While the project office called for privacy for a duration of 25 years of the business case of the network structuring of public transport, the BAPE has refused this request. This sensitive document will be posted on the BAPE website next Friday, the 17th of July.
“The degree of accuracy of the information on the cost of the project is not likely to induce injury in the context of a tender process, not to mention that the document dates back to December 2019 while the project has since undergone significant changes,” wrote Corinne Gendron, chair of the commission of inquiry of the BAPE, in correspondence made public on Friday in the early afternoon.
According to Ms. Gendron, “the publication of the business case will not ensure that all taxpayers will be deprived of the best price resulting from the tender to the lowest bidder. The commission of inquiry considers that the document is necessary for its work in a spirit of access to information and sound management of public funds”.
It is that this document “allows the commission to assess the context of the development of the project and its main parameters (…). In the present case, the interest of the public to take knowledge of the business case must take precedence,” details-t-it.
Daniel Genest, director of the project office, has taken note of the decision by saying that Quebec City is the course. That said, the latter returned the ball to the Quebec government. “The recipient of the document [the business case] is the government of Quebec [which] will have to make its decision for the following things”.
On Thursday, the BAPE had already rejected another request for confidentiality of the project office which focused on the map of the expropriations. This detailed map will eventually be published on 16 July.
The arguments of the office of projects
Earlier in the day, Daniel Genest said, to rely on the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies to request that the business case of the network structure is not made public “prior to a period of 25 years”.
He explained that “the business case contains information that, if it were made public, would affect the integrity of the public markets. This information of a strategic nature and relate mainly to the financing of the project, the aspects of procurement, governance and risk management”, we read in a letter signed by Mr. Genest.
According to this missive, “the disclosure of such information would deprive the agency of the benefits of free and open competition and a tender process […]. [This] would deprive all the taxpayers the best price resulting from the tender of the lowest compliant bidder, and would prevent the achievement of the purpose of the public tender”.