Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault is set to launch her performance audits assessing the financial management of ten Quebec transit agencies. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton will be granted a mandate effective February 12.
His office confirmed this on Friday. The call for tenders for this phase audit ended on January 11. If the goal is to examine the finances of each transit agency, including the Regional Metropolitan Transit Authority (ARTM) in Montreal, each agency will choose whether or not to participate in the exercise, we promise.
“Our government wants to improve mobility, and we must do it responsibly and properly. The results and the resulting recommendations will give us additional tools to make transport companies more efficient, for the benefit of all Quebecers,” argued Maxime Roy, director of communications for the minister.
All this comes as ARTM and several transport agencies plan to present their pre-budget demands next week.
The audit will “identify underperforming activities” of each company between 2018 and 2023, read the technical specifications of the mandate made public in the government's electronic invitation to tender system (SEAO).
For example, Quebec prefers to measure the ratio of administrative costs to operating costs, driver productivity, operating costs per passenger-kilometer, or the structure of human resources or the number of hierarchical levels within an organization.
Maximum one year
According to the call for tenders, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton's mandate will be for a maximum period of one year from the commencement of the contract.
At the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), we are already saying that we are ready to cooperate. “With this our aim is to demonstrate the effectiveness of STM,” its general director Marie-Claude Leonard explained on Thursday, confirming that her group is already audited by several external agencies as part of its regular operations.
This isn't the first time the Legault government wants to take a good look at the finances of public transit companies. A major project was launched in 2019 on this issue. Apart from the report filed in 2022, there are no significant developments.
“I think we need to review because public transport is growing more and more. […] And if it's them talking and it's the government talking, it can seem like a kind of endless negotiation where each wants to ask the other for more money,” said Ms.me Guilbault announced the arrival of these performance audits last November.
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