Making it easier for businesses to work with the government

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) isn't just Canada's biggest buyer, but also an important business ally!

The federal government spends about $22 billion per year and, as the central purchaser for the Government of Canada, PSPC manages the procurement of goods and services (including construction services) valued at approximately $15 billion annually. What you may not know is that we also provide businesses with information to help them compete for Government of Canada contracts.

Through Procurement Assistance Canada, PSPC offers a range of services to support businesses interested in bidding on federal contracts. At the same time, the department focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion in procurement, to ensure that all Canadian companies have equal opportunity to do business with the government.

Helping companies navigate the federal procurement process

Federal procurement can seem quite daunting. To compete for federal contracts, businesses can often use a helping hand to guide them through the process.

People on chairs in a seminar watching a speaker point at a graph on a whiteboard.

Through 6 regional offices (Atlantic, Pacific, Western, Quebec, Ontario and the National Capital Region), Procurement Assistance Canada works directly with potential suppliers to help them understand how to sell to the government. Specifically, we deliver education and support services to businesses by:

  • hosting workshops and seminars on federal procurement (virtually or in-person)
  • attending industry conferences and tradeshows to raise awareness of our services
  • providing personalized support via email, phone and one-on-one consultations

What's covered by these sessions and services? Basically, everything a vendor needs to know to do business with the government, from how to register as a supplier and access tools and resources, to finding contracting opportunities and learning how to prepare effective bid submissions.

According to business owners, this type of guidance makes a big difference in their ability to compete for federal contracts. They tell us the support means a lot to them as they go through the procurement process. It helps them understand how to approach the various requirements, which enables them to bid on public tenders.

Echoing these sentiments, an entrepreneur who worked with Procurement Assistance Canada staff in Ottawa noted that the interaction provided the company with knowledge, confidence and optimism about participating in federal procurement opportunities. “I feel much more informed about how things work. I am kind of excited for the next Request for Proposal (RFP) that is appropriate and look forward to flexing my more informed muscles.”

In these ways, Procurement Assistance Canada empowers business owners to become federal suppliers. Regardless of its size or experience with federal procurement, we can help any company learn how to take advantage of contracting opportunities with the Government of Canada. The scope of businesses that can benefit is almost limitless, as there is hardly anything the government doesn't buy. This can be very eye-opening for business owners, says a skills development manager we work with at Women Entrepreneurs BC.

“I often give businesses examples of people who have attended webinars and learned about the government purchasing such things as mattress recycling and ice cream and eyeglasses. These examples excite entrepreneurs who think they couldn't possibly sell their product or service to the federal government.”

Increasing supplier diversity

Many companies across Canada are owned or led by entrepreneurs from groups that have historically been under-represented in federal procurement. Procurement Assistance Canada is making a significant effort to reduce barriers and provide targeted support for businesses run by women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, transsexual and two-spirited (LGBTQ2+) Canadians.

To serve entrepreneurs in these groups who are interested in federal contracting opportunities, we deliver seminars and engage with participants at events like the 2021 Digital LGBT+ Global Business Summit.

Person sitting at computer and speaking to people on a screen.

At the same time, we establish partnerships with organizations representing diverse business communities, to maintain open dialogue with many different groups and ensure our services meet their needs. For example, some of our key partners include Women Business Enterprises Canada, the Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada, the Black Business Initiative, and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council.

While explaining the general procurement process, working with each group allows us to learn about its unique challenges and provide advice on initiatives with specific relevance for these businesses. We often hear that the tailored support is vital for entrepreneurs in diverse communities. After attending one of our seminars offered to the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers, a chief from Southern Vancouver Island pointed out that it's “exactly what First Nations need to attract them to federal procurement opportunities.”

Benefits all around

Procurement Assistance Canada plays an important role in ensuring Canadian businesses have the tools to access federal procurement opportunities.

When businesses find it easier to work with the government, everyone benefits! More companies can grow and thrive, and the increased competition allows the government to deliver better value for Canadians.

Visit Procurement support for businesses to learn more about our services or find a regional office.

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