Quebec Superior Court affirms bid issuer’s obligation to provide valid information in tendering process

June 21, 2021

200-17-026028-175 Coffrages Saulnier c. PGQ et al

 In a June 10, 2021 decision, the Honourable Judge Jean-Francois Émond ruled in favour of the plaintiff and contracting company, 9090-5092 Quebec Inc. (“Saulnier”), awarding in full its claim for $900,000 in damages ($824,000 plus taxes) against the defendant, the National Assembly of Quebec (“National Assembly”).

The dispute began in 2016, when Saulnier was awarded a $2.7 million contract by the National Assembly through its public call for tenders for the construction of its visitor’s center at the Quebec Parliament. Though the work was completed in spring 2019, Saulnier submitted that it had completed additional work involving the installation of the foundation formwork that was comprised in the scope of work, but was not clearly provided in its call for tenders and therefore not included as part of Saulnier’s bid price and awarded contract. Saulnier argued that the National Assembly had misled the company, as it issued an ambiguous addenda pertaining to the foundations formwork less than 24 hours before the submission deadline.

In response, the National Assembly argued that it was clear that the formwork was never excluded from its call for tenders, and that Saulnier was negligent and should have asked questions after the issuance of the addenda.

Upon review of the evidence, the Court concluded that the onus was on the bid issuer to provide sufficient information to the bidders, particularly when the bidders are asked to provide a bid price for the submission. It agreed that the defendant did not meet its onus, and ordered the National Assembly to pay damages to Saulnier in full.

Jasmin Lefebvre (Construction Litigation) of Miller Thomson represented Saulnier in the proceedings.