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Procurement of Professional Services Sub-committee –
March 27, 2014

Record of Discussion and Decision

March 27, 2014, 2:30 – 4:00pm
Place du Portage, Phase III, 12C1-101



  • Normand Masse, Director General, Services And Technology Acquisition Management Sector (STAMS), Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC);
  • Pascale Archambault, A/Senior Director, Professional Services Procurement Directorate


*: Denotes participants on teleconference

  • Susanna Cluff-Clyburne*, Director, Parliamentary Affairs, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
  • Ema Dantas*, President and PWGSC, Language Marketplace Inc. (for WEConnect)
  • Dorothy Milburn-Smith, PWGSC of Perfortics Consulting Inc. (for CMC)
  • Scott Ryckman, Account Executive, CGI; for the Information Technology Association of Canada
  • Philip Ducharme*, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council
  • Louis-Martin Parent*, Director, President's Office, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • Normand Masse, Director General, Services And Technology Acquisition Management Sector, PWGSC;
  • Pascale Archambault, A/Senior Director, Professional Services Procurement Directorate (PSPD)
  • Debbie Sears, Manager, Online Services Division - ZT, PSPD, STAMS, PWGSC
  • Rose Spirito, Manager, Procurement Strategies Division - ZT, PSPD, STAMS, PWGSC
  • Réal Benoit, Manager, Informatics Methods Of Supply, PSPD, STAMS, PWGSC
  • Levent Ozmutlu, Senior Director, Informatics and Telecommunications Systems Procurement Directorate, PSPD, STAMS, PWGSC.
  • Lori Kibbee, A/Director, Supplier Engagement and Regional Coordination Directorate
  • Rachelle Dean, Policy Advisor, Supplier Engagement, Office Of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement, PWGSC
  • Aura deWitt, Manager, Services Procurement-Instruments Management Division, PSPD, STAMS, PWGSC.

Official Welcome and Introduction of members

Normand Masse, STAMS Director General welcomed participants to the meeting. A round table introduction of participants was undertaken.

Normand proposed that the goal of the meeting was to agree on a model for this committee and to define the mandate and objectives for this committee.

Discussion on Committee Structure

Review of existing Advisory committees

Pascale Archambault led a review of the existing advisory committees and their functions and mandates on a grid starting with the Supplier Advisory Committee (SAC) headed up by Hicham Adra, President of Ardan Fitzroy Enterprises Inc. and Pablo Sobrino, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Acquisitions of PWGSC.

Proposed committee structure options

Pascale proposed three possible structures for this professional services committee in relation to existing committees (the Temporary Help Services Advisory Committee and the Informatics Professional Services Advisory committee). The first option was a stand-alone committee that existed in parallel to the other two committees and reported directly to the SAC. The second option was the merger of all existing professional services committees into one reporting to the SAC. The third option proposed was a strategic advisory committee that considers and incorporates findings from the other two existing committees and provides overall strategic solutions to the SAC.

Discussion included concerns about duplication of committee work, as well as creating layers of committee that would require too many approvals and hamper results.

Pascale asked if government clients (the actual users of services) should be part of this Professional Services (PS) Sub-Committee. Suppliers expressed concern that materiel managers may create barriers in the procurement process and agreed that actual government client “users” could be members of PS Sub-Committee. Levent offered that this approach would enable the PS Sub-Committee to identify solutions to these Materiel Managers that were endorsed by PWGSC.

It was agreed that the third Option was the preferred model for this PS Sub-Committee

Objective & Mandate

Objectives and mandate were discussed in the context of existing committees. Concerns expressed included the need to have committee make concrete headway on issues not just report to the SAC.

Normand pointed out that the mandate should be strategic and in line with the Professional Services National Procurement Strategy.

It was agreed that this committee’s mandate would be broad and include all procurement services; that it be strategic, incorporating the work and results from the other existing committees, and enable two way communication – both to the SAC and to other existing committees.

The committee would be cross-cutting, defining the common issues experienced across all industries with the government procurement system.

It was agreed that a draft of committee objectives would be prepared and circulated to all members


Expectations from members were largely about ensuring results-oriented outcomes for the committee that addressed suppliers’ concerns.

The sub-committee will:

  • discuss and resolve concrete and common problems, such as a tendency for choosing the lowest bids and rates being driven down due to Standing Offers, which results in undervaluing the quality of work and negatively impacting the industry;
  • address the need to make things simpler for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)s to enable them to negotiate through the process for contracting with the Federal Government;
  • discuss the focus on price versus value. There is a need to come up with options as there is no “1 size fits all” approach, e.g. contract bundling;
  • look at how vehicles are used; years ago, “solutions” started by a contract for analysis. Now, the approach is a Statement of Work under task based contracting;
  • keep respective industry association memberships informed. Associations who are members of PS Sub-Committee must communicate with their members and ensure that there are no challenges at implementation after changes are discussed and agreed to by the Sub-committee;
  • arrive prepared at all meetings to discuss in concrete terms, and work on the issues identified; and,
  • share information about the sub-committee and its work via the SAC web presence, in both official languages.

Terms of Reference

It was agreed that PS Sub-Committee would meet quarterly given that SAC meets twice a year and committees such as IPSAC meet every 2 months, and that members commit to undertaking a certain amount of work between meetings.

The goal would be to identify the common issues in the procurement of professional services and propose solutions to address them to the SAC.

It was agreed that a draft Terms of Reference be circulated to members of the committee.

Review of decision items

  • It was agreed that the third committee model option presented was the preferred model for the committee structure.
  • It was agreed that the committee have a broad mandate and scope that would include examining all procurement services including all of PWGSCformal supply arrangements tools. It was agreed that this committee would present its findings and recommendations to ensure concrete headway in addressing common issues on a regular basis to SAC.
  • It was agreed that the committee would have a strategic role that identifies and considers the common the issues and outcomes of other existing committees, but does not in any way define or approve the work of these other committees. It was agreed that there be a loose dotted lines linking all committees. (See attached org chart)
  • It was agreed that PS Sub-Committee would meet quarterly. SAC meets twice a year and committees such as IPSAC meet every 2 months.
  • It was agreed that clients or direct government users of suppliers’ services could be part of the committee as needed.
  • Members agreed to do homework such as surveying their memberships and returning with topics and issues for the committee.
  • It was agreed that Records of Decision (RoD)s from the Information Technology (IT) and Non-IT Committees will be circulated to PS Sub-Committee members.

Next meeting: Topics & Date

The next meeting will take place the first week of June in Ottawa and will last three hours during an afternoon.

The meeting should take place before the SAC mid-June meeting to enable time to feed results to the SAC committee.

The main purpose of that meeting will be to select and prioritize the top three supplier/industry issues facing suppliers/industry in the government procurements process, from the list submitted by all industry representatives on the committee, and begin the discussion on solutions.

WebEx will be considered for next meeting rather than conference call.