ACEC-Ontario’s advocacy efforts are an important part of realizing the association’s strategic plan. Supported by a network of dedicated member firm volunteers, ACEC-Ontario engages with provincial and municipal stakeholders and industry leaders to create a better business environment for Ontario’s consulting engineering industry.

ACEC-Ontario’s advocacy efforts take a comprehensive approach involving detailed research, message development, communications planning, meetings with government and public officials and other related stakeholder groups. ACEC-Ontario also makes a considerable effort to develop industry-specific consultation submissions on important member issues to key provincial ministries and municipalities.

Active engagement by business with government is essential for infrastructure policy and initiatives to be successful. Success is defined by the consulting engineering industry as providing value for taxpayers while protecting the public welfare.  As such, ACEC-Ontario does not advocate for infrastructure dollar commitments, rather we promote that these commitments are invested as a result of proper, evidence-based planning. Our efforts have sought to help improve government’s ability to make sound, accurate and value-driven infrastructure investment decisions. 

Importance of a Long-Term Infrastructure Plan

Vital to this approach is Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP), as it provides the necessary planning and investment focus for both government and industry.  An accurate and well informed LTIP guides and defines the government’s course in acquiring the most urgently needed and valuable infrastructure projects. These priority investments can then be realized through a comprehensive project pipeline, valuable because of the important insight and information it provides to the broader design and construction industry as to the government’s intentions. 

Procurement Models – The right tool of the right project

Infrastructure procurement is a complex and multi-facetted process requiring nuance and flexibility. It can only be executed effectively if government has a clear and well-defined vision of what it seeks to achieve – both for the province as a whole and the people in the communities the infrastructure will serve. How government defines value of investment is vital. It is well-established that lowest price project award is not the pathway to success.  Low-bid award consistently results in highest completed price projects. ACEC-Ontario’s long standing position is that the most appropriate model of procurement should be used for the project under consideration. Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is an industry best practice model that provides value for clients and taxpayers for design-heavy and complex projects. Also effective for large capital projects are Public-Private Partnerships (P3) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) models. It is however, important to recognize is that every project must be assessed for what model of procurement is most effective and will deliver the greatest value through level of service provided and asset delivery according to reasonable budgets and timelines. 

To achieve these outcomes ACEC-Ontario works directly with a number of key government ministries. Throughout the year ACEC-Ontario staff and member firm volunteers meet with elected officials, their staff and public officials in the Office of the Premier and ministries of the Attorney General, Infrastructure, Transportation, Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Finance. We also regularly interact with the leadership and staff of both Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx.

Municipally, ACEC-Ontario regularly interacts with communities across the province on important member issues such as consultant evaluation systems, procurement methods, contractual terms and conditions and provincial legislation and regulations that impact industry practice.