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July 8, 2008


Government Office Furniture Advisory Committee Meeting (GOFAC)

July 8, 2008
11A1, room 101
Gatineau, Quebec

In Attendance

  • Bruce Parratt – The Global Group
  • Jean Barbeau – Artopex-Plus Inc.
  • Greg Rapier – Knoll Inc.
  • David Swire – Teknion Furniture Systems
  • André Clément – Asokan
  • Bill Toutant - ABI
  • Eli Gilbert – CAF
  • Cedric Pilon - Canadian Heritage
  • Sue MacKenzie – OSME
  • Howard Dudley – Industry Canada
  • Michele Gannon – A&ID, PWGSC
  • Judi Murtough – RPS, PWGSC
  • Raymond Paquette - PWGSC
  • Josianne Despres – PWGSC
  • Pauline Blanchard – PWGSC
  • Jill Biesenthal – PWGSC


  • Carol Blotniuk – RPS, replaced by Judi Murtough
  • Gary Fawcett – Fawcett Files & Storage Systems, replaced by Bill Toutant ABI
  • Sean Macey – Basics Office Products Ltd.
  • Caroline MacIntosh – OGGO
  • Pierre Tremblay – PWGSC, replaced by Raymond Paquette as Chair Person
  • Alexandra Reid – A&ID, PWGSC, replaced by Michele Gannon
  • Veronica Silva – A&ID, PWGSC, replaced by Michele Gannon


Item 1 - Welcome and Introductions

Raymond Paquette opened the meeting with a round table introduction of all members present.

Item 2 - Acceptance of the Minutes of June 17th, 2008

The minutes of the meeting held June 17th, 2008 were accepted with no changes. However, Greg Rapier requested an update from a previous agenda item – meeting between PWGSC and INAC.

  • PWGSC reported that there had been no further meetings between PWGSC and INAC; and to their knowledge INAC were going to review  and clarify the current strategy/policy on Aboriginal Business.  PWGSC reiterated that they will continue to use the current strategy/rules.

Item 3 - Finalize the Procurement Strategy for Panel Systems

The discussion initially focused on maintaining the installed base. The committee questioned the intent of the statement 'PWGSC will consider processing requirements above $40K.' PWGSC explained that clients must provide sufficient justification for those cases where PWGSC is being requested to place a call-up in excess of $40K to match existing products. PWGSC also stated that the discounts in these cases will be further negotiated as is the currently the case when processing a requirement – to maintain an installed base. At this point the committee questioned potential time frames for these types of requirements, as clients are currently waiting a significant period of time to have requirements processed. PWGSC stated that they are coming up with an organization, which will be in a position to respond to requirements in a timely manner, and that staffing activities are currently underway.

Committee members asked if the criteria used to determine which suppliers would receive a Standing Offer to maintain the installed base would be published, as this concern had been expressed at the recent BIFMA conference call. PWGSC said that they would be reviewing previous large purchases, as well as continuing call-ups made against the NMSO's to determine the installed base. However, they would consider publishing the criteria used to establish the parameters for an installed base to ensure the transparency of the process.

Members brought up several concerns on the procurement strategy for new products:

  • The discount restriction for requirements under $25K, in the current procurement strategy, did not allow for the dealers to service our clients.
  • The call-up limitation of $25K should be raised to $40K to be consistent with the call-up limitations for procurement strategy for the installed base
  • The median calculation in the current procurement strategy does not incorporate freight, yet some companies include freight in their 'item' prices. There is a concern that this inclusion of freight in item pricing by some companies may negatively impact their standing in the median calculation.
  • PWGSC to review the publication of the selection criteria used for Standing Offers to maintain an installed base
  • PWGSC will amend the current strategy to add a generic plan representing requirements under $25K, which will be incorporated into the median calculation, thus introducing a third pricing tier
  • PWGSC to review the possibility of increasing the call-up limit to $40K
  • PWGSC to review how the issue of freight incorporated into item pricing can be resolved

Item 4 - Proposed Value-Added Criteria for Desking Systems and Panel Systems

The committee was provided with the value-added criteria for Desking and Panel Systems submitted to GOFAC to date. PWGSC informed the committee that because all Desking suppliers met the requirement for a dual arm integrated keyboard, this would be added to the purchase description in accordance with the mandatory criteria of 'value-added attributes.' After some discussion among committee members it was decided to make the value-added criteria non-mandatory. Members were encouraged to provide to PWGSC further examples of value-added criteria along with justification for said criteria by July 15th.

  • PWGSC will review the value-added criteria submitted and select up to five (5) criteria to incorporate into e-purchasing

Item 5 - Summer Meeting Schedule

It was put forth that GOFAC would reconvene in the fall, and start to address the procurement strategy for office seating. Some committee members felt that the committee should meet at the end of August to review any outstanding issues on the panel system procurement strategy.

  • PWGSC will call a meeting in August, if required

Item 6 - Closing Remarks

Several issues were raised during the closing remarks and have been listed for action as required.

  • Due to the fact that PWGSC has committed to issuing the NMSO programs for freestanding furniture, panel systems and desking systems in a very short time frame, committee members have indicated that PWGSC should have a back-up plan, in the event that anything goes askew.
  • Members feel there is currently a large backlog of data to be entered into e- purchasing and would like a commitment from PWGSC on the time frames for completion.
  • Some members feel that the call-up limitations for freestanding furniture and desking should be raised to $400K
  • The government should not preclude the inclusion of value-added criteria; in an attempt to assist the SME's
  • There has been a considerable increase in the price of steel since the award of the NMSO's for metal filing and storage cabinets. It is requested that PWGSC give consideration to this situation.