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Supplier Advisory Committee Meetings

Record of Discussion
Supplier Advisory Committee
Shaping Procurement Together

January 16, 2013
13:00 – 15:30
Place du Portage, Phase III, 11A1-101


  • Tom Ring, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Acquisitions
  • Hicham Adra, President, Ardan Fitzroy Enterprises Inc.
  • Pablo Sobrino, Associate ADM, Acquisitions
  • Shereen Benzvy Miller, Director General (DG), Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement (OSME-SE)
  • Cassandra Dorrington, President, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC)
  • Sunir Chandaria, Vice President (VP), Conros Corporation
  • Louis-Martin Parent, Policy Analyst, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
  • Mary Anderson, Executive Director, WEConnect
  • Glen Yonemitsu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC)
  • John Gelder, Senior Partner, Gelder, Gingras & Associates, Certified Management Consultants
  • Lucie Boily, VP, Policy and Competitiveness, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC)
  • Dr. Ian Christie, President and CEO, Neptec
  • Janet Thorsteinson, Government Relations, Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)
  • David Stapley, President, DRS Technologies, Inc.
  • Karna Gupta, President and CEO, Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
  • Cindy Baker, Director, Government Relations, ITAC
Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement:
  • Lori Kibbee
  • Susan MacKenzie
  • Rachelle Dean (secretariat)

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Tom Ring opened the meeting by welcoming participants and thanking them for agreeing to be members of the Supplier Advisory Committee (SAC). He emphasized that he was hoping this would provide an opportunity for a full and frank discussion on procurement, even if it meant differences of opinion. Hicham Adra echoed the welcome, and explained that he viewed this committee as an opportunity for all members to contribute to the manner in which government undertakes engagement, leveraging and governance on procurement projects.

Smart Procurement

Presentation summary:

The presentation focused on the four pillars of Smart Procurement, a new initiative within the Acquisitions Branch at Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). It moves government to engage with industry starting early in the procurement project. This aims to create a two-way communication, where government can work out issues with planned procurements in advance of finalizing the Request for Proposal, and industry is better positioned to bid. The four pillars include engagement, effective governance, use of third parties and leveraging the procurement spend. These are based on the best practices developed with industry during the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy project.

Discussion summary:

Members were supportive of the underlying principles of Smart Procurement and discussed related issues, such as management of expectations throughout the procurement, to ensure the engagement has visible and tangible results, and the speed at which the process is undertaken. Digital initiatives, such as open government and procurement project tracking, were discussed as ways PWGSC is addressing transparency. Smart Procurement represents a change in culture and suppliers should feel free to discuss it with procurement teams, and even raise with the ADM if they feel PWGSC is not living up to its commitments in this area. Consistency and visible commitment are key drivers for change.

Members discussed a scorecard approach to measure success, which will be explored as a potential annual exercise for this committee (i.e. rating PWGSC on the progress made on the four pillars). Members expressed the opinion that the Supplier Advisory Committee itself represented progress on engagement, and all agreed to share the meeting material with their colleagues. PWGSC will post it to its website and members should feel free to post it on their own sites.

Integrity Framework

Presentation summary:

The presenters explained that the framework is not new; it is an expansion of what was already in place and reflects the importance of knowing with whom PWGSC does business. New types of convictions were added to the list which has existed since 2007 and it now covers all transactions. The presenters detailed the process for the application of the policy, which applies throughout the life of the contract.

Discussion summary:

Discussion focused on a potential disadvantage to Canadian firms, as firms with foreign convictions are not penalized under this framework. As well, practical issues around the requirements to collect consent forms and the need for greater clarity regarding affiliates were raised. Advice was provided that PWGSC should explore the potential of using the existing industry certification process to replace some of these requirements. PWGSC will also explore system and process improvements to avoid duplication of provided data, for example from the Controlled Goods Directorate within the Industrial Security Sector. The impact of extra requirements on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was also discussed, as any new requirements quickly become a burden given their resource levels.

Discussion highlighted that additional communication to industry would help to explain why this approach represents the best alternative to deal with externalities having made action by PWGSC necessary.

Update: PWGSC Small and Medium Enterprise Study

Update summary:

Presenters explained that the intent of the study was to: 1) understand barriers to participation, current gaps between services offered and those required, and awareness of services currently available; 2) make improvements to the services provided by OSME-SE; 3) provide a baseline for further study and analysis; and 4) facilitate comparison with other jurisdictions.

The report on findings from the study will be published shortly, and distributed to members by the SAC Secretariat. In the new fiscal year, raw data will be publicly available. An action plan based on the results of the study will be presented to SAC at a future meeting.

Discussion summary:

Examples of barriers for SMEs in government procurement were discussed and it was suggested that PWGSC may want to consider an action plan specific to SMEs with regard to Smart Procurement. Members offered to work with OSME-SE to enhance the data for further study.

Forward Agenda

Forward agenda will include an item on military procurement generally. PWGSC was asked to share data regarding the profile of military spend to inform the discussion at the next meeting. Also, a briefing on PWGSC's response to recent reports, such as the Industry Sector Review by Tom Jenkins and the Emerson Panel on Aerospace and Space was requested.

Next Steps

It was agreed that industry items for future agendas should be sent to the Industry Co-Chair and that a draft agenda would be shared one to two months in advance of the next meeting.

PWGSC committed to sending the record of discussion in February.

The next meeting will take place in June 2013.