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January 9, 2014


Government Office Furniture Advisory Committee Meeting (GOFAC)
Minutes - January 9, 2014, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Gatineau, Québec


  • Robert Axam, Haworth Ltd.
  • Greg Rapier, Knoll North America Corp.
  • David Swire, Teknion Furniture Systems
  • Jean Barbeau, Artopex Inc.
  • Gary Fawcett, Fawcett File & Storage Systems
  • André Clement, Asokan Business Interiors & Public Sector Aboriginal Business Association
  • Karen Cormier, Steelcase
  • April Charron, PWGSC, CCPD
  • Kris Ruiter, PWGSC, CCPD
  • Chantal Clouthier, PWGSC, CCPD
  • Claire Gauthier, PWGSC, CCPD (observer)
  • John Penhale, Office of Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Anne Lalande, Real Property Branch, National Accommodation Management
  • Allie O'Neill, Real Property Branch, National Accommodation Management (observer)
  • Alexandra Reid, Real Property Branch, APPS
  • Sylvie Sabourin, Real Property Branch, APPS (observer)
  • Pauline Blanchard, Real Property Branch, APPS (observer)
  • Robert Pratt, Real Property Branch, APPS (observer)
  • Richard Champagne, Industry Canada

Attending Via WEBEX:

  • Bruce Parratt, The Global Group
  • Benoit Goudreault, Artopex Inc.
  • Richard Lafontaine, DMR
  • Barry Payne, Adirondack Technologies Furniture


  • Francine Brisebois, Senior Director, PWGSC CCPD
  • Daniel O. Jean, Canadian Heritage
  • Eli Gilbert, Canadian Atlas Furniture
  • Dolores Coelho, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

1. Opening Remarks

April Charron (a/Chair) welcomed all participants. The A/Chair discussed briefly the format of the meeting.

The A/Chair requested a round table of introductions by all in attendance.

2. Industry Engagement

Kris Ruiter discussed the process for Early Engagement (EE) with Industry (presentation attached).

3. Question/Concerns from Industry

3.1. How will communication be conducted during the one-on-one sessions?

PWGSC - The one-on-one sessions during the EE process will allow companies to present their ideas and comments in a one-on-one format as well as submit their presentation and answers to the questions forming part of the Letter of Interest (LOI).

This process gives the industry the opportunity to provide their comments and opinions up front prior to the issuance of the formal solicitation. A defined structure will form part of the EE process to ensure a consistent and fair approach is utilized throughout the process.

3.2. How will Early Engagement work, will it be posted, when can we meet?

PWGSC - Process is similar to a solicitation. Those who sign up will be scheduled to meet. PWGSC is still working out some details such as proprietary information, information sharing etc. The rules of engagement will form part of the LOI as well as what type of information industry can bring. These one-on-one sessions can be held in person or by teleconference.

PWGSC plans to release the LOI February/March and one-on-one sessions will commence at the end of March.

3.3. Is the LOI primarily structured around procurement and technical?

PWGSC - Yes. Both procurement and technical aspects will form part of the LOI for workstations.

3.4. Will these one-on-one sessions extend to only one program and will the industry obtain feedback or a debriefing?

PWGSC - Early Engagement is aimed to allow the industry to look at our planned direction and provide comments and opinions prior to the formal solicitation process. Feedback or a debriefing will not form part of the Early Engagement process. However, PWGSC will use, as appropriate, the information obtained from the process to develop the formal solicitation.

It is currently unknown whether the EE process will be used, and/or the extent it would be used for other programs. That said, the learnings from the office seating CPIs and the current proposed EE will be considered for the CPIs for the other programs.

3.5. The industry is looking for common technical terms for certain products. How will PWGSC achieve this?

PWGSC will achieve this through the EE process. The LOI will explain the approach for the CPIs and ask the industry a variety of pertinent questions. PWGSC will use the feedback from the industry to help ensure that terms are defined for common interpretation.

3.6. Is there an estimated timeline on when the solicitation will be posted and when the supply arrangements will be awarded?

PWGSC - This is dependent on the comments PWGSC receives during the Early Engagement process. Workplace 2.0 (WP2.0) is already in place and we know we need to have a new tool in place for clients as soon as possible.

3.7. What happened with the Request for Information (RFI) for interconnecting panels and supported components?

PWGSC - The information collected from the RFI posted in January 2013 was analyzed and used to develop part of the specifications for workstations. The LOI that will be posted shortly will contain both procurement and technical aspects associated with the complete requirement for workstations.

3.8. Will client departments be able to comment on the new approach for workstations?

PWGSC - Yes. Although this LOI is directed to the industry, the LOI will be posted publicly so that industry and client departments will be able to view the contents of the LOI. PWGSC will always accept comments from client departments.

3.9. What is happening with digital technology? There is a small number of technology platforms – will there be any consultation for digital technology?

PWGSC - Leveraging Digital Technology is a key strategy of the Acquisitions Program Transformation initiative launched in September 2012. There is currently significant examination within PWGSC to update its e-tools so that they are more efficient, simpler and more cost effective. The ideal goal is to have a system that interfaces between the clients, PWGSC and suppliers.

3.10. What, if any, is the role of GOFAC going forward?

PWGSC - GOFAC should continue but its focus and membership may change. GOFAC members are asked to develop its questions and vision for the GOFAC mandate using the experiences from the EE process. A GOFAC meeting will be later scheduled to address the GOFAC mandate.

3.11. Will there be an interim change to the current interconnecting panel systems standing offers to assist with the gap to purchase furniture for WP2.0 requirements?

PWGSC - No, the WP2.0 standard was established after the issuance of the current Standing Offers for interconnecting panel systems. PWGSC will not modify the current standing offers.

3.12. Is CORCAN impacted by any of this?

PWGSC - CORCAN is a separate program. The Acquisitions Branch of PWGSC has an obligation to advise clients to consider supporting this program.

3.13. Comment from Industry:

The industry would like for the furniture division to have a call-line for client questions. Policy is not always understood by the client and they call on the supplier.

PWGSC will undertake to improve the contact information on the Furniture Divisions website. It is important that the suppliers refer all clients to the procurement authority administering the CPIs to respond to any questions about the process to follow, the terms and conditions and any other questions related to the CPIs.

4. Closing Comments

The a/Chair appreciated the comments and questions raised from the industry and thanked everyone for attending.

Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.