights to use contracts to advance its agenda, provided criteria were up front, appropriate, and not financially unreasonable.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(g) Government Hiring
Ensure that hiring is at first limited to Yukon applicants; only if skills are not available, or if there are special circumstances, should Outside applicants be considered. Maintain existing Public Service Commission requirement for Ministerial approval of Outside hires. (#1)

Ensure that the Education Department maintains up-to-date inventories for each category of Education Act employees. (#2)

Foster more job opportunities for young people by developing a youth hiring program. (#4)

Makes sure "local talent pool" is checked quantitatively and qualitatively before going Outside. Possible links with Yukon Training Strategy.

Current lack of younger civil servants already prompting concern about succession planning, future Yukon government capacity. Would increase opportunities for recent graduates, which now go to older people because of their greater experience. Possible links with Yukon Training Strategy.

Public feels strongly that the availability of locals should be checked first, before advertising outside. Outside advertising should be used only when there are clearly no locals capable of doing the job.

Public supports solutions that would encourage young, trained Yukoners to move back and contribute to community. Public feels not enough opportunities now available.

Developing New Approaches

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(a) Revise Financial Practices
Increase the flexibility of operations & maintenance funding. (#29)

Develop realistic three-year government capital budget. Ensure tenders and requests for proposals are issued earlier and are more evenly spread out during the year. (#30)

Yukon Hire practices and policies should apply to all non-governmental organizations using conditional funds, with terms explicitly set out in funding agreements. (#34)

In certain circumstances, allowing Operations and Maintenance funds to carry over would alleviate present end-of-fiscal-year rush of requests for proposals.

Multi-year budgets could meet other government needs. Better planning will reduce time crunch problems. Possible links with Yukon Training Strategy.

Ensure government funding will advance Yukon Hire goals, with exception of block funding to municipalities.

Public identified many problems with present system, including end-of-fiscal-year frenzy, poorly prepared contracts due to lack of time, short turn-around time on bids, sloppy bid processes, etc.

Public support for Yukon government requiring municipalities/agencies and non-governmental organizations to follow Yukon Hire rules for conditional funds, but not for block funds. Many municipalities already have their own local hire rules.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(b) Establish New Functions
Develop, with appropriate partners, a Hiring Agency which contractors on Yukon Government projects would be required to use. (#6)

Re-establish an authority to handle appeals, complaints and suggestions from the public and from government employees concerning contracting and hiring practices, with the power to intervene in government contracting practices. (#33)

Require companies in any natural resource development to carry out Yukon Hire and/or Yukon purchase where government funds are being used to assist the project. (#13)

Hiring Agency would solve many problems identified by public, provide a service to contractors by handling payroll, and reduce use of "labour contracts" and Fair Wage violations. Must link with Yukon Training Strategy and employment equity.

Devolution of contracting to government departments has led to uneven application of rules, lack of government-wide mechanism for even-handed and experienced enforcement. As well, present system lacks mechanisms for dealing with contract problems before contracts are awarded.

Residents of rural communities often feel left out of job opportunities in development in their communities.

Some public support for hiring agency idea, compared with rejection of mandatory unionization and compulsory local hire. First Nations (FN) representatives like concept because it could improve FN hiring, but feel FNs should have direct role. Rural concern that agency would be "Whitehorse-centric." General concern that agency would work only for large jobs. Contractors apprehensive when not opposed.

Public feels that present appeal process(es) are inadequate, have no real effect since contracts never disallowed no matter what.

Socio-economic agreements supported strongly in rural communities, and general support in most workshops.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(c) Improve Access to Training
Government--together with Yukon College, Human Resource Development Canada, unions, industry and other relevant agencies and organizations--should develop a modular training system that would complement the established apprenticeship system. (#12) Modular training will allow more training to take place in rural Yukon, and on a project-specific basis if appropriate. Would be more accessible than present 4-year system. Need to help workers who find present written examination method very difficult, with coaching, literacy training, etc. Must link with Yukon Training Strategy. Strong rural support for modular training, provided modules led to other opportunities, e.g. "regular" apprenticeship. Public support for anything that improves present system, especially if it leads to more workers getting certified. Strong public consensus that present training system inadequate, not focused on future needs, etc. Modular training should not be used to lower qualifications or undermine apprenticeship system.

Recommendation Rationale Public Comments
(d) Regroup Government Functions
The Yukon government should consolidate those functions related to contracting and labour, either by enhancing an existing government branch or by creating a new government department of labour. The consolidated unit would deliver or co-ordinate and provide analysis of government-funded training, labour market policy and labour market planning. (#39)

The Yukon government should review the organization of government so as to ensure efficient and co-ordinated delivery of devolved or newly-assumed responsibilities formerly handled by the Government of Canada. (#40)

The Yukon government currently has split up labour/worker functions among six departments, to the detriment of workers and employers.

The creation of a Department of Labour or Labour unit, as well as the forthcoming devolution of employment programs, mining, forestry, lands, and Attorney General requires a full review of present operations.

This recommendation was not brought up in any public consultation and may be opposed as a result. However, the many problems and interests raised by the public could be dealt with effectively if greater efficiency and communication could be achieved among the various parts of the government dealing with labour/worker issues.