Better buying

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

 

Better Buying is Public Services and Procurement Canada’s plan to make procurement processes easier, faster and more accessible for suppliers and buyers. At the same time, we are using procurement to support under-represented groups and to help address important issues, like climate change.

The plan is based on three pillars:

Additional information (expandable if desired)

The Government of Canada purchases on average $22 billion in goods and services each year to help deliver programs and services to Canadians. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Shared Services Canada handle more than 75% of the value of these purchases, which range from vaccines to military equipment, and so much more.

On this page

Building a modern procurement foundation

The best buildings have the strongest foundations. The same goes for federal procurement, and it starts with our people. We have already been developing strategies and programs to better recruit, train and develop our professional buyers.

We are also looking at digital technologies and international best practices to better align our procurement processes with today’s evolving business environment.

In this section

Electronic procurement solution

Goal
Implement an electronic procurement solution to replace the current, costly, paper-based system, which is more than 20 years old.
Description
We are moving to a paperless procurement process through the acquisition of an electronic procurement solution (EPS). By implementing a web-based interactive contract management solution, we will make it easier for suppliers to sell, improve data quality, reduce the administrative burden for suppliers and increase opportunities for small and medium enterprises. The EPS will be incrementally implemented within PSPC beginning in late 2019.
Status
In progress. The contract for the implementation and management of the EPS was awarded in July 2018 with the rollout expected to begin in late 2019 within PSPC.

Vendor performance management

Goal
We are developing new tools to track and manage vendor performance. This will give suppliers incentives to deliver high-quality goods and services. Past contracting performance will be considered in future bid processes so suppliers that perform well will end up with an advantage in future solicitations over companies that have performed poorly. Improved vendor performance management tools will be implemented gradually.
Description
These tools will include sharing vendors’ past performance information across government, as well as a feedback mechanism to facilitate two-way communication between the government and vendors. A new framework to manage relationships with vendors and their performance will help get better results in the acquisition of goods and services and ensure taxpayers receive value for money. Vendors will benefit by having clear performance expectations to fulfill their contracting obligations. Vendors with high-performing ratings will enjoy a high probability of repeated contracts.
Status
In progress. We are consulting with industry professionals, and the vendor performance management tools will be gradually implemented in 2019.

National recruitment campaigns

Goal
Address the lack of procurement specialist capacity, which is causing delays in procurements.
Description
In collaboration with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and other federal departments, we are running national competitions to hire individuals at a variety of levels in the Purchasing and Supply occupational group.
Status
Ongoing. The first processes were launched in 2017 and pools of qualified candidates were created. Based on the success of the processes, a second national recruitment wave was initiated in November 2018. The processes will recruit procurement professionals at various levels and should be completed by the spring of 2019.

Intern Officer Development Program

Goal
Recruit and train post-secondary graduates to acquire the required competencies and knowledge to negotiate and buy complex goods and services on behalf of the government.
Description
Through on-site training and assignments, the Intern Officer Development Program allows candidates committed to developing a procurement career to progress up to the supply specialist level (PG-04) after two or three years.
Status
Ongoing. We are increasing our marketing efforts to reach university and college graduates. A campaign to recruit candidates using social media, videos and face-to-face discussions during career fairs on university campuses was launched in October 2018.

Delivering a simpler, responsive and accessible procurement system

One of our primary goals is to make buying processes less burdensome for both suppliers and government buyers. That’s why we are taking a number of steps to improve both the supplier and purchaser experience.

In this section

Simplifying contracts

Goal
Simplify and streamline our contracting documents to make procurement less burdensome for suppliers.
Description
We are responding to suppliers’ concerns that the procurement process is too complex and administratively burdensome. We are reviewing and improving our contract terms and conditions, which involves using plain language and removing duplicated and outdated information. This will make it easier for suppliers to read and understand the contracts. The exercise will also include benchmarking Canada’s current contracting practices against other jurisdictions to improve them and ensure they respond to today’s business context. By reducing the burden on suppliers, the simplification of contracts will contribute to improving the efficiency of procurement.
Status
Ongoing. To date, we have examined large volumes of contractual documents. We have successfully taken some tenders from over 100 pages and reduced them to about 44 pages. We will continue to reduce the size of routine and highly competed goods and services contracts by at least 50% by 2020.

Electronic transmission of bids

Goal
Enable suppliers to send their bids electronically, instead of using traditional tools such as mail, fax or dropping off their proposals at PSPC’s bid receiving unit.
Description
We are improving the suppliers’ experience by offering them a faster and more efficient way to transmit their bids. This initiative benefits suppliers, while supporting government’s greening objectives. It will help reduce paper use by at least 250,000 pages annually, saving a significant number of trees.
Status
In progress. In July 2017, we began to offer e-bid submission services to suppliers through a pilot using Canada Post’s epost Connect in the National Capital Region (NCR). This successful project resulted in the formal implementation of e-bid submissions in the NCR in January of 2018 in selected tenders, and national implementation was launched in summer 2018.

Improvements to the BuyandSell.gc.ca platform

In this section

Enhancing standing offers and supply arrangements

Goal
Improve the government buyers’ and suppliers’ experience by implementing a self-service application designed to create and share procurement instruments among the department and organizations participating in the Canadian Collaborative Procurement Initiative.
Description
Considering the increased use of standing offers and supply arrangements in federal procurement, we have launched a web-based application that can be accessed on Buyandsell.gc.ca called the Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements Application (SOSA App). The SOSA App allows federal procurement officers to create and maintain their standing offers and supply arrangements. Authorized buyers and users from provincial and territorial governments can also use the SOSA App to view and use federal instruments in a secure environment.
Status
Ongoing. The SOSA App has been used since July 2017 by procurement officers in provinces, territories and other organizations, giving them access to 7,500 federal procurement instruments in order to leverage the best price. The application is being improved to expand its usage across the federal government.

Automated email notification

Goal
Respond to suppliers’ request to be notified and regularly informed about procurement opportunities.
Description
We enhanced the BuyandSell.gc.ca website in July 2017 by adding a free, simple-to-use email notification service. Almost 85,000 suppliers can now sign up to receive updates on new tenders, on changes made to existing tenders and on results of customized search terms. This initiative provides a more robust service delivery for suppliers, in addition to existing feed notification services available on Buyandsell.gc.ca.
Status
Completed. As of October 2018, over 7,200 suppliers have subscribed to the alerts.

Supplier contract history letter

Goal
Respond to suppliers’ request to have proof of doing business with the Government of Canada.
Description
We have launched a new service on Buyandsell.gc.ca that allows suppliers to request a letter of certification of contracts awarded to them by PSPC. Suppliers can use the supplier contract history letter as proof of having done business with the government and as a reference when bidding on work.
Status
Completed. The supplier contract history letter service was launched on Buyandsell.gc.ca on October 24, 2018.

Canadian Collaborative Procurement Initiative

Goal
Join together federal, provincial and territorial governments, along with other organizations to increase their buying power and generate meaningful economic benefits for suppliers and Canadians.
Description
Through the Canadian Collaborative Procurement Initiative, participating provincial and territorial governments, as well as their affiliated organizations (municipal, academic, social services and hospitals), can access PSPC catalogues and benefit from federally negotiated rates. This helps reduce their administrative and legal burden and can also reduce costs to Canadian taxpayers. It also provides PSPC suppliers with the opportunity to expand their business to provincial, territorial and municipal markets, as well as Canadian aid agencies, public health organizations, intergovernmental organizations and foreign governments.
Status
Since the launch of the initiative in January 2017, seven provinces, three territories, nine municipalities and four academic institutions have signed an agreement with PSPC to participate. Commodities such as office supplies, radios and tires are already being purchased as a result of these agreements.  

Phased bid compliance

Goal
Increase competition in procurements and achieve better value for Canadians.
Description
We are implementing a phased bid compliance process in certain solicitations to provide bidders with more flexibility when demonstrating compliance with certain mandatory requirements. As set out in the solicitation document, bidders are allowed an opportunity to correct deficiencies in their proposal to become compliant with the specified mandatory requirements.
Status
Effective since July 2017. Procurements such as Naval Remote Weapon Stations, Headquarters Shelter Systems, and Contracted Airborne Training Services are clear examples of how this process can lead to positive results, and demonstrates its efffectiveness in achieving value for Canadians.This approach is currently being applied to the Canadian Surface Combatants procurement under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Challenge-based and agile procurement

Goal
Simplify and modernize procurement processes, while obtaining the best information technology solutions for the government.
Description
Through pilots launched in 2017, we are experimenting with an approach better suited to today’s fast-moving digital environment: the agile and challenged-based procurement. In this process, industry is solicited to respond to government’s challenges through an open, fair and transparent competitive process that doesn’t rely on long, complicated specifications and allows companies to provide alternative solutions that could serve government better. These changes may also result in contracts being awarded in a more timely and efficient manner. Businesses benefit from being able to propose their best solutions while departments get access to the best information technology solution that meets their specific need.
Status
In progress. We are managing challenged-based and agile procurement projects in collaboration with industry and suppliers while making adjustments and refining our approaches.

Advancing socio-economic goals, increasing competition and fostering innovation

As the largest public buyer of goods and services, the Government of Canada can use its purchasing power for the greater good.

We are using our purchasing power to contribute to socio-economic benefits for Canadians, increase competition in our procurements and foster innovation in Canada. 

In this section

Supporting participation of small and medium enterprises in federal procurement

Goal
Use evidence-based data to develop policies and strategies, which help reduce barriers faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including businesses owned or led by Canadians from under-represented groups, and social enterprises, when doing business with the federal government.
Description
We are fostering the participation of bidders in our contracts, in particular businesses owned or led by Canadians from under-represented groups, such as women, persons with disabilities and persons from visible minorities. Our Office of Small and Medium Enterprises has increased its outreach activities to target under-represented businesses across Canada.
Status
In progress.

Opportunities for under-represented groups

Goal
Contribute to the government’s social and economic objectives, including increasing the participation of businesses from under-represented groups in the procurement system.
Description
We are fostering the participation of bidders in our contracts, in particular businesses owned or led by Canadians from under-represented groups, such as women, persons with disabilities and persons from visible minorities. Our Office of Small and Medium Enterprises has increased its outreach activities to target under-represented businesses across Canada.
Status
In progress. We have consulted with industry about approaches to incorporate social procurement measures in the temporary services method of supply and in the selection method for architects and engineers.

Our department is conducting a number of pilots and is planning to launch more. For example, there are now two pilots for catering services in the National Capital Region and the Atlantic Region. These pilots have created a list of under-represented suppliers and social enterprises that can provide catering or hospitality services. At the same time, we are developing guidelines and policies (taking into account trade agreements) on how to conduct social procurement.

Opportunities for Indigenous businesses

Goal
Contribute to the government’s social and economic objectives, including increasing the participation of businesses from Indigenous groups in the procurement system, and increasing their capacity.
Description
We are fostering the participation of businesses owned or led by Indigenous groups in our contracts.
Status
Ongoing. We are leveraging federal procurement to support Indigenous businesses by providing them with increased opportunities to access the federal government market. To further help stimulate Indigenous economic development, we are increasingly incorporating requirements for benefits for Indigenous Peoples and businesses into federal procurement. The contract for the administration of the Canada Student Loans Program, for example, awarded by PSPC on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada, stipulated that a portion of the services needed to be delivered by an Indigenous sub-contractor. In collaboration with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, we are also encouraging departments that procure more than $1 million annually to find ways to increase the value of contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses. Departments have been asked to aspire to an Indigenous procurement objective of 5% by the end of the next 5 years.

Accessible procurement

Goal
Contribute to the government’s social and economic objectives, including making sure that goods and services purchased are accessible by design, where possible, so that Canadians with disabilities can use them without adaptation.
Description
We are developing policies to ensure that procurement opportunities in the future will have accessibility criteria incorporated, and we look forward to working with suppliers to contribute to a barrier-free Canada.
Status
In progress. We are establishing an Accessible Procurement Resource Centre, which will serve two main roles: create and maintain a list of commodities across government for which accessible procurement is relevant, and provide direction, guidance and advice on accessible procurement to all federal organizations.

We continue to consider international best practices in accessible procurement and are collaborating with persons with disabilities, our government partners, and stakeholders.

Green procurement

Goal
Reduce our environmental footprint and create new markets for innovative, clean technology products and services.
Description
We are introducing environmental considerations when we plan, buy, use and dispose of all goods and services, including construction. For example, as part of the Energy Services Acquisition Program, bidders are being asked to demonstrate that their technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond targets set by Canada. The government’s support for green goods and services contributes to fighting climate change while promoting innovation and accelerating the research and development of clean technologies. Bidders who include clean technologies in their proposals may be rewarded.
Status
Ongoing. As of May 2018, there are 35 groups environmental considerations. We are also prioritizing commodities that will have the greatest overall impact in reducing plastic waste, and ensuring that where plastics are procured, they are recyclable or manufactured from recycled content.

Ethical procurement of apparel

Goal
Contribute to social and economic objectives by ensuring that suppliers and their direct suppliers comply with local laws and international standards on labour and human rights.
Description
We have researched and developed an appropriate approach for our apparel procurement practices. We are introducing considerations for the ethical procurement of apparel.
Status
A comprehensive ethical procurement policy for apparel came into effect in September 2018.

Sustainment Initiative

Goal
Develop tailored maintenance and in-service support contracts that ensure the Canadian Armed Forces always has equipment that is ready, reliable and safe, while encouraging industry to be more efficient and innovative.
Description
Launched in 2016, the Sustainment Initiative introduced a new process to develop contracts for military equipment maintenance and support programs. Instead of using a standardized “one-size-fits-all” template, interdepartmental teams across government engage with industry early in the process to determine the best way to address the requirement, on a case-by-case basis. This approach leads to innovative, more cost-effective and flexible solutions that deliver best value for Canadians.
Status
As of January 2018, 20 programs have been completed for air, land and sea defence requirements valued at $20 million or greater, with an additional 60 programs in process. A number of pilot projects have proceeded to contract awards and have been instrumental in providing feedback and lessons learned. Projects include the engines for the CF-18 Hornet, CP-140 Aurora and CC-130 Hercules aircraft, and the in-service support contract for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and Joint Support Ships. Early assessments suggest that outcomes are positive.

Industry testimonials

Vendor performance management

“The Vendor Performance Management Framework could be a tremendous tool to motivate suppliers to perform and innovate. By providing the opportunity and pathway to make the Government of Canada into a repeat customer, the Vendor Performance Management Framework provides an efficient, low-cost way of tapping into suppliers’ natural desire to work collaboratively with their customers in government, generating better outcomes for everyone.”

Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), Iain Christie, Executive Vice President

Electronic procurement solution

“On behalf of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), I applaud your department’s commitment to advance digital services and procurement for Canadians.”

Information Technology Association of Canada, Andre Leduc, Government Relations and Policy

Canada Student Loans Program—Opportunities for Indigenous businesses

“For more than 15 years, Finastra (D+H) and Tribal Wi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC) have worked collaboratively under the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business to deliver services in support of the Canada Student Loans Program. Our joint success is anchored in aligned goals, trust and respect. TWCC has gained both capability and capacity through this partnership and as a result has been able to grow and diversify its business, driving increased direct benefits to the Aboriginal community.”

Finastra (D+h), Monique Allen, Sr. Vice President, Finastra

Social procurement pilot on temporary help services

“Congratulations on implementing suggestions raised during Supplier Advisory Committee meetings and actively listening to new ideas and approaches to benefit all Canadians. In particular, Section 2.2, Implementation of Social Procurement Pilot within the Request for Information, will increase accessibility of the federal procurement system to women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disability and visible minorities. It is a tremendous approach to leverage the government’s buying power in a positive way.”

Mary Anderson, Former President, Women Business Enterprises Canada

“We would like to acknowledge and commend the Ministry’s initiation of a pilot project to launch the implementation of the social procurement objectives of the mandate letter. This first step is an important precedent in the evolution of a federally implemented social purchasing policy and practice. Kudos!”

David LePage, Managing Partner, Buy Social Canada

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