At its meeting of October 28, 2015, the TTC Board unanimously passed the following motion regarding the order for Flexity streetcars from Bombardier:
- Authorize the TTC General Counsel to immediately commence a claim or legal action against Bombardier for all damages sustained by the TTC relating to or arising from the schedule delays in the delivery of the streetcars and any other non-performance related issues.
- Direct the Chair to write to the CEO Bombardier requesting he appear before the Board at its November Commission meeting to explain Bombardier’s failure to meet past deadlines and its delivery commitments for streetcars going forward.
- Request TTC management to consult with alternative suppliers for delivery of the remaining TTC streetcars, should Bombardier be unable for whatever reason to fulfill this order within contractual timelines.
- Request TTC staff to report back on the financial and operational impacts on the TTC should Bombardier not be able to fulfill their contractual obligations to deliver streetcars.
- Request TTC staff to seek the advice of an outside business analyst to present to the Board on their assessment of Bombardier’s corporate outlook.
- Request TTC staff, in any negotiations on damages, liquidated or otherwise, to consider as a priority additional LRV’s as compensation.
- Direct the Chair to write to the Premier of Ontario requesting the Province’s support in facilitating the completion of the City of Toronto’s order for streetcars from Bombardier.
This motion came out of a confidential session of the Board which led to the text approved here. Point 1 was the staff recommendation in the report on the agenda, and the remaining points were added.
The story of constantly shifting delivery timelines and excuses from Bombardier has gone on for a very long time, and they have exhausted the TTC’s patience. Several comments in public session suggested that if Bombardier expects ever to be awarded work by the TTC in the future, they will have to try very, very hard to win their trust.
This is something of an empty threat, at least in the short term, because the TTC will not be ordering more subway cars until the early 2020s. Moreover, Bombardier has long been Queen’s Park’s vendor of choice for rail car orders that receive provincial funding, and it would take a major upheaval to dislodge them from this position.
Whether the Bombardier CEO actually shows up at the November 23, 2015, meeting remains to be seen. Indeed, it would be an odd situation should the TTC action have already been commenced to make such a presentation, let alone subject himself to questions he could not reasonably answer without compromising his own company’s position.
Chair Josh Colle noted that clause 7 recognizes the fact that he has already been contacted by the head of Bombardier Transportation in Germany, three Cabinet Ministers, the Mayor of Thunder Bay, and others, and that this is a politically high profile file. It will be interesting to see whether the union representing Thunder Bay workers shows up with tales of incompetence at their plant, or at least first hand descriptions of the quality problems with material received from Bombardier’s plant in Mexico. Such a move would be to establish their own credibility and fight for their jobs, a situation akin to what happened during the Canadian content debates when the contract was awarded.
Queen’s Park also has an interest through Metrolinx where concern about on time delivery of cars for the Kitchener-Waterloo ION line (whose cars will come from the Metrolinx share of teh Toronto order), and there are effects further down the line for other LRT projects if the contract completely collapses.
No doubt there will be updates on this story in the regular media in coming days.