Overview of the Department


The Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada has a broad range of responsibilities and functions, many of which are set out in legislation. The core functions are described below. The legislative framework is summarized in Annex A. In exercising these responsibilities the department spends more than $6 billion per year and has over 12,000 employees throughout Canada.

The Minister also has responsibility for a portfolio of five other organizations that report separately and are described in Annex B.

Government's Central Purchasing Agent

We buy everything from pencils to military equipment. Of the federal government's average procurement contracts valued at approximately $18 billion each year, we manage approximately $15 billion on behalf of other federal departments and agencies.

There are four broad categories of procurement:

  • Military procurement represents 42% (about $6 billion) of expenditures and includes all military goods and services.
  • Complex non-military goods and services represents 11% (about $2 billion) and covers things like large information technology systems and infrastructure projects.
  • Basic goods represents 20% (about $3 billion) and covers things like office supplies and fuel.
  • Basic services represents 27% (about 4 billion) and includes things such as consulting, translation, and custodial services.

The department consistently seeks opportunities to improve its service delivery through innovation and modernization. It has structured engagement processes with private industry and suppliers to seek feedback and identify areas of improvement. For example, we have developed a plan for a series of improvements after consultations with over 2,000 suppliers. We also have a significant online presence, the e-procurement portal and buyandsell.gc.ca, to allow buyers and suppliers to access procurement information and use it to meet their needs. Some of these systems are quite old and a major initiative is underway to implement a new system that is easier to use and that will enable the department to become more efficient.

We support Canadian businesses through specific programs and initiatives:

  • Our Build in Canada Innovation Program helps companies by purchasing and testing innovative goods and services, testing them and providing feedback to the entrepreneurs on the performance of their goods or services. It provides innovators with the opportunity to enter the marketplace with a successful application of their products and services. Since 2010, 150 innovation contracts worth over $56 million have been awarded to 135 companies.
  • Our Office of Small and Medium Enterprises helps small (1-99 employees) and medium (100-499 employees) businesses to participate in the procurement process by providing outreach and information services (“how to” seminars, webinars, one-on-one supplier meetings, national InfoLine). The office also brings forward the concerns and challenges of businesses to help improve and simplify procurement tools and processes.
  • We provide the federal government with security screening services for industry employees and Canadian companies involved in government contracts that have security requirements. We undertake approximately 100,000 transactions per year for about 50 departments.
  • We regulate the domestic possession, examination, and transfer of controlled goods and technologies in Canada. Controlled goods have military or national security significance, but are not classified.
  • Working closely with the Department of National Defence and Industry Canada, we are improving our approach to defence procurements, using early and continuous industry engagement and collaboration to help Canadian companies be more competitive.
  • We administer a Government-wide Integrity Regime, which helps ensure that the Government does business with ethical suppliers.


  • Of the $15 billion value in procurement managed by Public Works and Government Services Canada each year, around 40% goes to Canadian small and medium enterprises.
  • In recent years, small and medium businesses located in Canada won over 80% of the contracts awarded annually by the department, with a value close to $5.5 billion annually.
  • Last year, the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises organized over 1,100 outreach events and the department assisted almost 340,000 current and potential suppliers since 2006.
  • We also assist provinces and territories through the annual bulk purchasing of flu vaccines.

Property and Buildings Manager

Public Works and Government Services Canada manages real estate, construction projects, bridges, docks and dams across the country. It also enhances and preserves the cultural heritage of buildings, monuments and commemorative events throughout Canada. Its rehabilitation of the Parliamentary Precinct will ensure the preservation of the integrity of the Parliament Buildings.

We are responsible for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the Parliament Buildings, the Supreme Court, and other iconic buildings. We manage a crown-owned property portfolio with a market value of over $7 billion and are actively pursuing strategies to maintain strong stewardship of these assets. This is a challenging exercise in the context of an ageing portfolio.

We provide approximately $550 million in payments in lieu of property taxes (akin to property tax) to about 1,250 municipalities on behalf of the Government of Canada each year.

We are the real estate “custodian of last resort” for the federal government, responsible for approximately 30% of federal property inventory. We provide other departments and agencies with advice in real estate, also known as real property, and property management and engineering services on a fee-for-service basis. The department also provides advice to the government on the most efficient method of managing real estate disposals and provides real estate portfolio management advice and alternative forms of delivery contract management. In delivering core services to federal departments and agencies, we are continuously seeking ways to reduce costs and maximize efficiencies. For instance, we leverage the private sector's expertise and innovation to increase our flexibility to provide real estate services.


  • Since awarding the first “alternative forms of delivery” contracts in 1998, the department has identified savings of $20 million per year, for a total of $340 million, as a result of the use of the private sector for the delivery of real estate services across the country.
  • Since 2001, we have invested $1.8 billion on the preservation of the Parliamentary Precinct and are approved to spend an additional $1.2 billion through to 2018. In the past decade, 20 major projects within the Precinct have been delivered, all on time and on budget.
  • The government's Surplus Federal Real Property Homelessness Initiative makes surplus federal real estate properties available as non-cash contributions for projects that contribute to the prevention and reduction of homelessness.

Office Space Manager

Our department has overall responsibility for providing office space for public servants and Parliamentarians. In recent years, we have been changing; examining our business to increase efficiencies, elevate performance, and position ourselves to respond to future challenges and government priorities. Across the country, we accommodate 265,000 federal employees. We serve 98 client departments in over 1,600 locations. We manage property valued at $7.3 billion in 313 Crown-owned buildings. To support workplace renewal, we are leading the transformation of government workplaces through a modern office space allocation and design standard called “Workplace 2.0”. We are using new designs and furniture that are modern and sustainable and that better incorporate ever-changing information technology.

Our leadership is also enabling departments to restructure office accommodation, to ensure the most efficient and economical use of government facilities. We are working to leverage technology and management best practices to increase flexibility and efficiency in the workplace while reducing operating costs. Our goal is to create a modern workplace that will attract, retain and encourage public servants to work smarter, greener and healthier to better serve Canadians.


  • Since 2005, implemented space reductions and created new efficient and functional space standards that will reach savings of over $540 million annually by fiscal year 2018-2019.
  • Improved our tenant satisfaction ratings over the last 5 years though we still need to improve further.
  • Makes annual rental payments on over 1,300 lease contracts across Canada.


As the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, you are also named the Receiver General for Canada. While the Minister of Finance is responsible for managing the funds of the government, the Receiver General administers these funds, including how they are deposited, kept and disbursed as well as reports annually to Parliament on the government's financial records.  More specifically,

  • Issuing payments for the Government of Canada. The department issues payments on behalf of federal government departments and some provincial governments. These payments are made to Canadian citizens and businesses, both in Canada and around the world. Payments can be made in Canadian funds or in a multitude of other currencies.
  • Accepting payments to the Government of Canada. We manage all banking arrangements with financial institutions (banks, credit unions, trust companies, caisses populaires) to accept and process payments to the federal government.
  • Preparing the Public Accounts of Canada. The department is legally required to publish the Public Accounts of Canada each year which includes the summary of overall financial transactions under the Receiver General and the detailed financial records of federal departments and agencies.


  • The department directly touches the lives of Canadians through the administration of federal government cheques and direct deposits including tax refunds, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security payments, Employment Insurance benefits and Universal Child Care Benefits.
  • It handles over $2 trillion in cash flow transactions annually though the Receiver General function.
  • It issues over 300 million federal and provincial payments to Canadians and businesses.

Pay and Pension Administrator

We are Canada's largest payroll and pension administrator. This means that we process pay and pension payments for employees and retirees of the Government of Canada in accordance with legislation and collective agreements. Since 2012, we are also responsible for providing front-line pay and benefits services to employees and managers of 46 departments and agencies from a new Pay Centre established in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

The department is replacing the antiquated pay system with a commercial off-the-shelf system based on industry standards. It is also gradually consolidating pay services from departments and agencies to our Pay Centre in Miramichi. This will ensure long term sustainability of federal pay services and generate savings of approximately $70 million per year starting in 2016-2017.

We have successfully modernized and centralized pension systems and services for the Public Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police pension plans and will assume the administration of the Canadian Armed Forces pension plan in 2016.


  • Issues more than 13.6 million federal pay and pension payments, annually.

Provides linguistic services to all government departments

Our Translation Bureau is responsible for helping the Government to communicate with and provide services to Canadians in the official language of their choice. Our language professionals work virtually across the country and offer quality services 24/7 in Canada's official languages as well as in over 100 Aboriginal and foreign languages. With an 80% share of the federal market, value for money is also being achieved as we transform the way we deliver linguistic services with a strong technology agenda that positions the Bureau to meet the changing demands of a modern government.


  • The Bureau provides translation and interpretation services for more than 2,000 parliamentary sittings and parliamentary committee meetings and manages translation of more than one million words per day on behalf of other federal organizations.
  • It is adapting to its clients' reality (social media, instantaneous communication) and is maximizing the use of linguistic technology to generate efficiencies and reduced costs by over $50 million since 2012-2013.

Communicating with Canadians

We are responsible for the delivery of accessible information to Canadians, as well as services and advice to departments through selected communications activities, such as advertising, electronic media monitoring, Government of Canada publications, public opinion research and The Canada Gazette, the Government of Canada's official newspaper.


  • Approximately 100 issues of The Canada Gazette are published and edited online every year
  • More than 161,000 electronic titles are hosted and downloadable on the government's publications website
  • Access to more than 5,000 electronic articles, from over 50 Canadian newspapers, news wires, and radio and television broadcasts is provided daily to government employees.

Providing common technical solutions and operations support to government departments

Public Works and Governments Services Canada is the service provider for several common applications for the Government of Canada, such as human resources (MyGCHR), Information Management (GCDOCS) and shared case management services.  In addition, through the Shared Travel Services Program, we manage the administration and delivery of travel and corporate credit cards services for federal departments.


  • There are 170,000 traveler profiles in the Shared Travel Services online booking tool.
  • Approximately 330,000 air and rail tickets are purchased each year by government employees. (We are the largest customer of both Air Canada and VIA Rail).
  • By March 2019, MyGCHR and GCDOCS common applications will have been delivered to over 250,000 users in more than 100 organizations. Taken together, these various roles make Public Works and Government Services Canada a critical partner in the success of other federal department and agencies. We are an organization with historical roles and a long history of service. And, today, we are an organization committed to keeping pace with the requirements of a fully modern and relevant service organization.

ANNEX A - Public Works and Government Services Canada Legislative Framework

Role of the Minister

The Department of Public Works and Government Services Act establishes the Department of Public Works and Government Services and gives you the authority to:

  • Acquire goods and services;
  • Construct, maintain and repair public works and federal real property;
  • Provide architectural and engineering advice;
  • Provide office accommodation for public servants;
  • Plan and coordinate telecommunications services;
  • Provide Information Management/Information Technology services upon request;
  • Provide consulting and audit services;
  • Provide services related to employee pay and pension administration; and
  • Provide translation and related services.

You have responsibilities under 19 other acts. The most important ones are:

Shared Services Canada Act

This Act creates Shared Services Canada as a department listed under Schedule I.1 of the Financial Administration Act. The Governor in Council designated the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to preside over Shared Services Canada and defined its mandate to enhance the efficiency, reliability and security of the Government's Information Technology infrastructure by providing a common approach to core services such as email, data centres and telecommunications. The Act also provides to Shared Services Canada the authority to procure goods and services necessary to achieve its mandate.

Expropriation Act

Under this Act, expropriation can only be used to acquire land or an interest in land for the purpose of a federal department or agency when, in the opinion of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, it is required by the Crown for a public work or other public purpose.

Certain Crown corporations with enabling acts that contain provisions to that effect may also request expropriation under the Expropriation Act.

Defence Production Act

Part I of this Act gives you the exclusive authority to buy or otherwise acquire defence supplies and construct defence projects required by the Department of National Defence. All Public Works and Government Services Canada contracts for defence supplies or projects are governed by the provisions of the Act.

Part II of the Act establishes a scheme by which access to “controlled goods” (arms-related assets and technology) is restricted. Only those persons who have been determined, pursuant to security assessments, to not pose a risk of diversion of controlled goods to someone who is either not registered in the Controlled Goods Program or exempted from registration therein.

Seized Property Management Act

This Act deals with the management, disposition and the sharing of proceeds of property seized or restrained in connection with certain offences. Under the Act, you are responsible for providing consultative services in relation to the seizure or restraint of property to law enforcement agencies, to manage property seized or restrained and to dispose of that property following forfeiture. You are also responsible for sharing the proceeds of disposition of that forfeited property with provincial and foreign governments.

Surplus Crown Assets Act

This Act establishes the legal framework for the disposal of surplus material Crown assets. You play the role of the main disposal and end-of-life cycle material management agent for the Crown. At a general level, the Act describes how departments may deal with surplus Crown assets, the restrictions that may be placed on departments, how to sell, etc.

In addition, you have responsibilities under the following acts:

  1. Anti-Personnel Mines Convention Implementation Act
  2. Bridges Act
  3. Canadian Arsenals Limited Divestiture Authorization Act
  4. Dry Docks Subsidies Act
  5. An Act to confirm the authority of the Federal District Commission to have acquired certain lands
  6. Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act
  7. Government Property Traffic Act
  8. Kingsmere Park Act
  9. National Flag of Canada Manufacturing Standards Act
  10. Act respecting certain Works on the Ottawa River
  11. Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act 
  12. Pension Benefits Division Act
  13. Statutes Act
  14. Translation Bureau Act

The following activities are mandatory by legislation:

  • Administration of federal real property not administered by another department or agency of Government;
  • Procurement of goods unless delegated by the Minister;
  • Receiver General function;
  • Controlled Goods Program; and
  • Seized Property Management Program.

The following activities are mandatory by policy:

  • Procurement for other departments of certain services listed in the Treasury Board Common Services Policy; and
  • Translation and interpretation services to Parliament.

ANNEX B – Minister's Portfolio Responsibilities

The portfolio of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services comprises six organizations. In addition to Public Works and Government Services Canada, you are responsible for the following:

Shared Services Canada was created in 2011 to transform how the Government manages its information technology infrastructure. It is mandated to deliver e-mail, data centre and telecommunication services to departments and agencies, as well as other optional services on a cost-recovery basis.

Canada Lands Company Limited is a Crown corporation with three subsidiaries: Canada Lands Company CLC Limited, Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc., and Parc Downsview Park Inc. Canada Lands Company CLC Limited optimizes the financial and community value from properties that are no longer required by the Government of Canada. It purchases these properties at fair market value, then holds and manages them or improves and sells them. The Old Port of Montreal Corporation has a mandate to develop and promote the Old Port of Montreal site. Parc Downsview Park Inc's mandate is to create and manage a recreational greenspace at the former Canadian Forces Base Toronto.

Defence Construction Canada is a Crown corporation with National Defence as primary client. It delivers infrastructure and environmental projects and services required to support the defence of Canada.

The Procurement Ombudsman, who reports directly to the Minister, is mandated to review complaints from potential suppliers after contract award. He/she also reviews procurement practices across government to ensure fairness and transparency and makes recommendations for improvements.

The Payment in Lieu of Taxes Dispute Advisory Panel examines requests for review from Canadian municipalities and other local taxing authorities concerning disputes over the amount of the payments in lieu of taxes they receive from Public Works and Government Services Canada, Crown corporations and federal agencies.

Though the other portfolio organizations report to you separately, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada is charged with assisting you in the overall coordination of your portfolio responsibilities.

ANNEX C – Department at a Glance – Departmental Budget: over $6 Billion; 12,000 permanent employees


Purchases nearly $15 billion worth of goods and services for federal departments and agencies. Responsble for military procurement with National defence.


Manages one of the largest and most diverse real estate portfolios in Canada.


Accommodates 265,000 federal employees across Canada.


Administers the funds of government and reports annually to Parliament.


Administers payroll and pension services for the Government of Canada.


Provides linguistic services in 100+ languages to the government and Parliament.


Publishes the Canada Gazette – the official journal of the Government of Canada.


Provides common techincal solutions and operations support to the Government of Canada.

ANNEX D – Departmental Funding and Employees


Pie Chart depicting departmental source of funding, long description to the right of image

Long Description:
This pie chart depicts departmental source of funding in millions and percentages

  • Operating: $1,160, 19%
  • Capital: $796 Million, 13%
  • Revolving Funds: $1.958 Million, 31%
  • Special Operating (Fence): $1,887 Million, 30%
  • Special Capital (Fence): $333 Million, 5%
  • Statutory (e.g. employee benefits): $117 Million, 2%

Note: Of the $6.2B budget, 53% is annual revenue and 47% is voted appropriations.


Pie Chart depicting planned spending by program, long description to the right of image

Long Description:
This pie chart depicts planned spending by program in millions and percentages

  • Accommodation and Real Property Services: $4,693 Million, 75%
  • Federal Pay and Pension Administration: $265 Million, 4%
  • Linguistic Management and Services: $218 Million, 4%
  • Integrity Programs and Services: $4 Million, 0.1%
  • Internal Services: $378 Million, 6%
  • Acquisitions: $399 Million, 6%
  • Receiver General for Canada: $122 Million, 2%
  • Specialized Programs and Services: $131 Million, 2%
  • Procurement Ombudsman: $4 Million, 0.1%

Population by Region

Pie Chart depicting PWGSC population by region at September 30, 2015, long description to the right of image

Long Description:
This pie chart depicts PWGSC population by region at September 30, 2015

  • National Capital: 7,919
  • Atlantic: 2,006
  • Quebec: 1,223
  • Ontario: 553
  • Western: 656
  • Pacific: 507

Total population = 12,864

Note - Atlantic region includes 753 employees working at the Gov't of Canada Pension Centre in Shediac, NB and 553 employees working at the Public Service Pay Centre in Miramichi, NB. Quebec region includes 286 employees working at the Cheque Redemption Control Directorate in Matane and 231 employees working at the Translation Bureau in Montreal and Quebec City.

Population by Program (%)

Pie Chart depicting PWGSC population by program in percentages at March 31, 2015, long description to the right of image

Long Description:
This pie chart depicts PWGSC population by program in percentages at March 31, 2015

  • Program
  • Accommodations and Real Property Services: 29%
  • Integrity Program and Services: 3%
  • Linguistic Management and Services: 11%
  • Procurement Ombudsman: 0%
  • Acquisitions: 15%
  • Receiver General for Canada: 3%
  • Federal Pay and Pension Administration: 14%
  • Specialized Programs and Services: 4%
  • Internal Services: 21%

Note: From Draft 2014-15 Departmental Performance report.

Population by Function

Pie Chart depicting PWGSC population by Occupational Group at September 30, 2015, long description to the right of image

Long Description:
This pie chart depicts PWGSC population by Occupational Group at September 30, 2015

  • Administrative Services: 4,274
  • Purchasing and Supply: 1,280
  • Computer Systems: 643
  • Economics and Social Science Services: 272
  • Engineering and Land Survey: 370
  • Personnel Administration: 460
  • Clerical and Regulatory: 1675
  • Translation: 929
  • Financial Management: 527
  • Engineering and Scientific Support: 458
  • Executive: 330
  • General Labour and Trades: 264
  • Others: 1,382