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November 18, 2008


Government Office Furniture Advisory Committee Meeting (GOFAC)

November 18, 2008
25 Eddy St., Suite 226, Main Boardroom
Gatineau, Québec

In Attendance

  • André Clément – Asokan
  • Jean Barbeau – Artopex-Plus Inc.
  • Bruce Parratt – The Global Group
  • Greg Rapier – Knoll Inc.
  • David Swire - Teknion Furniture Systems
  • Eli Gilbert – CAF
  • Gary Fawcett – Fawcett Files and Storage Systems
  • Sean Macey – Basics Office Products Ltd.
  • Alexandra Reid – A&ID, PWGSC
  • Veronica Silva – A&ID, PWGSC
  • Daniel Jean – Canadian Heritage
  • Sue MacKenzie – OSME
  • Judi Murtough – RPB, PWGSC
  • Raymond Paquette – AB, PWGSC
  • Josianne Déspres - AB, PWGSC
  • Joy Sellers - AB, PWGSC
  • William Dubroy - AB, PWGSC
  • Jill Biesenthal - AB, PWGSC


  • Caroline MacIntosh – OGGO
  • Howard Dudley – Industry Canada
  • Pierre Tremblay – PWGSC, replaced by Raymond Paquette as Chair Person


Item 1 - Welcome and Introductions

Raymond Paquette opened the meeting with a round table introduction of all members.

Raymond then reminded all those present that PWGSC was not in a position to discuss the Request for Standing Offer (RFSO) for freestanding furniture or desking, as these RFSO’s were currently published on MERX. Raymond also stated that PWGSC was unable to discuss the upcoming requirement for interconnecting panels and supported components as this RFSO was currently in the ADM’s office for approval. Raymond reminded GOFAC members that PWGSC legal staff had previously advised Public Works that no discussions could take place on requirements currently posted on MERX, as this could bring the integrity of the procurement process into question.

Item 2 - Acceptance of the Minutes of July 8, 2008

The minutes of the meeting held July 8th, 2008 were accepted with no changes.

Item 3 – Pending Issues

There were two issues brought forth from the previous minutes – e-purchasing data entry and a PWGSC back-up plan.

With respect to e-purchasing, all data entry for interconnecting panels will be completed by mid-December.

PWGSC do not feel that a back-up plan is required at this time for the completion of the revised Standing Offer programs, as we are currently on target and will meet our objectives. PWGSC has currently requested the approval to extend the current NMSO program for interconnecting panels until March 31, 2009, to provide a continuous supply of panels during the fiscal year end period.

Item 4 – Review Procurement Strategy for Office Seating

The various comments and ensuing discussions by committee members have been summarized.

  • There should be no requirement for rotary chairs and side chairs to match
  • The maximum number of series should be three (3) per sub-category versus per category
  • The “green” chairs should have a separate Basket of Goods
  • There should be no requirement to have chairs in all sub-categories
  • The various sub-categories must be clearly defined
  • PWGSC will provide information on the most commonly procured chairs to the suppliers for their verification or amendment, in the new calendar year.
  • The use of e-purchasing for all requirements from 0$ to $100K will not only produce a reverse auction, but may also create a sole source situation per sub-category. Furthermore, different chairs could end up in the same office, the dealers may be eliminated as there is no margin and further training would be required on the use of e-purchasing. It was felt that the introduction of a median + 10% into the financial evaluation would provide sufficient savings to the government without sacrificing service, choice, etc.
  • PWGSC will amend the procurement strategy for office seating for review at the next GOFAC meeting
  • PWGSC will develop a list of the most commonly procured chairs for supplier verification etc.
  • PWGSC will prepare definitions for discussion at the next GOFAC meeting

Item 5 - Next Meeting

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 2009. The agenda for this meeting would be to finalize the procurement strategy for office seating. Suppliers expressed a concern on the viability of travelling for a meeting which may only last an hour or two. The possibility of a conference call was suggested as an alternative.

Item 6 - Closing Remarks

Once all of the current strategies are finalized and resultant programs are in place; GOFAC members questioned whether the committee would be addressing the larger issues such as year-end business, dealer involvement in the process etc.

It was mentioned that the clause for authorized agents in the current non-aboriginal RFSO for freestanding furniture did not incorporate “sole” authorized agent. PWGSC reiterated that the aboriginal RFSO does not use the term “sole” to ensure that aboriginal firms are in a position to provide a proposal.

When asked if lounge seating will be introduced into the Standing Offer program; PWGSC responded that the business volume is not sufficient to introduce a program for this commodity.

It was brought to the attention of GOFAC members that there is still a substantial volume of business occurring through the general contractor, third party etc.

Industry would like to be involved in discussions with PWGSC through GOFAC on the introduction of new requests, such as ‘editable’ price lists, as they apply to the RFSO submissions.

Some GOFAC members questioned the fact that there was no quality management requirement, such as compliance to ISO 9001 in the RFSO’s currently posted on MERX. Other members, however, felt that this would be an impediment to SME’s to obtain federal government business.

  • PWGSC will review previous minutes to develop a list of topics for discussion at future meetings
  • PWGSC will review the current RFSO to ensure the terminology is correct