Better Buying: Improving federal procurement for suppliers, government and Canadians

Better Buying: Improving federal procurement for suppliers, government and Canadians (PDF, 7.8Mb)

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

Government procurement can provide tremendous economic benefits for Canadian businesses and advance priorities that matter to Canadians. We are taking action to realize these opportunities by modernizing federal procurement so that it works better for Canada.

We are making procurement processes easier, faster and more accessible for suppliers and buyers, including small and medium-sized enterprises. At the same time, we want to use federal procurement to support businesses led by under-represented groups, provide increased opportunities for Indigenous businesses, and help address important issues, like climate change.

Our plan is based on 3 pillars:

  1. building a modern procurement foundation
  2. delivering a simpler and more responsive procurement system
  3. advancing socio-economic goals, increasing competition and fostering innovation

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.

Electronic procurement solution

We are building a new digital foundation for government procurement. This means moving away from our current, outdated paper-based system to a new electronic procurement solution.

The electronic procurement solution will be user-friendly and will give suppliers and government purchasers the online shopping experience they are used to in their day-to-day lives. This will make it easier and faster for suppliers to do business with the government, as they will be able to see all their orders, transaction history and status in one place, similar to their Amazon or eBay account.

In addition to streamlining buying and selling, this new tool will also help us gather data on the participation of businesses owned by under-represented groups, so that we can ensure that procurement is inclusive of all Canadians.

The electronic procurement solution is expected to be gradually implemented within PSPC starting late 2019.

Vendor performance management

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 that 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 gradually implemented in 2019.

Delivering a simpler and more responsive procurement system

Good progress is being made to make buying processes less burdensome. We have already taken a number of steps to improve both the supplier and purchaser experience by:

Simplified contracts

One of the barriers for suppliers when competing for government contracts is the complexity of documents. That’s why, moving forward, we are focused on simplifying paperwork to make it easier and less time consuming for suppliers. We will reduce the size of routine and highly competed goods and services contracts by at least 50% by 2020.

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. So far, we have established an ethical procurement policy, which requires apparel suppliers to abide by local laws and international standards on labour and human rights.

Moving forward, we are focused on using procurement to help advance other social objectives, such as:

Accessible Procurement Resource Centre

We are establishing an Accessible Procurement Resource Centre, where PSPC and SSC will develop processes for ensuring goods and services are accessible by design, where possible, so that Canadians with disabilities can use them without adaptation.

The Accessible Procurement Resource Centre will serve 2 functions:

  1. create and maintain a list of commodities across government for which accessible procurement is relevant
  2. 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 our government partners and stakeholders.

Opportunities for under-represented groups

We are aiming to increase participation of women-owned businesses in federal procurement by 50% (from 10% to 15%) by 2025.

Over the next two years, we will be experimenting with social procurement practices to increase the number of under-represented groups, such as women, visible minorities and persons with disabilities, participating in federal procurement. For example, we recently established a list of under-represented suppliers (businesses owned by women and visible minorities) and social enterprises capable of delivering catering and hospitality services in the National Capital Region.

Opportunities for Indigenous businesses

Indigenous economic development is crucial to increasing the socio-economic outcomes and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples.

We are leveraging 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. 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 five years.

To help stimulate Indigenous entrepreneurship and business development, and to provide Indigenous enterprises with more opportunities to participate in the economy through federal procurement, PSPC’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) offers seminars, presentations and meetings to Indigenous businesses and organizations across Canada.

Green procurement

The Greening Government Strategy sets specific targets for federal government light-duty vehicle purchases. Starting in 2019, 75% of new light-duty administrative fleet vehicle purchases will be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) or hybrids, while all new executive vehicle purchases will be ZEVs or hybrids.

Green procurement is also included in the Greening Government Strategy, and we are implementing it at each phase of the process. We are currently managing 35 commodity groups that include environmental considerations. We are 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.

The Government of Canada is also transforming how it heats 80 buildings and cools 67 buildings in the National Capital Region. Investing in more efficient technologies for our heating and cooling plants will reduce costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. We have reduced emissions by more than 30% since 2005 and are on track to further reduce total emissions to 65% by 2025.

We are implementing Smart Buildings, a technology that improves the way the government monitors and controls mechanical, heating, cooling and lighting systems in federal buildings across the country to increase the efficiency of these systems. Currently installed in 13 buildings in the National Capital Region, the Smart Buildings technology has resulted in energy savings of up to 17%, which equals savings of approximately $1 million annually.

Over and above all of this, we will continue to develop different approaches to advance socio-economic goals through procurement.

Engaging with smaller businesses

OSME is actively engaging with smaller businesses to promote federal procurement opportunities and find ways to reduce barriers to accessibility and inclusivity. OSME is also reviewing its services to ensure these respond to the needs of small enterprises at each stage of the procurement process.

Follow our progress

As we are moving forward, we will continue to engage with industry and suppliers, take stock of our progress, make adjustments and refine our approaches as required.

We will provide regular updates on these initiatives and more through the Better Buying web page: Progress will also be tracked through annual plans and reports tabled in Parliament and the Open Government Portal.

Get involved

We are always looking for input from the supplier community on how to improve federal procurement. We are also looking to help your company do business with the federal government. Contact OSME, at, to provide your input and to learn about how to sell to the Government of Canada.

More information

For further information on these initiatives and more, please visit

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