Toronto Transit Commission amends RFP after contact from RGD and ICA
A reddish orange background with the words No Spec in the middle. The words are in white.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has amended an RFP after RGD and the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) voiced their concerns about its ask for spec work.


The TTC's RFP asked for bidders to produce a creative concept for its Emergency Alarm System. These creative concepts were to be discussed and shown during bidders' initial presentations to the Commission.


This speculative aspect of the RFP was brought to RGD's attention by multiple RGD Members. The Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) also received several complaints from active member agencies.


Both RGD and the ICA mobilized advocacy efforts and contacted the TTC about removing the spec component from its RFP.


Once the ICA was involved, and after speaking several times with the TTC, the deadline for the tender was extended and the TTC removed the spec aspect of the RFP.


"By removing the requirement of original creative from its RFP, the TTC has not only recognized the value of design, but it has also acknowledged that asking for spec work is unacceptable and discredits the work, time and expertise of designers. We hope that the TTC has learned from this experience and will work to release ethical RFPs in the future."

- Jennifer Taback RGD, VP of Ethics & Ethics Committee Member, Partner at Design de Plume


"The ICA is very pleased that the TTC and their marketing and procurement teams were open to discussion in order to deliver fair tenders with public funds," said Scott Knox, President of the ICA. “The TTC has now adopted a fair and equitable process to allow creative agencies to participate and we thank them for this shift in policy."


The ICA estimates that they have saved competing agencies over $300k of creative work and resources by intervening.



If you come across a request for spec work, you can:


Get in touch with RGD anytime if you'd like to help by joining the Ethics Committee, sharing your own no spec letters or articles or offering ideas on how RGD and our industry can combat this exploitative practice.