Roundtable Summaries

Defence Procurement Strategy Vancouver Roundtable
 –  August 11, 2014

Summary of Discussion

The session was opened by the Regional Director General, and included a short roundtable of introductions. The Parliamentary Secretary then provided an overview of the Defence Procurement Strategy, underscoring the importance of early and continuous industry engagement. He invited participants to provide feedback on their experience since the announcement of the Defence Procurement Strategy.

Participants encouraged the government to broaden the development of technical requirements to include a functional/outcomes based approach. This will allow the private sector to propose innovative solutions. Participants acknowledged that there may always be a need for some mandatory requirements, and encouraged maximum participation of industry stakeholders, beyond 'known commodities' in seeking solutions.

The effectiveness of early engagement was highlighted by several participants. They also expressed interest in understanding how Government would engage stakeholders, both generally and in relation to specific procurements.

The Parliamentary Secretary sought feedback on experiences dealing with Public Works and Government Services Canada or the Department of National Defence since the release of the Defence Procurement Strategy. Concerns were raised with regard to increasingly restrictive and finite labour rate categories, more specifically associated with recent repair and overhaul Requests for Proposals. The length of time often provided to the public sector to respond to questions during the Requests for Proposals process was seen as a challenge in developing a responsive bid. Another issue was raised regarding the private sector's ability to deal with Statement of Work scope changes during the Requests for Proposals process. Better upfront communication and interaction was encouraged between the procuring and client departments to mitigate these issues as was more effectively incorporating industry feedback ahead of time.

The discussion then turned to the role of the Defence Analytics Institute and the Defence Acquisition Guide. The Parliamentary Secretary emphasized that the Institute's role would focus on serving Canada's longer-term needs, including better understanding Canadian defence industry capabilities and how these could support future military capability requirements. Overall, participants saw the Defence Acquisition Guide as a good first step and encouraged that future editions provide more precision around budgets and schedules. The Guide was seen as a useful tool that could inform the private sector's business and staffing plans. The Parliamentary Secretary underscored that National Defence would be engaging more formally with industry in the fall.

Participants thanked the Government for its leadership in developing the Defence Procurement Strategy and noted that its implementation would help foster the integration of Canadian companies into the global supply chain. One participant noted the positive impact already being seen in this regard, as the Defence Procurement Strategy principles are being applied within current procurements. Caution was raised about unintended consequences of industry being pushed to think about investments in the defence sector beyond their areas of expertise. An example of this could be companies with aerospace and commercial aerospace experience being forced to consider the land or maritime domain. Another participant encouraged the government to play a greater role in shaping how prime contractors understand the strengths of suppliers from different regions.

One participant asked if Canada would be creating a stand-alone department for smaller military procurements, similar to the American model. He noted that the American model allowed for alternate bidders to provide proposals for evaluation after contracts have been awarded. Public Works and Government Services Canada officials will be following up to learn more about this approach.

In addition, participants expressed general support for the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive from the Canada Revenue Agency. Participants expressed a desire to increase the support for salary costs as a way to further support innovation.

Finally, in relation to the weighting and rating of Value Propositions within procurements, one participant noted that a norm of 10% as a weighting was a good start, but encouraged the government to go further. He underscored that Original Equipment Manufacturers would pay more attention as the weighting increases.

In closing, the Parliamentary Secretary thanked participants and underscored the importance of their contribution in the successful implementation of the Defence Procurement Strategy.

Attendance - August 11, 2014
Government of Canada

Public Works and Government Services Canada

Private Sector

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