Antoine Pellerin

Study program:
Current affiliation:
Université Laval

Antoine Pellerin (law, Université Laval) is interested in the government’s power to contract and is examining the conditions required for this power to be exercised in the public interest.

Doctoral research

Reconciling Public Procurement and Public Interest: For Socially Responsible Government Contracting

The government entrusts a significant portion of its responsibilities to private players through contracts of all sorts (service outsourcing, construction works, purchase of goods, etc.). Determining the elements that make up good government must take into account the fact that it acts largely through its contracting power. Starting from the premise that public administration will continue to solicit the assistance of private business to carry out certain functions, to differing degrees and in different contexts, Antoine Pellerin’s research project focuses on the following question: How can public procurement and the public interest be reconciled? A preliminary analysis of the related legislation and management strategies reveals that government contracting is ruled by a budgetary paradigm that subordinates the notion of public interest. The laws and management of public tenders pose the question of public interest essentially in terms of “costs.” The call for tenders procedure is based on this premise. It is imperative to recast the government power to contract, from a legal and administrative point of view, to be predicated on the value of the projects and the values of the contractors (integrity, transparency and accountability). This conception of public tenders procurement would allow the government, through its contracting power, to refocus its actions on serving the public interest.


Antoine’s research seeks to contribute to our understanding of what makes for better government by looking at its alter ego, public administration, in the very particular context in which public administration is increasingly turning to contracting as a means of carrying out its mission. This phenomenon suggests that an investigation is in order to determine the qualities expected of the contracted parties and the normative framework in which they operate.

Antoine believes that rebuilding the public’s trust in public institutions requires cleaning up public contract attribution and management practices. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Antoine practised law for four years at Norton Rose Fulbright, a firm that has offices in over 50 countries, holds the highest rating for multi-jurisdictional work and overall top-of-mind awareness, and is most widely used for high-value work (Canadian Law Firm Brand Index, 2014). Working in the firm’s litigation group, Antoine pleaded in the courts and was active in cases involving public calls for tender, business ethics, and the Integrity in Public Contracts Act. He has been invited to speak at conferences and has published many articles on these topics, including an article in the Journal of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers.

Before becoming a lawyer, Antoine completed an undergraduate degree in law and an MBA at the Université de Sherbrooke. During his law studies, he interned under the Honourable Yves Tardif at the Québec Superior Court. Antoine was an engaged student, winning a provincial/territorial Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation Excellence Award for four years as well as the Québec Lieutenant-Governor’s award after his high school studies.

A firm believer in the value of citizen participation in public debate, Antoine currently serves as an elected member of the Montcalm Neighbourhood Council, a municipal body in Quebec City. His conviction that arts and culture contribute to social emancipation led him to cofound the Montréal theatre company ExLibris, of which he has been the executive director since 2013.