Despite objections from Toronto’s tech sector, the US firm set to win controversial City Hall online payment contract


The Toronto City Council approved a proposal to move the city firm to city hall despite objections from members of the local tech community at City Hall to approve the US firm’s proposal to move online payments for this week.

Missouri-based PayIt, through its new Canadian subsidiary, says it can replace 11 different portals with property taxes, parking permits, parking tickets, water bills and one. Easy to use interface Accessed via mobile app or computer.

Residents will pay by credit card, debit or electronic fund transfer, either as a “guest” or with a personal digital “wallet” to schedule or review payments.

One city offers “a personalized digital experience for citizens” behind others on electronic payment options, saying city employees recommend “partnership” with PayIt on a three-year contract.

Asim Hussain, the city’s change director, told the executive committee last week that it could actually position the city as a leader.

“We know that the province is talking to PayIt.”

The data will remain the property of the city, which has been stored in Canada. The cost of development of the city will not be paid. PayIt will charge residents 1.5 percent of the transaction costs using a debit card. The fee for credit card users is 2.35 percent.

There will be no charge for electronic bank transfer users. City employees expect it to remain a popular option for large bills such as property taxes.

City staff estimates that PayIt could earn $ 20 million and $ 25 million from the contract. He feels that taxpayers can save $ 11 million on costs over five years, including the credit card fees the city currently paid.

Critics say that Canada’s most populous city, Kansas City, is set to take a risky chance from startups on an unsustainable pitch with no customers of comparable size.

The city council voted against a sole-source contract with PayIt last year. Staff began a “Swiss challenge” bidding process to see if any company could make a better pitch. The two firms downloaded the terms, but only one Toronto company, SQL Power Group, submitted a bid, which employees rejected, saying it did not meet the criteria.

Bianca Wiley, a local open government attorney and co-founder of Tech Reset Canada, said the city council should reject the PayIt proposal and start afresh.

“It’s a big public digital infrastructure deal – it’s a payment of at least $ 20 million, from a” stable and guaranteed tax base “in Toronto.”

“We don’t know enough about the terms of the deal that it’s good. Look at Presto,” Transit Card, she said. “(Toll highway) See 407.”

SQL president Sam Selim told The Star that, despite an unusually short time to respond, his firm proposed a payment platform with more functions for less money. If it was forced to pay, but still won, it would be fine.

Instead, city employees stopped reviewing SQL’s bid, as it failed to score enough points to move beyond a segment that held the firm’s drive to “digital adoption” and other modernization goals A request for reference was included to show capacity.

SQL was not told before bidding that the particular question was worth 72 points out of 100, while the six other questions in the section were only 28 points combined.

Selim said, “The city should issue a standard full-level request for a proposal that does not specifically stand a company where the best bid and best price wins”

“The Swiss challenge was flawed. They said that they did not see our solution at all, they were not interested in finding an alternative from afar.

In the executive committee, city staff strongly rejected any suggestion of favoritism, with a City Fairness Monitor reviewing the Swiss challenge process and monitoring its application, without objections. They can cancel the contract for any reason under the proposed conditions.

Mayor John Tory voted for the motion in the executive and he would urge the full city council in its meeting to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, his spokesperson Lovin Hadici said.

Tory believes city staff addressed the complaints and “the agreement will make life easier for Toronto residents – the people of the city serve,” she said.

The council will consider other items including:

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  • Whether to end Toronto’s ban on electric scooters and regulate e-scooter sharing services such as Bird and Lime operating in some other cities of Canada.

  • A COVID-19 response response and Toronto Public Health’s recommendation that the provincial government offer a paid sick program instead of a new program for workers with only three paid days with 10 days of leave.
David Ryder is Star’s city hall bureau chief and reporter covering city hall and municipal politics. Follow her on Twitter: @ riding

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