Backgrounder: National Fighter Procurement Secretariat

On April 3, 2012, the Government of Canada announced a Seven-Point Plan in response to the findings and the recommendation in Chapter 2 of the 2012 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada. As a part of this action plan, the Government of Canada announced the creation of a National Fighter Procurement Secretariat within Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

The Secretariat is primarily responsible for the review, oversight, and coordination of the implementation of the Government's Seven-Point Plan. The action plan will ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force acquires the fighter aircraft it needs to complete the missions asked of it by the Government, and that Parliament and the Canadian public have confidence in the open and transparent acquisition process that will be used to replace the CF-18 fleet.

The work of the Secretariat will be guided by the Terms of Reference, which establish an improved governance and coordination structure, strengthen due diligence, and commit departments to transparency through more timely and effective communications.

Due diligence

The Secretariat will ensure that enhanced due diligence is exercised throughout the implementation of the action plan as follows:

  • The results of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat-commissioned independent review will help set a consistent life-cycle costing framework that will be used to report costing estimates for this project;
  • Contracting policy due diligence will also be validated by the Treasury Board via joint Department of National Defence/Public Works and Government Services Canada submissions for project and contracting authority; and
  • A validation of all the steps taken to date in the acquisition process will be conducted and independently verified.


The key decision-making body for the oversight and coordination of the action plan is a Deputy Minister Governance Committee (DMGC). This committee will be chaired by the deputy minister of Public Works and Government Services. The core membership includes:

  • Deputy Minister, Public Works and Government Services Canada;
  • Deputy Minister, Department of National Defence; and
  • Deputy Minister, Industry Canada.

Ex-officio members include:

  • Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, Operations, Privy Council Office;
  • Secretary of the Treasury Board;
  • Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Finance Canada; and
  • National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister.

Decisions of the Deputy Minister Governance Committee will be made by the core members. An Interdepartmental Assistant Deputy Minister-level Steering Committee is charged with the management and implementation of decisions arising from the deputy minister committee and other items that may arise throughout the implementation of the action plan.

A newly appointed executive director will lead the Secretariat with staff drawn from Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Department of National Defence, Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Use of third parties

The Deputy Minister Governance Committee will also include two eminent Canadians who are external to the public service and who will provide unbiased support and advice, reinforcing the impartiality of the decision-making process. Joining the committee in this role are:

  • L. Denis Desautels, former Auditor General of Canada (1991–2001) and a recipient of the Order of Canada; and
  • Dr. Kenneth Norrie, an economic historian and currently a professor of economics at McMaster University.

In addition, non-governmental independent third parties will be called upon to enhance openness, impartiality and transparency. As set out in the seven-point action plan, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will "commission an independent review of the Department of National Defence's acquisition and sustainment project assumptions and potential costs for the F-35, which will be made public". Other third-party independent advice and reviews will be sought as determined by the governance committees.