The contract may be the most lucrative of its kind in North American history, but the TTC’s not budging. It’s refusing to boost the made-in-Canada quotient on the 204 new light rail vehicles it took bids on last winter, much to the dismay of unions seeing manufacturing jobs going out the window.
Staff reasoned in a report to the commission at its last meeting that increasing Canadian content to more than the current 25 per cent could discourage all foreign companies from bidding on the project – or cause a significant delay in delivery of the vehicles.
The TTC’s report also points out that Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver ordered light rail vehicles from foreign bidders and made no Canadian content requirements.
But the 25 per cent slice the TTC’s cutting local manufacturing is tiny compared to other countries.
• The EU requires that companies making bids be located in an EU member country and that a minimum 50 per cent of the product value be manufactured in the EU.
• The U.S. and Mexico require 60 per cent local content and that full final assembly take place in their respective countries.
• Quebec has adopted a 60 per cent component content requirement similar to the U.S.’s.
• In China, 70 per cent local content is required.
• In Japan, foreign companies are excluded from bidding on transportation projects.
Says the Labour Council’s John Cartwright, “[The TTC’s] going to dole out hundreds of millions when every other country in the world makes sure those jobs stay in its local economy.”