UPDATE: After this story was published, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told QP Briefing it had a previous agreement in place with a company, ActiveOutdoors, to conduct sales of hunting and fishing licences ("to design and operate an externally hosted License Automation Service (LAS)"). That contract expires in 2018 and the government is looking for a new vendor. The ministry says the cost of the contract will depend on the winning bid. QP Briefing's original story is below.
The Ontario government is looking to the private sector for an online retailer that will potentially sell scads of licences to anglers and hunters.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which issues the licences, put out a tender in August that seeks “eCommerce Solution Services for the Sale of Fishing and Hunting Products.”
Loosely translated, this would be someone other than the province selling fishing and hunting licences via the Internet for the ministry.
The "open competitive" tender is for a six-year contract with an option for another two terms of up to two years. Bids are being accepted until October and the ministry wants the new system up and running by the fall of 2018.
The value of the contract is not disclosed, but the winner will be busy.
“On an annual basis, approximately 2 million fishing and hunting products are sold, and 750,000 Outdoor Cards are issued, resulting in approximately 95 per cent of the revenue into the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account each year,” the tender says.
Currently, the licences can be purchased from the ministry online, in person at ServiceOntario locations and certain stores, or over the phone.
“Fishing and hunting product revenue supports delivery of fish and wildlife management activities by the ministry,” adds the tender.
Outsourcing outdoor licence sales comes as the province attempts to save money on service delivery, which includes reforming ServiceOntario.
How much the province hopes to save from the changes isn’t clear. In the 2016 budget, “ServiceOntario modernization,” along with other initiatives like updating information technology, was projected to save anywhere from $15 million to $130 million.
“As part of its modernization plan, ServiceOntario will apply customer-centric ‘digital-by-default’ principles to redesign key online services, making them simpler and more convenient while ensuring the integrity of customer information,” said the budget.
“These design principles will help direct clients to more convenient service delivery channels, as recommended by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services.”