The Autorité des marchés publics (AMP) is a neutral, independent body whose main role is oversight of public procurement and the application of legislation and regulations governing public contracts in Québec. Its oversight role covers the public sector, the health and education networks, government corporations, and the municipal sector.
However, a specific feature applies to the City of Montréal. The duties and powers attributed to the AMP, except those pertaining to the examination of the contract management of a designated organization are, with respect to the City of Montréal or a person or an organization related to the City of Montréal and covered by the Act, exercised by the Inspector General of the City of Montréal. The Inspector General assumes the same obligations as the AMP would pursuant to its duties and powers.
The AMP’s mission is to oversee all public contracts, in particular compliance with the tendering and contract award process and to receive complaints from interested persons. It is also responsible for the register of business enterprises that are authorized to enter into public contracts and subcontracts and the register of enterprises ineligible for public contracts.
The Act attributes various powers to the AMP, including audit and investigative authority that enables the AMP, as the case may be, to issue orders, make recommendations or suspend or cancel contracts.
The legislation stipulates the gradual introduction of the provisions concerning the duties and powers of the AMP. For example:
- six months after the first president and chief executive officer of the AMP takes up his duties: intervention, audit and investigation powers and the assumption of responsibility for the register of business enterprises that are authorized to enter into public contracts and subcontracts and the register of enterprises ineligible for public contracts;
- 10 months after the first president and chief executive officer of the AMP takes up his duties: assumption of responsibility for complaints and responsibilities pertaining to the disclosure of wrongdoing with regard to public contracts.
In October 2011, the government established the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry. The Commission, chaired by Superior Court Justice France Charbonneau, had a mandate to:
- examine the existence of stratagems and, where warranted, take stock of them when they appear to involve possible collusion and corruption in the awarding and management of public contracts in the construction industry, including, in particular, government and municipal organizations and enterprises, including possible links to financing of political parties;
- take stock of possible infiltration by organized crime of the construction industry;
- examine possible solutions and make recommendations in order to establish measures that facilitate the identification, elimination and prevention of collusion and corruption in the awarding and management of public contracts in the construction industry and its infiltration by organized crime.
At the conclusion of its deliberations, the Commission submitted its report to the government on November 24, 2015. The report included 60 recommendations stemming from the observations drawn from the evidence presented during the hearings. The first recommendation seeks to ensure the integrity of public contracts. Accordingly, the Commission asked the government to establish in Québec the Autorité des marchés publics.
Some important dates:
- June 8, 2016: tabling of Bill 108, the Act to facilitate oversight of public bodies’ contracts and to establish the Autorité des marchés publics;
- September 20 to 29, 2016: specific consultations and public hearings on Bill 108;
- December 1, 2017: adoption of and assent to the Act to facilitate oversight of public bodieas’ contracts and to establish the Autorité des marchés publics;
- June 14, 2018: appointment by the National Assembly of Denis Gallant as the first president and chief executive officer of the AMP;
- July 25, 2018: the first president and chief executive officer of the AMP took up his duties.
- January 25, 2019: Entry into force of the first part of the mandate of the AMP:
- Intervention, verification and investigation powers with respect to the bidding and
- Issuance of authorizations to contract with the government
- Administration of the register of eligible firms and the register of ineligible businesses
- May 25, 2019: Entry into force of the second part of the mandate of the AMP:
- Receipt and investigation of complaints concerning public contracts;
- Receipt and investigation of information from the public.
- June 2nd, 2022: Assent of Bill 12 - An Act mainly to promote Québec-sourced and responsible procurement by public bodies, to reinforce the integrity regime of entreprises and to increase the powers of the Autorité des marchés publics and entry into force of most provisions pertaining to :
- the increase in the number of companies subject to integrity audits;
- the granting of powers allowing the AMP to perform the integrity audits of the companies under its supervision.