Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct for the Commissioners and Senior Staff

January 20th, 2010
Memo to: Commissioners & Senior Staff
From: Howard Grant, Fairness Commissioner
PPI Consulting Limited

Re: Restrictions on Lobbying Activities related to the Request for Proposals for Tour Boat Services

I have been hired by the Ministry of Tourism to assist the Niagara Parks Commission with the competitive process for tour boat services. In my role as Fairness Commissioner, I will provide oversight and process advice to ensure fairness throughout the competitive process.

The Niagara Parks Commission has established a Project Team comprised of John Kernahan, Nick Murphy and Joel Noden for the planning, design and advancement of this initiative. From time to time, others in the Commission may also be requested to contribute their expertise to the initiative.

As preparations to launch the competitive process are now underway, it is important that no one at the Niagara Parks Commission has any discussions related to the tour boat land lease opportunity with any potential bidders.

In this context, no activity or representation on the part of either the Commissioners or senior staff that may be intended to lobby or influence the decision-making process of the management, planning, and design of the Request for Proposals or of the procurement team members is permitted.

“Lobbying activities” means any oral or written communication (including any electronic-based communication) with a staff member or external consultant which may be made in an effort to influence decision-making, including the specifications that will be included in the Request for Proposals.

Any representation to the Commissioners or senior staff concerning tour boat services, either directly or indirectly, by private individuals or private sector corporate representatives that may be deemed to be lobbying in an effort to influence decision making, as noted above, should be resisted and referred immediately to the Fairness Commissioner.

All formal or informal requests for meetings concerning tour boat services, either directly or indirectly, by representatives of any special interest groups, private sector businesses, or industry trade organizations should be discussed with the Fairness Commissioner prior to acceding to any such request.

In the event such representations or requests arise, all questions should be directed to:

Howard Grant
Fairness Commissioner

For further information regarding the Niagara Parks’ Corporate Code of Conduct please click here.

Pre-Notice of Consultation

The Niagara Parks Commission (the “NPC”) would like to announce its intention to enter into a competitive process for services related to the Niagara Falls Boat Tour. The NPC is determining the specific procurement approach but expects to post on the NPC community website and MERX© a Request for Proposals (RFP) or a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) followed by an invitational RFP in the spring of this year. Due to this uncertainty about the specific procurement approach, we have referred to the procurement document below as an “RFX”.

Stakeholder Consultation Sessions

In order to prepare for the procurement, the NPC will be offering a series of stakeholder consultation sessions in which local interest groups will be invited to attend a consultative session.

  • Hotel, motel and other accommodation service providers
  • Restaurant, food and other related service providers
  • Other hospitality service providers.
  • Tour companies, ticket agencies and other related travel services
  • Entertainment and other local attractions
  • Retailers, manufacturers and distributors of novelty items
  • Local community interest groups; and
  • All other general and special interest groups

The consultations are intended to be information sharing sessions where the NPC will provide information on the following:

  • a summary of the proposed procurement process; and
  • procedures that have been put in place to ensure the process is open, fair and transparent.

As a means to ensure the process takes into account local interest and concerns, the NPC will be asking the participants to provide information and insight into potentialopportunities and issues associated with this initiative during the consultation sessions.

Once the arrangements for the sessions have been determined, an e-mail will be sent to all respondents with a date, location and other relevant information.   In the event a stakeholder is not able to attend the session, we will put in place a process for such groups to provide a written submission.

The Stakeholder Consultations Sessions have now concluded.  A formal Consultation Report is in the process of being produced and will be made available on NPC’s community website once completed.  If you would still like to send in your written comments or questions on this matter, please click here or send via regular mail to:  The Niagara Parks Commission, Attn:  BOAT TOUR CONSULTATION, P.O. Box 150, Niagara Falls, ON   L2E 6T2.

Proponents Information Sessions

The NPC will also be arranging to meet with potential bidders in a separate set of one-on-one consultations.  These sessions will include a tour of the site, together with access to information related to the operations of the boat tour.  Given the confidential nature of the information that will be provided, any potential bidder who wishes to participate will be required to sign a non disclosure agreement.  Part of the agreement will be rules of engagement that outline requirements related to confidentiality, disclosure of information, plus standards pertaining to influence and lobbying.

Once the arrangements for these sessions have been determined, an information package will be e-mailed to each respondent with details on dates and location.  The information package will include an invitation to respondents to attend a one-on-one meeting with the NPC procurement team, a copy of the Non-Disclosure Agreement and the Rules of Engagement.  See below for more information on these documents and their requirements.

In the event a stakeholder is not able to attend the session, we will put in place a process to provide a written submission.It should be understood that potential bidders are eligible to register for both stakeholder consultations sessions as well as the proponent information sessions if they so choose.

The Stakeholder Consultations Sessions have now concluded.  A formal Consultation Report is in the process of being produced and will be made available on NPC’s community website once completed.  If you would still like to send in your written comments or questions on this matter, please  click here or send via regular mail to:  The Niagara Parks Commission, Attn:  BOAT TOUR CONSULTATION, P.O. Box 150, Niagara Falls, ON   L2E 6T2.

Fairness Measures

Given the level of interest in this procurement and the subsequent sensitivities, the NPC has retained the services of a Fairness Commissioner.  The Fairness Commissioner will put in place measures designed to help ensure the procurement process is open, fair and transparent.  Such measures have already been implemented for all NPC employees and Commissioners.

The Fairness Commissioner will also require that all bidders who are interested in attending a one-on-one meeting with the NPC procurement team sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).  The purpose of the NDA is to ensure any information shared in these meetings is held in confidence and is not made public.  If a bidder elects not to sign the NDA, they will not be invited to attend a one-on-one meeting but can still bid on the RFX when it is posted.

The Fairness Commissioner has also established Rules of Engagement (ROE) which introduces some standards related to bidder influencing and lobbying.  The purpose of the ROE is to establish some parameters around what is and is not allowed in terms of contact with NPC staff, using the media for self promotion or for influencing public opinion on the process or applying pressure to the NPC, NPC staff or NPC Commissioners.    If a bidder elects not to sign the ROE, they will not be invited to attend a one-on-one meeting but can still bid on the RFX when it is posted.

Request For Proposal

*** TENDER IS NOW CLOSED ***
Tender Title: RFP Land lease Related to Boat Tour Operations at Niagara Falls Gorge
Tender Number: T27-2010

Tender Summary:

The NPC would like to thank those Proponents who indicated their interest in proceeding with the RFP process by submitting the Notice of Intention to Respond Form and executing the required Non-Disclosure Agreement within the prescribed timeframe. Any further relevant information regarding the RFP will be provided directly to the above-noted Proponents who continue to have standing in the RFP process.

This Request for Proposals (“RFP”) is an invitation to prospective Proponents to submit Proposals for the Land Lease related to Boat Tour operations at the Niagara Falls gorge.  This RFP is issued by The Niagara Parks Commission (the “NPC”).

The NPC mission is to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara River corridor for the enjoyment of visitors while maintaining financial self-sufficiency.  The NPC is a world-class tourism destination and gateway to Ontario.  The NPC properties include public parkland, historic sites, golf courses, picnic grounds, restaurants and retail outlets, a School of Horticulture, Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Conservatory, other attractions, a recreation trail and other visitor amenities.  The NPC helps to attract 10-12 million visitors to the Niagara area annually.

One of the tourist activities is the world renowned boat tour of Niagara Falls.  The current Boat Tour Service consists of a passenger tour of the Niagara River and gorge which takes passengers from the dock area on the Canadian side of the Niagara River to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and back.

An important requirement in this RFP is the safety of passengers and the boat tour operations including upholding marine safety standards at all time.  In this RFP, proponents must outline their approach to the boat tour including services, experiences offered, and cost to the visitor as well as the financial compensation to NPC.
This is a complex RFP with numerous deliverables associated with the boat tour service.   Interested bidders should review all deliverables carefully to ensure they can meet or exceed all of the mandatory requirements.