Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Supplier Advisory Committee Meetings

Record of Discussion
Supplier Advisory Committee
Shaping Procurement Together

June 11, 2014
1:00 – 4:30
Place du Portage, Phase III, 11A1-101


  • Pablo Sobrino, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Acquisitions
  • Hicham Adra, President, Ardan Fitzroy Enterprises Inc.
  • Claire Caloren, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Accounting, Banking and Compensation
  • Desmond Gray, Director General (DG), Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement (OSME-SE)
  • Susanna Cluff-Clyburne, Director, Parliamentary Affairs, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
  • Jeffrey Pierce, Policy Analyst, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME)
  • Louis-Martin Parent, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • Mary Anderson, Executive Director, WBE Canada (**formerly WEConnect**)
  • Dorothy Milburn-Smith, CEO of Perfortics Consulting Inc. (for CMC)
  • Janet Thorsteinson, VP, Government Relations, Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI)
  • David Stapley, former Chair of CADSI
  • Cindy Baker, VP, Government Relations and Policy, Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
  • Kai Olson, Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement:
  • Lori Kibbee, A/Director, Supplier Engagement and Regional Coordination
  • Susan MacKenzie, Policy Advisor, Supplier Engagement
  • Rachelle Dean (secretariat), Policy Advisor, Supplier Engagement

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Pablo Sobrino welcomed participants and opened the meeting by introducing Claire Caloren, who will be replacing him starting in July. Members thanked him and wished him well in his next assignment. He also mentioned that information about the SAC, including the agendas and records of discussion, is now available on-line (Supplier Advisory Committee).

SAC Sub-Committees – Update on Progress & Discussion on determining success

Presentation and discussion summary:

Normand Masse briefed the members on the results to date of the two meetings of the sub-committee on Professional Services, on April 27th and June 4th. This included the development of Terms of Reference, the decision to involve end users of the procurement systems, a discussion about the structure of the sub-committee in relation to other existing bodies on professional services, agreement on the general factors to determine the success of the sub-committee and the establishment of a list of the top supplier issues in this area.

Members cautioned to ensure participating users covered the spectrum (small and large departments, etc.). There was also a discussion about what needs the government may wish to address via the sub-committee and it was agreed that this would be explored at the next meeting. To measure the success of the sub-committee's work, members discussed the need for regular surveys, by both industry and government, to determine whether suppliers saw progress.

Joelle Paquette briefed the group on the first meeting of the Risk Management Sub-Committee, held on April 15th, and subsequent meeting to be held before the end of June. The next meeting will serve to scope the issues to be addressed by the sub-committee related to Limitation of Liability, determine if the members want to be involved in the review of established Commodity Groupings and provide a consolidation of the information provided by members in the past on Limitation of Liability.

Discussion about the work of this sub-committee focused on the disconnect between issues with limitation of liability and the broader issue of how procurement risk is assessed and managed, which members feel affects many other issues explored by the SAC (cost, competition, prices, etc.) Members discussed treating these two components as two separate sub-committees and the need to have the right people at the table for the latter issue. PRISMS will develop recommendations to the co-chairs on the establishment of a senior level committee to address the broader issue of risk management.

Acquisition Branch Transformation

Presentation summary:

Vicki Ghadban presented the Acquisition Branch's digital transformation initiative. AB is exploring a move to a web-based system across government. The change is meant to reduce paper usage, provide secure remote access, allow e-bidding, and provide better business intelligence.

Discussion summary:

Members were supportive of this initiative and discussion focused on implementation issues for consideration. Among other questions, members asked whether this new system would be mandatory and what, if any, savings were expected as a result of this change. They noted that full implementation would be more difficult if not mandatory and that calculating savings in this type of initiative is difficult to do with any specificity. Members also discussed the potential models for funding this change that have been reviewed, including one where suppliers would pay to access bidding system, as is the case for some U.S. governments. As this cost would likely be absorbed into bids, the result would be higher prices for the government. Members also pointed out that few suppliers would persist beyond a few failed bids, which could drive down competition. All agreed that irrespective of the final solution, the transition would be the key to success. Pablo encouraged members to consult their association memberships to answer the questions posed by the presentation and Vicki stated that she would like an opportunity to meet with as many of them as possible.

Defence Procurement Strategy - Update

Presentation summary:

Christopher Baird presented the key elements of the new strategy, gave an update on progress since the launch and briefed the members on some of the results of the recent information sessions.

Discussion summary:

Members discussed the SME concerns which were raised during the sessions, and the need to develop methods to have prime contractors become more familiar with the capabilities of Canadian SMEs, as well as their strategic importance in dealing with the new value proposition requirements. The role of SMEs in fostering innovation was discussed and it was mentioned that both Smart Procurement and the publishing of the Defence Acquisitions Guide should help SMEs in this area, to ensure they are consulted early in the development of requirements and have an opportunity to develop strategies to participate in upcoming for major procurements.

Industry Consultations on SMEs and Outreach

Presentation summary:

Desmond Gray explained that OSME-SE would be surveying its clients, both government departments and suppliers, in the coming months. The survey of suppliers would be focused on barriers and OSME services at their disposal. He explained that he was hoping to leverage associations to undertake this on-line survey, both to consult them on the survey itself and to reach their membership as well as those who no longer do business with the federal government due to barriers or any other reason.

Discussion summary:

Members were supportive and all agreed to assist. Surveying methods were discussed, such as third party surveyors and the ability to provide anonymous input. Desmond also committed to verify with his colleague DGs to determine whether other surveys of the supplier community were planned. There was also a discussion about new technologies available to undertake outreach, including YouTube, and members offered assistance to OSME-SE in developing material for suppliers.

Forward Agenda

Pablo committed to having the sub-committees provide an update on progress prior to the next meeting, likely in September.

Members requested a presentation by Jennifer Stewart regarding security clearances, as changes are underway with the team and process. It was also suggested that information packages could be created to provide members with information and Canadian and international examples regarding contract bundling. If there is interest from the members, OSME-SE will organize an information session (Procurement Policy 101) either via webinar or in the morning prior to the next meeting.

Next Steps

The next meeting will take place November 2014.