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CEO of TO2015 Saad Rafi speaks as the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Organizing Committee (TO2015) announces the launch of Panamania, the Toronto 2015 Arts and Culture Program in Toronto, Ontario, Tuesday April 1, 2014. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
CEO of TO2015 Saad Rafi speaks as the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Organizing Committee (TO2015) announces the launch of Panamania, the Toronto 2015 Arts and Culture Program in Toronto, Ontario, Tuesday April 1, 2014. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

Pan Am organizers solicit security bids on heels of controversial contract Add to ...

In the wake of a controversial decision by the province to grant an $81-million private security contract to a Vancouver-based company for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, the organizing committee is starting the process to award a separate security deal for the protection of event sites.

A “request for information” (RFI) was issued on March 11 by the organizing committee for “security project/personnel management and planning” at the Pan Am Games. Interested companies were given just over two weeks to submit an application by the March 26 deadline. The process will lead ultimately to the awarding of a contract to provide security within the perimeter of events.

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“We will make the best selection for the best value,” said Allen Vansen, senior vice-president, operations, of the Pan Am organizing committee, known as TO2015.

“We have an RFI that we released, the objective is to understand what companies are in the marketplace that can help us manage the project of asset protection,” explained Mr. Vansen. The cost of this contract is “accounted for in the budget,” although games officials declined to provide an estimate of its cost. There will also be a need to hire more security guards, in the “low hundreds,” said Mr. Vansen.

The new contract is part of the overall security costs that Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan recently said had increased to $239-million from an original budgeted figure of $113-million. Included in the total is the $81-million private security contract awarded to Contemporary Security Canada (CSC), already announced by the province. That contract, to assist the OPP’s Integrated Security Unit, came under fire from opposition parties after it was revealed that another finalist, Reilly Security, submitted a bid that was $14-million lower.

The Pan Am TO2015 organizing committee, which has some past links to CSC employees and executives, stressed that it played absolutely no role in that contract. The CSC employees report to the Integrated Security Unit, which is responsible for securing the perimeter of games venues.

CSC (Canada), which is controlled by the United States-based Contemporary Services Corporation, has a long history of providing security-related services to past Olympics and also working in senior roles within organizing committees. Two senior employees at a U.S. subsidiary of Contemporary were employed by the Vancouver organizing committee, leading up to the 2010 games. Jan Damnavitz, now the vice-president of venue management for Pan Am TO2015, was director of venue management in Vancouver, and was employed by Contemporary until he left in 2012, the company said in a written statement.

Cathy Priestner-Allinger, executive vice-present of sport and games operations at the Vancouver Gsames, and a key figure in developing the “Own the Podium” program, is a registered director of CSC. “Given her experience at major world sports events and her background as a former Canadian athlete, Cathy was asked to join the board in 2010 and remains in the position,” said CSC in a written statement.

Pan-Am vice-president Mr. Vansen worked with Ms. Priestner-Allinger when he was a senior member of the Vancouver organizing committee. He said the public should have “no concerns” about the selection process for the new security contract that will be awarded by TO2015. “I worked with Cathy. But I will not be involved in the selection process. I trust our procurement team,” said Mr. Vansen.

In the case of the first $81-million contract awarded to CSC, Community Safety minister Yasir Nagvi insisted that the OPP made the call, not the province. “We support their decision because the company they have selected is world-renowned in terms of providing safety for multi-sporting events,” he said. While an OPP committee assessed the bids and recommended CSC from an operational standpoint, “the final decision was a ministry decision,” said Superintendent Mike McDonell, head of the ISU.

A copy of the request for proposal, obtained by The Globe and Mail, states that it is being issued by the Ministry and explains at length how the Ministry will assess the bids, including the fact that “pricing” will be worth 40 per cent of an applicant’s overall score.

The RCMP awarded CSC a $97.4-million private security contract in 2009, for work at the Vancouver winter games. A month before the 2010 games, the RCMP issued a second contract to CSC for another $66.6-million for security services.

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