OTTAWA - A new report is raising questions about whether federal departments are still cooking contracts to make sure favoured suppliers get the work.
The contracting watchdog for the Public Works Department surveyed almost 450 sole-source deals over a seven-month period ending in January this year.
The survey found only about a quarter of the deals showed any real effort to seek out competitive bids that might have saved taxpayer dollars.
The report from Frank Brunetta appears to vindicate critics who say the government tailors too many deals to ensure their favourite firms benefit.
Twice in the past year, Brunetta has uncovered specific deals at two federal agencies where safeguards against cooked contracts were ignored.
The Harper government has come under fire in recent months over sole-source contracts, most recently in its efforts to avoid competitive bidding for replacements for Canada's CF-18 fighter jets.