Procurement: Standing Committee on Health—February 5, 2021
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- Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines
- Procuring vaccines for COVID-19
- Supplying Canada’s response to COVID-19
- Summary of changes: Personal protective equipment ordered and received between January 4 and January 18, 2021
- Rapid COVID-19 testing
- Procurement of serologic tests
- Ventilator procurement
- Essential Services Contingency Reserve
- Public Services and Procurement Canada’s role in management of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile
- Integrity in federal procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Labour exploitation in procurement
- Procurement of personal protective equipment
- Procurement modernization
Procurement of COVID-19 vaccines
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Health Canada and Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), along with the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force to prepare for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies.
All questions regarding the rolling regulatory review of vaccines (including changes to labelling and dosing size and the latest on AstraZeneca) would be directed to Health Canada.
- Given intense global competition, the government has taken an aggressive approach to secure access to 234 million doses, 80 million of which have received regulatory approval
- By the end of September, Canada will have received enough doses for every eligible person who wants one
- As an ongoing priority, PSPC continues to work with vaccine suppliers to negotiate the early delivery of doses to Canadians
If pressed on the details of advance purchase agreements:
- to protect our negotiating position and commercially sensitive pricing information, as well as to respect confidentiality clauses in our vaccine agreements, we cannot disclose details of specific agreements
- Canada has made some upfront payments that the pharmaceutical companies require to support vaccine development, testing and at-risk manufacturing prior to regulatory approval
- while not fully recoverable, these payments facilitate Canada’s earliest possible place in production runs
- we are in constant contact with provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that we are working cohesively and collaboratively, and that they are getting the support they need
If pressed on the executive order in the US:
- suppliers have indicated that the executive order has not changed their existing arrangements with countries like Canada and they will continue to work towards target delivery dates
- Canada does not anticipate any disruption of COVID-19 vaccine supplies as a result of the order
- with its diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates, Canada is not tied to any single manufacturing site and will also be receiving supplies from Europe
If pressed on the purchase of options for Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine:
- Canada exercised its option to purchase an additional 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine
- Canada also exercised its option to purchase an additional 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine in order to ensure that we continue to make progress on our efforts to vaccinate Canadians as soon as possible
- combined, the additional doses from Pfizer and Moderna will position Canada to deliver vaccines to another 20 million Canadians
If pressed on the January 15 announcement of a temporary reduction in the delivery to Canada of the Pfizer vaccine:
- due to work to expand its European manufacturing facility, production of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVD-19 vaccine will be impacted for a few weeks
- this expansion work means that Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries to all countries receiving vaccine manufactured at its European facility, and this includes Canada
- while unfortunate, such delays and issues are to be expected when global supply chains are stretched well beyond their limits. It was with precisely these types of issues in mind that Canada put in place 7 agreements with leading vaccine manufacturers and developers in order to ensure we have diversity and flexibility when it comes to supply chains
- in a recent discussion with Prime Minister Trudeau, Pfizer’s global chief executive officer (CEO) reassured him that the company still expects to meet its delivery target of 4 million doses by the end of March
- it’s important to note that this is a temporary delay and with numbers of doses already purchased of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, we remain on track in the government’s goal to have enough vaccines for everyone who wants to be vaccinated by the end of September
If pressed on delays to the delivery of the Moderna vaccine:
- last week, Moderna advised Canada that the supply of doses for its vaccine would be less than planned for the next couple of shipments. This will impact Canada as well as countries like Italy, France and Switzerland. Canada is expecting to receive almost 80% of the doses that were forecasted in this week’s shipment
- these variances in supply availability are expected given the challenging global supply environment and production timelines
- we continue to work with the supplier to offset any delays and ensure that we are able to ramp up deliveries in the coming months in order to meet our targets
If pressed on European Union (EU) export controls:
- Canada is closely monitoring the situation in the EU following the introduction of an export transparency mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines produced within its borders
- in a discussion held on January 27, the president of the European Commission assured Prime Minister Trudeau that the proposed export transparency mechanism is not intended to disrupt vaccine exports to Canada
- following the introduction of these proposed measures on January 29, Canadian officials have been working with their counterparts in the EU to ensure that they will not disrupt vaccine exports to Canada
- as a result of these discussions, the EU granted authorization of the next Pfizer and Moderna shipments to Canada
- we will continue to work closely with suppliers and EU officials to ensure that they are meeting their obligations to Canada and will continue to deliver vaccines to Canadians as soon as possible
If pressed on Novavax production in Canada (questions should be answered by ISED):
- as a result of bilateral negotiations for its vaccine candidate, Novavax agreed to enter into separate negotiations to build domestic capacity in Canada in the long-term
- negotiations were led by ISED
- as a result of these efforts, Canada will be enhancing its domestic capacity through this partnership with Novavax, operating out of the National Research Council’s Royalmount facilities in Montreal
If pressed on Pfizer’s proposed changes from 5 to 6 doses per vial:
- this decision is currently under review by the regulators at Health Canada following a submission from Pfizer to make this labelling change
- Canada has proactively ordered 64 million low dead volume syringes, which are recommended in the case of a change from 5 to 6 doses per vial
- the first delivery of those syringes are expected to arrive this week (week of February 1)
If pressed on Canada’s participation in the COVAX facility:
- Canada supports the objectives and principles of the COVAX facility, which supports equitable global access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, once developed
- on September 18, Canada signed an agreement to participate in the COVAX facility. This will allow us to diversify our portfolio of vaccine candidates, provide an additional mechanism to donate or sell surplus doses to other nations, potentially secure earlier access to vaccine doses, and reduce the risk of export controls preventing delivery of doses to Canada
- through this agreement, Canada will also have access to up to 15 million vaccine doses, if required, while supporting equitable global access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines
- this facility allows us to accomplish together what none of us could accomplish alone
If pressed on provincial and territorial collaboration:
- from the outset, the Government of Canada has been working directly with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that we are considering their needs
- we are in regular contact with provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that we are working cohesively and collaboratively, and that they are getting the support they need
If pressed on the purchase of Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment:
- Canada is also working on securing promising and effective therapeutic treatments for COVID-19, having signed an initial order of up to 26,000 doses of Eli Lilly’s antibody treatment over the next 3 months and the ability to buy additional doses on a monthly basis
- the treatment has the potential to help patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are at risk of progressing to severe illness by improving symptoms more quickly and keeping them out of hospital
- Health Canada granted interim authorization for Eli Lilly’s treatment on November 20, making it the first antibody treatment approved for use in Canada under Health Canada’s interim order to expedite the review and authorization of COVID-19 drugs
- the treatment was developed in partnership with Canadian company AbCellera, combining its advanced antibody therapy discovery platform with Eli Lilly’s manufacturing and distribution capability
If pressed on critical drug shortages:
- Health Canada has identified a need for a vendor-managed stockpile of critical drugs in anticipation of possible shortages related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- the reserve would be accessible to the provinces and territories to ensure hospitals have adequate supply
- PSPC issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 7 critical drugs on November 13, 2020. A second RFP was issued on Dec 4, 2020 for 5 additional drugs
- the RFPs were issued directly to licensed pharmaceutical suppliers. Between the 2 RFPs, 20 bids were received
- contracts have been awarded for 11 drugs. One was split between 4 suppliers, 6 were split between 2 suppliers and 4 were awarded to a single supplier
- one drug (norepinephrine) received no compliant bids and is subject to a new solicitation closing on February 9
- suppliers will be required to store, rotate and deliver the drugs to the final destination
- PSPC will be providing “order desk” services to the provinces and territories in support of the reserve
If pressed on material shortages:
- The Government of Canada is purchasing supplies from a number of sources and countries, both internationally and domestically
If pressed on national security exception (NSE) contracting:
- the NSE is invoked to remove procurements from the obligations of Canada’s trade agreements for reasons of national security
- in the case of COVID-19, after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, PHAC made a request on behalf of the federal government that PSPC invoke the NSE with respect to the acquisition of goods and services required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
- some of the procurements being carried out in response to COVID-19 are being done under a NSE, meaning that many solicitation documents are not published on buy and sell. This allows us to move rapidly as we purchase goods and services to protect the health and safety of Canadians as we face this pandemic
- in line with our commitment to transparency, we have published information on COVID-19 related contracts on the PSPC website
If pressed on the purchase of ultra-low temperature freezers:
- it is critical that vaccines are distributed and stored within their indicated temperature requirements, so we are making preparations for potential candidates
- the Government of Canada is actively pursuing the purchase of ultra-low temperature freezers to assist with the distribution and storage of vaccines in Canada
- contracts have been issued for the purchase of 504 freezers. Deliveries started in November and we have received 189 freezers as of February 3, 2021
If pressed on the purchase of dry ice:
- PSPC has put in place 10 standing offers for the delivery of an estimated 30,000 kilograms of dry ice, on an as needed basis, to provinces and territories
If pressed on low-dead volume syringes:
- PSPC has put contracts in place for the purchase of 76.5 million 1ml syringes of which 64 million are low-dead volume
If pressed on vaccine logistics:
- the Government of Canada has successfully secured an end-to-end logistics solution that will support the physical distribution of vaccines to provincial and territorial authorities or points of administration
- a contract for up to $90.4M, including taxes, was awarded to Federal Express Canada Corporation and Innomar Strategies Inc. in Joint Venture on December 4, 2020
- FedEx and Innomar, Canada’s logistics provider, successfully completed the initial delivery of the Moderna vaccine in December 2020
- work is underway to support the ongoing delivery of vaccines to provinces, territories and Indigenous communities
If pressed on potential delays to Sanofi/GSK:
- Canada is monitoring any potential delays arising from trials of Sanofi’s vaccine candidate
- our priority is the health and safety of Canadians and as such, no vaccine will be delivered prior to obtaining regulatory approval
- Canada has invested in one of the most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolios in the world to mitigate the risk of delays such as this, and continues to monitor the progress of all candidates in the context of regulatory reviews
If pressed on information technology (IT) solution for vaccines:
- the Government of Canada is doing everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes enhancing the PHAC existing information management systems to help manage vaccine distribution, administration and reporting
- to this end, on January 7, 2021, a competitive contract was awarded, on behalf of PHAC, to Deloitte Inc. with a value of $16,138,945.90, taxes included, to develop a new national vaccine management IT platform (NVMIP), which builds further functionality into PHAC’s current operational and well-developed surveillance and coverage IT systems
- the procurement of the NVMIP emphasizes the Government of Canada’s ability to support rapid change. The platform will supplement existing operational PHAC systems to ensure rapid and successful management of the COVID-19 vaccine administration program across the nation
- while the NVMIP solution will evolve as the vaccine roll-out moves through various phases, it is expected to begin operating and supplementing PHAC’s existing and comprehensive data and IT systems when in production
- PHAC is currently leveraging and enhancing its information management systems to support COVID-19 vaccine roll-out requirements. Specifically, these systems will support the immediate and urgent need for ordering, tracking and delivery capabilities, as well
The Government of Canada has signed agreements in principle with the following companies to obtain access to their vaccine candidates:
- AstraZeneca, which will supply up to 20 million doses of its viral vector vaccine candidate ADZ1222
- Sanofi and GSK, which will supply up to 72 million doses of their protein subunit vaccine candidate. The agreement with GSK secures their established pandemic adjuvant technology that will help the Sanofi vaccine produce a stronger immune response
- Johnson & Johnson, which will supply up to 38 million doses of its viral vector vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S
- Novavax, which will supply up to 76 million doses of its protein subunit vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373
- Pfizer, which will supply up to 76 million doses of its mRNA vaccine candidate, BNT162.
- Moderna, which will supply up to 56 million doses of its mRNA vaccine candidate mRNA-1273
- Medicago, which will supply up to 76 million doses of its plant-derived Coronavirus Virus-Like Particle (CoVLP)
Currently, Pfizer and Moderna have been approved to prevent COVID-19. Many vaccines are in clinical trials or under development. When additional studies have been completed, Health Canada will review the evidence of safety, efficacy, and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine whether individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada, before they are used to vaccinate Canadians.
COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, supported by a secretariat housed at the National Research Council of Canada, provides advice to the Government of Canada on COVID-19 vaccines, which can include the following:
- prioritizing vaccine projects seeking support for activities in Canada
- attracting to Canada promising non-Canadian vaccine candidates, or partnering with developers of non-Canadian vaccine candidates
- optimizing the tools needed to develop vaccines
- supporting effective research and development, and supply chain coordination for COVID-19 vaccine projects
- facilitating solutions to manufacture the most promising COVID-19 vaccines in Canada
- identifying opportunities to enhance business connectivity globally to secure access to vaccines with key commercial sponsors
Critical drug shortages
PSPC issued a RFP for 7 drugs on November 13, 2020. The RFP was issued directly to licensed pharmaceutical suppliers and not publically posted. The RFP closed on December 2, 2020, and 14 bids were received. Contracts were awarded for 6 drugs between December 12 and 14, 2020. Four drugs were awarded to a single supplier and 2 were split between 2 suppliers. One drug (norepinephrine) received no compliant bids and may be to subject to a new solicitation in late January.
PSPC issued a second RFP for 5 additional critical drugs on December 4, 2020. The RFP was issued directly to licensed pharmaceutical suppliers and closed on December 18, 2020, with 6 bids received. Contracts were awarded for 5 drugs on January 19, 2021. The contract for 1 drug was split between 4 suppliers and the other 4 drugs were split between 2 suppliers.
Procuring vaccines for COVID-19
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Health Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to identify and procure potential vaccine candidates and supplies.
COVID-19 vaccine agreements
On behalf of PHAC, and based on advice from the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, PSPC is leading negotiations and finalizing agreements with suppliers of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $1 billion to secure access to promising vaccine candidates.
This includes up-front payments that companies require to support vaccine development, testing and at-risk manufacturing. Subsequent payments are contingent on vaccines passing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval.
These investments ensure Canada’s earliest possible access to the production of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
All vaccine candidates will require Health Canada authorization prior to being used to vaccinate anyone in Canada.
|Supplier||Doses||Authorized||Anticipated delivery start|
|AstraZeneca||20 million||No||Pending Health Canada authorization|
|Moderna||40 million||Moderna authorization||December 2020|
|Pfizer||Up to 76 million||Pfizer authorization||December 2020|
|Johnson & Johnsontable 1 note 1||Up to 38 million||No||Pending Health Canada authorization|
|Medicago||Up to 76 million||No||Pending Health Canada authorization|
|Novavax||Up to 76 million||No||Pending Health Canada authorization|
|Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline||Up to 72 million||No||Pending Health Canada authorization|
Table 1 Notes
COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility
The Government of Canada is also participating in the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, a global procurement mechanism that will help develop and deliver safe, equitable and accessible COVID-19 vaccines. Participation in the COVAX facility also provides Canadians potential to access to 6 additional vaccine candidates.
The Government of Canada is committing approximately $220 million to the facility to procure up to 15 million vaccine doses for everyone in Canada. An additional $220 million will be channeled through the COVAX advance market commitment to purchase doses for low- and middle-income countries, increasing their access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
The Government of Canada also continues to purchase the necessary supplies for the administration of different vaccines. Contracts are in place for personal protective equipment and ancillary supplies, such as:
We have put in place contracts for the supplies required to administer nearly over 75 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including syringes, needles and gauze. To date, we have received enough supplies to administer more than 35 million doses.
The Government of Canada has awarded a contract to FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc., for an end-to-end COVID-19 logistics solution for COVID-19 vaccines.
Government of Canada awards contract to distribute COVID-19 vaccine from coast to coast to coast
The contract will support the distribution of vaccines across Canada. Specifically, working under the direction of PHAC’s National Operations Centre, led by Major-General Dany Fortin, FedEx Express Canada and Innomar Strategies Inc. will provide a variety of services that will assist in warehousing and transportation to provincial and territorial authorities and Indigenous partners to support timely and efficient vaccine administration across the country.
Freezers and dry ice
Given the complexity of vaccine distribution, including the need to transport and store vaccines at specific temperatures, PSPC is also procuring other goods and services required to support the eventual distribution of a vaccine to everyone in Canada.
The Government of Canada has now purchased 459 freezers.
PSPC, on behalf of PHAC, has awarded contracts for the purchase of:
- 346 freezers at -80 degrees celsius
- 100 freezers at -20 degrees celsius
- 13 fridge/freezers combo at -20 degrees celsius
The Government of Canada has awarded standing offers for the national delivery of tens of thousands of kilograms of dry ice weekly, on an as-needed basis to 10 Canadian companies:
- ATES Medical, located in Quebec, with national delivery capacity
- Biogivre Inc., located in Quebec, with national delivery capacity
- Calgary Dry Ice, located in Alberta, delivering to southern Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia
- Camelyon Group, located in Ontario, with national delivery capacity
- Co2blast Ltd., located in Alberta, delivering to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia
- Dry Ice & Gases Co., located in Ontario, delivering to Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba
- Fraser Valley Dry Ice Inc., located in British Columbia, with national delivery capacity
- ICE-ASAP, located in Ontario, delivering to southern Ontario
- Praxair Canada Inc., located in Ontario, with national delivery capacity
- VitalAire Canada Inc., located in Ontario, with national delivery capacity
The provinces and territories are able to issue call-ups against these offers directly, to meet immediate needs without delay.
National vaccine management information technology platform
On behalf of PHAC, PSPC is contracting a service provider to build further functionality into PHAC’s current operational and well-developed surveillance and coverage information technology (IT) systems. This enhanced national vaccine management IT platform (NVMIP) will help manage vaccine rollout, administration and reporting on a go forward basis, as the volume of deliveries increases.
- Requests for proposals for the NVMIP were issued directly to qualified suppliers on December 12, 2020
- On January 7, 2021, a contract was awarded for the NVMIP to Deloitte Inc. with a value of $16,138,945.90, taxes included
- Public Services and Procurement Canada has signed agreements with 7 companies to secure access to 7 COVID-19 vaccine candidates (November 19, 2020)
- AstraZeneca: New agreements to secure additional vaccine candidates for COVID-19 (September 25, 2020)
- Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline: Government of Canada signs new agreement to secure additional vaccine candidate and treatment for COVID-19 (September 22, 2020)
- Medicago: Prime Minister announces funding to advance the development of Canadian COVID-19 vaccine technologies (October 23, 2020)
- Johnson & Johnson and Novavax: New measures to ensure the supply of future vaccines and therapies against COVID-19 (August 31, 2020)
- Pfizer and Moderna: Government of Canada announces major steps in treating and preventing COVID-19 through vaccines and therapies (August 5, 2020)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force
- COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access facility
- Regulating vaccines for use in Canada
Supplying Canada’s response to COVID-19
January 21, 2021
The Government of Canada is taking a whole-of-government approach in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including major investments in equipment and supplies for the health sector, as well as research, science and innovation.
Coordinated response to purchasing equipment and supplies
The Government of Canada is collaborating with provinces and territories on an ongoing basis to identify their needs and purchase required equipment, supplies and services to combat COVID-19.
Canada is taking an aggressive approach to buying, especially when it comes to personal protective equipment for front-line healthcare workers. This includes:
- ordering in bulk on behalf of provinces and territories
- supplementing those orders by purchasing everything immediately available that meets requirements
- ramping up domestic manufacturing capacity, through the Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19, being led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
This is over and above efforts provinces and territories are taking to secure their own supply.
The quantities ordered for personal protective equipment and medical supplies are intended to meet short-term needs and anticipate Canada’s long-term needs as we continue to respond to COVID-19 while preparing for any eventuality over the coming months.
The government is also coordinating shipments of supplies from other countries. Canada has established on-the-ground support in China for transportation, receiving, storage services and customs clearances. This will be an ongoing process as orders are ready to be shipped to Canada.
Overview of purchases and deliveries
This table provides an overview of the Government of Canada’s purchases of selected personal protective equipment and medical supplies to support 3 key areas:
- the healthcare sector
- federal government departments and agencies
- the Essential Services Contingency Reserve
“Quantities ordered” includes products scheduled for delivery by March 31, 2022.
Due to the current complex supply chain environment, “quantities ordered” may fluctuate because of new contracts, contract amendments and cancellations.
“Quantities received” includes the approximate number of products that have been shipped and are in transit or have arrived at a Government of Canada warehouse. These will require assessment prior to being accepted and inventoried.
While specific quantities change on a regular basis, the bulk of these supplies are directed to frontline healthcare workers.
As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, we are publicly disclosing contracting information to the fullest extent possible, supplier names and contract amounts can be found on our new COVID-19 contracting information page.
COVID-19 contract information
|Itemtable 2 note 1||Quantities ordered||Quantities received|
|Hand sanitizer (litres)||20,646,000||20,646,000|
|Non-medical masks: Face coverings||77,383,284||62,424,484|
|Non-medical masks: Cloth masks||10,420,600||9,302,114|
|N95 respiratorstable 2 note 2||187,707,540||101,338,696|
Table 2 Notes
Supplies for the healthcare sector were ordered on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada for distribution to provinces and territories, as part of bulk and proactive purchases that began in January 2020. These are supplementary to the existing National Emergency Strategic Stockpile, as well as to the stocks of supplies that exist in, and are being procured directly by provinces and territories.
Given the high global demand for these goods, there is a possibility that not all contracts will be entirely fulfilled. This has been taken into consideration in the procurement approach, and additional steps are being taken to meet our goal of having sufficient supply to exceed demand.
Working with Canadian companies
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, is exploring all options for securing the necessary equipment and supplies to fight COVID-19, including new and existing sources of supply—both here at home and internationally.
Below are examples of how domestic suppliers are stepping up to support the effort.
Bauer (Blainville, Quebec)
Bauer has shifted its hockey skates production lines to make face shields for front-line medical staff. The Government of Canada has signed an agreement to receive hundreds of thousands of face shields from Bauer.
Fluid Energy Group (Calgary, Alberta)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Fluid Energy Group for millions of litres of hand sanitizer to support the COVID-19 response.
Fluid Energy making 10 million litres of hand sanitizer for the Government of Canada
General Motors Canada (Oshawa, Ontario)
General Motors (GM) Canada is using its manufacturing capability and skilled workforce to domestically produce surgical masks and face coverings. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with GM Canada to receive millions of surgical masks and face coverings for front-line health care workers.
Hawktree Solutions (Ottawa, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Hawktree Solutions, a health and safety product company, to provide millions of masks and thousands of goggles and bottles of Quebec-made hand sanitizer.
Hawktree Solutions providing the federal government with goggles, masks and hand sanitizer
HP Canada (Mississauga, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with HP Canada, which will use its 3D printing technology to provide hundreds of thousands of face shields to protect healthcare workers.
Irving Oil (Saint John, New Brunswick)
Irving Oil has retooled its production line to produce much needed hand sanitizer. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Irving to provide hundreds of thousands of litres of hand sanitizer, with delivery already underway.
Jacobs & Thompson (Toronto, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Jacobs & Thompson, which has added production lines to provide millions of face shields to protect healthcare workers.
Joseph Ribkoff (Dorval, Quebec)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Joseph Ribkoff, a Canadian women’s clothing company, to manufacture and provide millions of gowns for healthcare workers.
Logistik Unicorp (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec)
Logistik Unicorp has mobilized its domestic supply chain and retooled production to produce medical gowns. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Logistik Unicorp to provide millions of gowns for front-line healthcare workers.
Medicom (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
The Government of Canada has signed a long-term agreement with Medicom to ramp up domestic production to provide millions of N95 respirators and surgical masks per year for the next 10 years.
Medicom Group supporting Canada’s efforts to combat COVID-19
PRI-MED (Edmonton, Alberta)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with PRI-MED, a medical product manufacturing company, to provide thousands of coveralls and millions of gloves, gowns and surgical masks for healthcare workers.
Edmonton’s PRI-MED: A COVID-19 story like no other
Samuelsohn (Montréal, Quebec)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Samuelsohn, a men’s luxury clothing company, which has retooled its production lines to provide millions of medical gowns for healthcare workers.
SpiritRx Services (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
SpiritRx Services is an Indigenous owned company that has ramped up delivery of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to respond to both provincial and federal needs. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with SpiritRx Services to provide thousands of digital thermometers. The company is also providing the federal First Nations Inuit Health Branch with surgical masks and infrared thermometers.
Indigenous-owned company delivering essential goods to help all Canadians
Sterling Industries (Concord, Ontario)
Sterling Industries, affiliated with Honda, has created a face shield that is designed and manufactured in Canada. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Sterling Industries to provide millions of face shields to protect healthcare workers.
Stryker (Waterdown, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Stryker to provide Health Canada-approved sterilization units that will sterilize equipment like N95 respirators and allow it to be reused.
How one Canadian company extended the life of disposable N-95 masks
The Canadian Shield (Kitchener, Ontario)
The Canadian Shield was founded by InkSmith to produce personal protective equipment. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with The Canadian Shield to provide millions of face shields to protect healthcare workers.
The Canadian Shield playing a key role in supporting the Government of Canada
The Stevens Company (Brampton, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed contracts with The Stevens Company to provide hard surface cleaners made in Oakville, Ontario, and shoe covers made in Montréal, Quebec, as well as other items to help combat COVID-19.
The Stevens Company is helping the Government of Canada in the fight against COVID-19
Toronto Stamp (Toronto, Ontario)
Toronto Stamp has retooled its usual production of signs, badges, stamps and tags to produce face shields. The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Toronto Stamp to provide millions of face shields for front-line healthcare workers.
From a WhatsApp message to a contract with the Government of Canada
Windsor Mold Group (Windsor, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Windsor Mold Group, which has retooled its production to provide millions of face shields and thousands of head bands to protect healthcare workers.
WUXLY (Toronto, Ontario)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with WUXLY, an outerwear clothing company, to provide over 1 million gowns for front-line healthcare workers.
WUXLY: Warming to the made-in-Canada personal protective equipment
Yoga Jeans (Montréal and Beauce region, Quebec)
The Government of Canada has signed a contract with Yoga Jeans, a family-owned denim company that has retooled its manufacturing facility in Saint-Côme-Linière, Quebec, to provide millions of gowns for front-line health care workers.
- Calling all suppliers: Help Canada combat coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Interim order respecting the importation and sale of medical devices for use in relation to COVID-19
- Call to action: Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19
Summary of changes: Personal protective equipment ordered and received between January 4 and January 18, 2021
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: +1,044,000
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: Non applicable
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: +2,303,757
Hand sanitizer (litres)
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: Non applicable
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: + 5,268,500
Non-medical masks: Face coverings
- Quantities ordered: -560,000Footnote 1
- Quantities received: +1,494,800
Non-medical mask: Cloth masks
- Quantities ordered: +560,000Footnote 1
- Quantities received: +91,200
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: +9,568,000
- Quantities ordered: Non applicable
- Quantities received: +2,994
Rapid COVID-19 testing
COVID-19 testing technologies are advancing quickly as the pandemic continues. On behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is actively exploring additional agreements to secure access to the most promising candidates, in advance of regulatory approval.
- The health and safety of Canadians is our number one priority
- As with many of our agreements for equipment, tests and vaccines, we have pursued an advanced purchase agreement to secure Canada's access to these tests
- These rapid tests will aid in meeting the urgent demands from provinces and territories to test Canadians and reduce wait time for results, which is key to reducing the spread of the virus
- As new tests and instruments become available, approved and are considered effective, we will continue to bring them online so health authorities have access to all available resources needed to get us through this pandemic
If pressed on overall quantity of rapid tests received so far:
- since March 2020, we have procured a total of 42,319,750 rapid tests, for which 11,719,750 are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 30,600,000 are Antigen tests
- the Government of Canada has received so far a total of 17,686,438 rapid tests. By March 31, 2021, the total received will reach 38.5 million rapid tests
- since March 2020, we have awarded more than 100 contracts to support conventional laboratory testing across Canada. That includes swabs, equipment, reagents, consumables and plastics required to help provinces and territories meet the objective of conducting 200,000 tests per day nationally
If pressed on the delivery of Abbott Panbio and ID NOW tests:
- under the current agreement, delivery of up to 23 million Panbio antigen tests will be completed by March 31, 2021. I can confirm that so far we have received a total of 12,163,450 tests
- in addition, Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC is also supplying up to 7.9 million ID NOW rapid tests to the Government of Canada. We have already received 1,746,048 tests and 2,460 analyzers
- COVID-19 testing technologies are advancing quickly as the pandemic continues. PSPC is actively exploring additional agreements to secure access to the most promising candidates, in advance of regulatory approval
If pressed on the delivery of Becton Dickinson (BD) Veritor tests and analyzers:
- under the current agreement, delivery of 7.6 million Veritor antigen tests will be completed by March 31, 2021. We have already received 3,776,940 tests and 595 analyzers
If pressed on distribution:
- the Government of Canada continues to work with federal, provincial and territorial governments to assess ongoing needs for medical equipment and supplies
- all provinces and territories will receive instruments and tests, and allocation is proceeding
- the PHAC is working with provinces and territories to ensure that the devices are allocated so as to have the most impact based on existing and future COVID-19 hotspots in Canada
If pressed on purchasing before Health Canada authorization:
- the contracts were structured so that the purchase of the tests was conditional on Health Canada authorization
If pressed on the purchase of analyzers for the Abbott ID NOW:
- under the agreement, we have purchased up to 3,800 analyzers
- analyzers are the devices that perform the test and deliver the rapid results
- the 3,800 analyzers could also be used for other types of testing
If pressed on Precision Biomonitoring:
- On November 2, Health Canada approved the TripleLock test manufactured by Precision Biomonitoring. At this time, PSPC has no contractual agreement with Precision Biomonitoring. Any questions should be referred to Health Canada
Abbott Panbio antigen test
The Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen test is a rapid test that can detect SARS-CoV-2 directly from a nasopharyngeal or nasal swab in just over 15 minutes. It requires no instrumentation but must still be performed by a trained healthcare professional. This test is portable and lightweight and can easily be used in point of care in a variety of settings. The product does not require specialized storage temperatures.
While this contract is the first one put in place by Canada to procure antigen tests, more are expected. For this reason, we are not releasing the contract value at this time, in order to protect our negotiating position. In line with our commitment to transparency, the value of this agreement will be disclosed in due time.
On October 6, 2020, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced the purchase of up to 20.5 million Panbio COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests. The Panbio Antigen rapid test with nasopharyngeal swab, approved on October 5, 2020, was the first antigen test to be approved by Health Canada for use in Canada.
On November 20, an amendment was issued to procure an additional 2.5 million Panbio COVID-19 Antigen rapid tests.
The Panbio Antigen rapid test with nasal swab was approved by Health Canada on December 30, 2020.
In total, PSPC has purchased a total of up to 23 million Panbio tests to be delivered by March 31, 2021.
Becton-Dickinson Veritor antigen test
The BD Veritor SARS-CoV-2 antigen test is a rapid test that can detect SARSCoV-2 directly from a nasal swab in just over 15 minutes from patients that are within the first 5 days of the onset of symptoms. This testing requires a handheld analyzer and must be performed by a trained healthcare professional. This test is portable, lightweight and can easily be used in point of care in a variety of settings. It also does not require specialized storage temperatures.
On October 23, 2020, a contract was awarded to Becton Dickinson for the procurement of 7,599,990 Veritor antigen tests as well as 600 analyzers.
As of January 11, 2021, 2,102,150 BD Veritor tests have been delivered.
Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test
The Abbott ID NOW system is a rapid point-of-care test for COVID-19. The technology can detect the virus directly from a nasal swab, returning results in as little as 13 minutes. The testing device, or analyzer, is small and lightweight and can easily be transported to remote locations and operated with minimal training.
Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC is also supplying up to 7.9 million ID NOW rapid tests.
Spartan point-of-care test
The Spartan test involves inserting a cartridge containing a swab from a patient’s mouth into a test analyzer (cube) that analyzes desoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for the presence of the coronavirus. The technology can detect the virus in as little as 30 minutes. The testing device, or analyzer, is small and lightweight and can easily be transported to remote locations.
On March 25, PSPC issued a contract to Spartan Bioscience Inc. for the purchase of 1,020,000 tests and 100 testing platforms (cubes).
On April 9, the original contract was amended to purchase an additional 900,000 tests and 600 testing platforms (cubes).
Execution of this contract is conditional of Spartan obtaining Health Canada approval.
On October 29, Health Canada issued an investigational testing authorization (ITA) to Spartan to conduct a clinical trial on their point-of-care test and generic swab, to obtain data to support its effectiveness. Health Canada approval was pending results of this clinical trial.
On December 11, Spartan submitted the results of the clinical trials to Health Canada.
On January 23, Health Canada approved the Spartan COVID-19 system, a rapid, on-site molecular diagnostic test for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2. The National Microbiology Lab is currently validating the results to decide where best to use the Spartan tests.
Other point-of-care tests
Additional agreements have also been signed with InterMedico (1.2 million GeneXpert tests) on April 7, and on June 22 with Biomérieux (up to 699,750 tests).
Under the current agreement of the Panbio antigen test, delivery of up to 23 million antigen tests, will be completed by March 31, 2021.
Standard lab testing
Since March 2020, PSPC has awarded more than 100 contracts to support conventional laboratory testing across Canada. That includes swabs, equipment, reagents, consumables and plastics required to help provinces and territories meet the objective of conducting 200,000 tests per day nationally.
Contracts with major suppliers like Roche, bioMérieux, Life Technologies, Qiagen and Abbott have been awarded to secure quantities of products that are in very high demand worldwide.
Contracts with 12 different suppliers have been awarded to procure a total of 38.5 million swabs.
Automated systems have been procured to increase testing capacity in surge labs located in Winnipeg, Guelph, Ottawa and Lethbridge.
Four mobiles trucks have been procured to increase testing capacity in hot spots and where there are outbreaks.
Procurement of serologic tests
The Government of Canada launched the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to measure the scope of coronavirus infection in Canada and provide information needed to manage the pandemic and safely get Canadians back to work.
Questions regarding the mandate and activities of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force will be responded to by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
- The Government of Canada is committed to determining the extent of COVID-19 immunity in the population and in subgroups such as healthcare workers, the elderly and Indigenous populations
- Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has procured serologic tests that are designed to help identify how widely the virus has spread in Canada and provide reliable estimates of potential immunity and vulnerabilities in Canadian populations
- We have procured 378,000 tests as well as equipment and lab consumables to support the Immunity Task Force and we are working to have these items delivered as quickly as possible
- The serologic tests began to arrive on June 19, 2020. As a result, there is sufficient supply of all required items with no risk of shortage
If pressed on funding and funds spent:
- the Government of Canada approved the use of up to 300 million dollars to support activities related to serological surveillance and research in Canada under the direction of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. This includes funding for the procurement of serology tests and related items
If pressed on why there are only orders for the Abbott platform:
- a total of 378,000 Abbott Laboratories serological test kits have been procured to support serological studies conducted under the auspices of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force
- as demand for serology tests increases, the Government of Canada will procure additional Health Canada approved tests and related equipment as requested by the task force
- Abbott Laboratories has a strong supply chain and currently there is sufficient supply of all required items with no risk of shortage
If pressed on delivery locations and quantities:
- 240,000 tests have been procured for the Canadian Blood Services and 100,000 have been delivered
- 20,000 tests have been procured for the McGill University Health Centre and 10,000 tests have been delivered so far
- 30,000 tests have been procured for Public Health Ontario and all of them have been delivered
- 30,000 tests have been procured for ProvLab in Calgary and all of them have been delivered
- 58,000 tests have been procured for ProvLab in Edmonton and 30,000 tests have been delivered so far
If pressed on outcomes and next steps:
- initial results by Public Health Ontario were released on July 30, 2020
- Canadian Blood Services released their initial national level results on September 8, 2020
- multiple studies are currently ongoing as coordinated by the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. We are supporting the different entities conducting these studies by assisting them with ensuring they have all the products they need to continue analyzing immunity response in Canada
Serology testing (collecting and testing blood samples for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2) of large numbers of people will provide the data needed to understand the scale of infection in the Canadian population.
This approach will help capture data about symptomatic individuals, as well as asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic people not previously identified as they did not seek healthcare. The importance of coordinated, rapid and representative national surveys cannot be understated. They provide critical information on the current spread of COVID-19, and help to prepare for possible future waves of infection, both in the general population or vulnerable groups.
Knowledge of the level of immunity in the general population, and in at-risk populations such as the elderly and healthcare workers, will guide important public health decisions and immunization strategies. Serological testing is the key to developing this knowledge.
The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force aims to catalyze, support, and, where appropriate and feasible, harmonize the design and rapid implementation of population-based studies that will generate first estimates of COVID-19 immunity, overall and in priority populations across Canada. Public Services and Procurement Canada is working in close collaboration with the Immunity Task Force to identify any required procurement.
The task force will deliver a coordinated serologic survey agenda, and rapidly provide results to federal, provincial and territorial decision-makers as the basis for managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the near and medium term.
On May 12, 2020, Health Canada authorized the first of a number of anticipated commercial serological tests for COVID-19, which will allow the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to focus on processes to initiate testing of samples in the serosurvey studies.
Recent questions have been raised about domestic contracting for ventilators.
- We remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure we have sufficient ventilators available for use should there be a surge in cases
- Canada currently has 15 contracts with 13 manufacturers to deliver 40,547 ventilators. This includes contracts with domestic suppliers that answered the call to action in March 2020
- Decision making around these contracts was based on technical assessments, science and our ongoing commitment to do everything possible to protect the health of Canadians
- As of January 12, 2021, the Government of Canada has successfully secured 21,666 ventilators
If pressed on FTI:
- Ventilators for Canadians, a consortium of entrepreneurs, manufacturers and businesses, is 1 of 11 domestic suppliers that came forward with a proposal to supply ventilators to the government
- their proposal, based on an open source Medtronic design, was recommended by a review panel of technical experts, including respirologists, biomechanical engineers, and manufacturing professionals
- following this recommendation, on April 10, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) awarded a contract to FTI Professional Grade Inc., the corporate entity put forward by the consortium for the purposes of this contract, for the supply and delivery of ventilators
- Baylis Medical is a subcontractor to FTI Professional Grade Inc. and a partner to Ventilators for Canadians
- FTI Professional Grade Inc. has fulfilled its obligations under its contract
If pressed on pricing:
- ventilator pricing for domestic contracts takes into account a number of factors. This pricing reflects costs to quickly re-tool facilities, develop new manufacturing processes and seek Health Canada approval
- the pricing for the FTI ventilator contract is broadly consistent with that of other domestic suppliers
- as with other contracts through the made-in-Canada call to action, companies such as FTI incurred costs to quickly re-tool their facilities, develop new manufacturing processes and seek Health Canada approval
- PSPC was also cognizant that pricing, at that time, could be impacted by the extreme demand for limited global supply chain for parts
- the model developed by FTI is based on the open source specifications of Medtronic’s PB560. Although Medtronic has indicated that the average selling price of this model is under [Redacted] this is an unfair comparison, as it does not take into account expenses associated with ramping up manufacturing. These additional costs were built into the contract with FTI
If pressed on for the process that led to contract awards:
- a broad call to action was issued by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to solicit interest from Canadian companies that were able to support Canada’s COVID-19 response
- as part of this call to action, a number of companies identified their interest in supplying Canada with ventilators. Separately, potential ventilator suppliers had also come forward to the National Research Council and to the Next Generation Manufacturing (NGen) supercluster
- all of these companies—11 in total—were subsequently invited to send proposals to ISED covering the design of the ventilator, its clinical functionality, and the manufacturing plan, including details on the supply chain
- proposals were reviewed by a panel of experts to assess the viability of technology and manufacturing approaches. The panel, which included medical clinicians, respirologists, biomechanical engineers, and manufacturing professionals, was asked to provide government with their best advice as to which designs would be most useful in the fight against COVID-19 and could be manufactured quickly to meet the needs of Canada’s public health system
- the review panel also included technical experts from within the Government of Canada (Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada). Staff from PSPC participated in the panel, however, recommendations were based on feedback from technical experts
- based on the advice of this panel of experts, Government of Canada officials identified 4 made-in-Canada ventilators, and contracts were subsequently awarded to CAE Inc., FTI Professional Grade Inc., Canadian Emergency Ventilators (Starfish), and Vexos for 37,500 ventilators
- each of the 4 companies subsequently worked with Health Canada officials through the regulatory process to ensure the ventilators met all the regulatory requirements to receive approval under the interim order
Essential Services Contingency Reserve
The Government of Canada created the Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR) to provide essential services workers with access to personal protective equipment (PPE), non-medical masks and disinfection products to meet urgent, short-term needs.
- On August 3, 2020, the government launched the ESCR to ensure that essential service providers would have timely access to PPE, non-medical masks and disinfection products
- The ESCR is an emergency backstop to help prevent essential service disruptions that could arise due to shortages of PPE and other products on the open market
- Since the contingency reserve was introduced, a number of organizations have registered to access the inventory and orders have been placed in a variety of essential services sectors
- We have entered into an agreement with Canadian supplier SCI to provide warehousing and order fulfillment across Canada for the ESCR, including in northern and remote communities
- SCI is part of the Canada Post network, offering seamless integration with Purolator and Canada Post for shipping orders to businesses and organizations across essential services sectors
If pressed on contracts issued to operationalize the ESCR:
- 4 suppliers have been engaged to support the delivery of the ESCR
- a task authorization for approximately $3.7 million has been issued to InfoSys Public Services to create a case management system and order intake tool, leveraging work to date on the Electronic Procurement System
- a contract for approximately $3.9 million has been awarded to SCI, a subsidiary of Canada Post, for warehousing and inventory management
- Purolator and Day & Ross, both on the National Master Standing Offer, have been engaged to cover ground transportation for order fulfillment which is expected to cost approximately 2 million dollars
If pressed on supplier types for contracts issued to stock the ESCR:
- to stock the ESCR, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is purchasing supplies from a number of sources, both internationally and domestically
If pressed on eligibility for the ESCR:
- to be eligible, businesses or organizations must be legally constituted, from 1 of the 10 critical infrastructure sectors, and reflected in Public Safety Canada’s “Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
- orders valued at $5,000 or above are assessed against the degree to which the sector is facing critical shortages of PPE, if the requested supplies are appropriate based on public health guidance as well as occupational health and safety requirements, and that requestors have been unable to secure PPE elsewhere
If pressed on cost-recovery:
- the cost of goods is established based on the average price paid by PSPC to purchase inventory for the ESCR and does not include overheard costs to acquire and warehouse the inventory
- costs are reviewed on a regular basis and updated accordingly
- shipping costs are applied to purchases from the ESCR
If pressed on inventory:
- inventory in the ESCR evolves due to supply and demand and includes items such as nitrile gloves, non-medical masks, thermometers, face shields, and disposable coveralls
- to date, approximately $153M worth of contracts have been put in place to purchase inventory for the ESCR
- efforts are being made to ensure that the inventory aligns with the needs of essential services sectors
There is a 2-step process to access the ESCR:
- order placement
As of January 7, 2021, the ESCR has received a total of 197 requests for registration from the following sectors:
- information and communication technologies
- energy and utilities
- water and finance sectors
Of the businesses registered, 24 have placed orders. Of those orders, 12 have been cancelled, 11 approved and 1 is under review. A portion of the cancelled orders have been redirected to supply available through provinces and territories.
To date, the ECSR has been mostly accessed by small- and medium-size enterprises rather than consolidated requests from critical sectors. As such, the approval process for orders valued at less than $5,000 has been streamlined to remain within PSPC to reduce processing times and ensure timely order fulfillment.
Supplementary Estimates B
PSPC sought access to $500 million (in both vote 1—Operating Expenditures and Statutory Authority) in 2020 to 2021 to establish the ESCR, to which essential service organizations can apply for temporary, urgent access to PPE and other critical supplies.
Public Services and Procurement Canada’s role in management of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile
Prior to COVID-19, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) warehouse network was comprised of [Redacted] warehouses totalling approximately 167,000 square feet. This included [Redacted] warehouses (119,000 square feet) and [Redacted] warehouses (48,000 square feet). The amount and volume of personal protective equipment (PPE) ordered in response to the pandemic was well beyond PHAC’s capacity to receive and store. Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has supported PHAC by entering into service contracts and leases to provide them with additional warehousing capacity.
- The health and safety of Canadians is our top priority, and that means ensuring life-saving medical supplies reach our frontline healthcare providers as quickly as possible
- To achieve this goal, multiple partnerships have been implemented to warehouse, inventory and distribute the PPE ordered by Canada
- On September 11, 2020, PSPC awarded a competitive contract to Metro Logistics Inc. on behalf of PHAC to support warehousing and distribution of PPE to provinces and territories
If pressed on PSPC’s role:
- PSPC is providing procurement services to PHAC to support them with the various logistics activities required to inventory, warehouse and distribute PPE
- PSPC is working closely with PHAC in managing the contracts awarded to various logistics suppliers
- PSPC has entered into leases to provide PHAC with additional warehousing capacity
If pressed on PHAC’s role:
- PHAC is responsible for managing the NESS
- PHAC is maintaining oversight on the amounts of PPE and supplies available, including the monitoring of expiry dates and distribution to provinces and territories
If pressed on request for proposal for national logistics and warehousing services:
- to facilitate the intake and distribution of large volumes of PPE and medical supplies, a notice was posted on the PSPC buy and sell website to solicit interest from major logistics service providers
- this notice closed on May 7 and the review of the expressions of interest resulted in a short-term contract to Groupe Robert to support immediate warehousing needs
- a request for proposal was also published on the buy and sell website and on September 11, 2020, PSPC awarded a competitive contract to Metro Logistics Inc. on behalf of PHAC
- this contract ensures warehousing across the country to accommodate and best position supplies for distribution to the provinces and territories
If pressed on Metro’s role:
- Metro Logistics Inc. was awarded a contract for a period of 2 years until August 2022, with an option for a further 1-year extension
- This contract provides significant warehousing capacity in the [Redacted] Area, [Redacted] area, and in [Redacted]
- This contract also provides national distribution to all provinces and territories
- The contract also includes a Warehouse Management System capability to facilitate the reporting and control of material
If pressed on Groupe Robert’s role:
- on May 22, PHAC awarded a contract to Groupe Robert as an immediate temporary measure to store PPE
- subsequently, on June 13, after contacting several firms, we awarded a contract to Groupe Robert until end of December 2020 for warehousing, inventory management and transportation needs
- the contract has been extended to the end of January 2021 to complete the transition of PPE storage to Metro
- this contract provided 215,000 square feet of warehousing space in the [Redacted] Area, and 150,000 square feet in the [Redacted] Area, as well as a warehouse management system capability to facilitate the reporting and control of the materiel
- additionally, a 2-year contract was awarded to Groupe Robert on July 31, to operate a facility leased by the Government of Canada in [Redacted]
If pressed on additional warehousing measures:
- a number of additional suppliers, including Urban Valley Transport Ltd., Overseas Express Consolidators and Bolloré Logistics Canada, have also been used to support inventory management, warehousing and distribution
- through such contracts, PPE is currently being warehoused in [Redacted]
Since the outset of the pandemic, the government has adapted to manage the volume of supplies. These measures have included service contracts and leases for additional warehouses, turning to the Canadian Armed Forces for assistance with logistics, and leveraging existing agreements.
A number of different suppliers, including Maritime Ontario, Groupe Robert Inc, Metro Logistics Inc, Urban Valley Transport Ltd., Overseas Express Consolidators and Bolloré Logistics Canada have been used to support inventory management, warehousing and distribution. Through such contracts, PPE is currently being warehoused in [Redacted].
PSPC also entered into short-term leases for PHAC for 2 additional warehouses [Redacted] in [Redacted] totalling approximately 187,000 square feet. These warehouses are expected to be vacated upon expiry of the leases in March 2021. A new lease at the [Redacted] has been secured to replace these expiring leases with a start date of January 1, 2021, for a fixed period of 8 years with a total of 127,000 square feet of warehouse.
On April 1, 2020, PSPC signed, on behalf of PHAC, a 1-year contract with Amazon to use their on-line technology for provinces to order material directly. Canada Post and Purolator were delivering the equipment to provinces and territories as a subcontractor of Amazon. The agreement had primarily been put in place to access Amazon’s easy-to-use online interface, which allowed individual health establishments to order supplies directly from PHAC. As provinces and territories requested that PHAC deliver the supplies directly rather than awaiting for orders from them, the requirement evolved beyond what was covered in the Amazon agreement. As a result, the contract with Amazon was suspended in mid-July 2020. Prior to the suspension, only $200,000 has been spent under this contract.
A separate agreement between PHAC and Canada Post allowed for the warehousing of the PPE at [Redacted], a key on-going subcontractor of Canada Post. This warehouse quickly ran out of space. PHAC subsequently awarded, on May 22, 2020, a contract to Groupe Robert as a temporary measure while a long-term solution was being developed.
On May 4, 2020, a letter of intent/request for information (LOI/RFI) was published on buy and sell to gather information in relation to a longer-term warehousing, inventory management and transportation solution. Further to the LOI / RFI process, on June 13, 2020, PSPC awarded a 6-month contract to Groupe Robert Inc. The contract has since been extended to the end of January 2021. This contract provided 215,000 square feet of warehousing space in the [Redacted] Area, and 150,000 square feet in the [Redacted] Area, transportation capabilities and a warehouse management system capability. These warehouses quickly filled as the volume of PPE being delivered at the time was significant. Of the warehouses, 1 in [Redacted] is in the final stages of being emptied with its content being shipped to provinces. Another adjacent warehouse in [Redacted] and 2 in the [Redacted] area are available until the end of January 2021. Transition of PPE product out of these warehouses to provinces or other PHAC facilities is underway and expected to be completed by the end of January 2021 at which point the contract will come to its end.
PSPC also proceeded with a request for proposal for national logistics and warehousing services on July 16, 2020, to provide for warehousing, inventory management and distributions services. As a result of this competitive process, PSPC awarded, on behalf of PHAC, a 2-year contract, with an option for an additional year to Metro Logistics Inc. The contract, awarded on September 11, 2020, ensures warehousing across the country to accommodate and best position supplies for distribution to the provinces and territories.
In August 2020, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Essential Services Contingency Reserve (ESCR), an emergency backstop of PPE and other critical supplies, managed by PSPC. The ESCR includes a number of warehouses across Canada, managed under a separate contract by SCI Logistics, a subsidiary of Canada Post, with Purolator serving as the distribution and delivery agent.
Integrity in federal procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic
In the fast-paced and constantly evolving marketplace to secure necessary products and supplies to support the Government of Canada’s response to the pandemic, there have been reports of wrongdoing and fraudulent activity associated with the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) from around the world. Questions may arise as to the measures that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has in place to protect the integrity of the federal procurement system during this period.
- The Government of Canada is committed to taking action against improper, unethical and illegal business practices and holding companies accountable for such misconduct
- To help ensure the Government of Canada does business with ethical suppliers, a government-wide Integrity Regime is in place. The Integrity Regime holds suppliers accountable for their misconduct, and also encourages them to cooperate with law enforcement and take corrective action
- Under the Integrity Regime, a supplier may be suspended or declared ineligible to do business with the government if, in the previous 3 years, it, members of its board of directors or its affiliates, have been charged with or convicted of one of the offences listed in the Ineligibility and Suspension Policy in Canada, or similar offences abroad
- PSPC has consistently applied the Integrity Regime to all COVID-19 related procurements
- To date, no contracts have been awarded to a supplier that is ineligible or suspended under the Integrity Regime
- The government is focusing on striking an appropriate balance that provides incentives for corporations to self-report wrongdoing and to promote stronger corporate compliance
- Administrative agreements under the Integrity Regime allow the federal government to seek greater assurances from a supplier to further mitigate the risk of doing business with them. This includes putting in place requirements associated with necessary remedial measures, compliance programs, and regular reporting by an independent third party monitor on progress and compliance
The Government of Canada has a framework of laws, regulations and policies in place to protect the integrity of the federal procurement system. PSPC administers several programs under this framework, including the government-wide Integrity Regime, the federal contracting traud tip line, and increased oversight for the detection of bid-rigging.
The Integrity Regime is designed to help ensure that the government does business with ethical suppliers and incentivizes suppliers to ensure strong ethics and compliance frameworks. Under the Integrity Regime, a supplier may be suspended or declared ineligible to do business with the government if, in the previous 3 years, it, members of its board of directors or its affiliates, have been charged with or convicted of one of the offences listed in the Ineligibility and Suspension Policy in Canada or a similar offence abroad.
Under the current regime, 3 companies are ineligible to do business with the Government of Canada due to convictions for a listed offence (Les Entreprises Chatel Inc., R.M. Belanger Limited and Les Industries Garanties Limitée). One supplier has had their period of ineligibility reduced to 5 years pursuant to an administrative agreement which came into effect in December 2020 (Hickey Construction Ltd). The administrative agreement with SNC-Lavalin recently concluded in December 2020 in accordance with the terms of the agreement and the final disposition of criminal charges facing the supplier and relevant affiliates.
In 2018, the government announced its plans to enhance the Integrity Regime by increasing the number of triggers for debarment, broadening the scope of business ethics covered by the Integrity Regime, and integrating greater flexibility within the debarment process. Following this announcement, there was considerable public discourse around corporate wrongdoing as well as governments’ response to such misconduct. As a result, the government announced that it was taking additional time to reassess elements of the proposed Integrity Regime and potential next steps.
In the interim, the current Ineligibility and Suspension Policy remains in effect.
Labour exploitation in procurement
The global nature of supply chains puts procurements at potential risk of having been produced using forced labour and human trafficking.
- The Government of Canada is committed to addressing the risk of forced labour and human trafficking in federal procurement supply chains through the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
- A consultation process was launched on January 13 to update the code of conduct for procurement in order to outline Canada’s expectations for suppliers regarding human and labour rights
- The department has also launched a request for proposals to select a supplier to conduct a risk assessment to identify which goods purchased by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) are at risk of having been produced using human trafficking, forced labour, and/or child labour. We anticipate being able to award this contract in the coming weeks
- The findings of the risk assessment will enable us to develop an evidence-based approach to protect procurement supply chains from exposure to forced labour
- Additionally, the labour chapter of the Canada-United States (US)-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) established an obligation to prohibit the importation of goods that have been produced in whole or in part by forced labour
- This import prohibition, which is under the purview of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), applies to all goods regardless of their country of origin, and is an additional tool at Canada’s disposal to combat forced labour in global supply chains
- As the labour chapter of the CUSMA is a border measure, the CBSA is leading the implementation in partnership with Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
If pressed on personal protective equipment (PPE) procurements linked to Xinjiang, China, and Malaysia:
- we are aware that the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency issued a withhold release order against cotton products and tomato products from Xinjiang believed to be produced using forced labour in their production
- the Government of Canada announced new measures on January 12, 2021, to address human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China, including the adoption of a comprehensive approach to defend the rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities
- measures to address the risk of forced labour from global supply chains include:
- the prohibition of imports of goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour
- export controls
- enhanced advice to Canadian businesses
- a third-party study on forced labour involving Uyghurs and supply chain risks
- the Government of Canada is aware of the recent media reports on human rights abuses in the production of disposable gloves in Malaysia, and takes these seriously. To address this, suppliers have been asked to verify that their supply chains are free of forced labour practices
- in addition, the Government of Canada has favoured a made-in-Canada solution to accelerate domestic production of personal protective equipment, which reduces exposure to global supply chains that could be vulnerable to forced labour
If pressed on lack of compliance monitoring for existing measures:
- human trafficking and forced labour are clandestine crimes, often hard to detect as they tend to occur beyond tier one suppliers in the supply chain
- the global context in which most companies operate makes it challenging to directly monitor compliance with local laws and international human and labour rights in other countries
- the Government of Canada recognizes that addressing the risks of human trafficking and forced labour in our supply chains requires sustained effort, and we are working on a number of additional measures to enhance the integrity of our procurement system
If pressed on the risk assessment:
- the risk assessment is an important step for my department to understand where supply chains may be vulnerable to risks of forced labour and which goods are at a higher risk
- the assessment will also suggest an overall prioritization approach by sector (for example: apparel, electronics) to maximize the impact of future efforts
- the risk assessment is a key step in developing an evidence-based approach to address human trafficking in federal procurement supply chains
The complexity of global supply chains enhances the vulnerabilities of those in precarious work situations in Canada and around the world. According to a 2017 joint report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, forced labour is present throughout all regions of the globe and most prevalent in manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, and domestic work. In a 2016 report, World Vision Canada found that over 1,200 companies operating in Canada are importing goods that may have been produced by child or forced labour.
Supply chains for PPE are spread across numerous countries with varying business practices and government regulations. Compounded by the global urgency to acquire PPE, this context may enable an environment where workers’ conditions are overlooked.
The Government of Canada is taking action, under the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (national strategy), to ensure that federal suppliers comply with international labour and human rights. As part of the national strategy, PSPC is leading the following initiatives:
- revising the PSPC code of conduct for procurement to include the expectations on human and labour rights for suppliers
- conducting an assessment of the risks of human trafficking and forced labour in federal procurement supply chains
- examining long-term approaches to address human trafficking for labour exploitation in federal procurement supply chains
As part of planned actions under the national strategy, PSPC will also create information resources for suppliers to become better aware of potential risks in their supply chains (2021 to 2022); and create requirements for suppliers of high-risk goods to address risks in their supply chain (2022 to 2023).
Moreover, in July 2020, clauses on ‘ethical procurement’ and ‘origin of work’ were added in new PPE contracts and in all newly issued request for proposals for PPE. The ‘origin of work’ clause requires bidders to provide the name, address and country of manufacturers of the item, including subcontractors. The ‘ethical procurement’ clause, requires bidders to certify that they and their first-tier subcontractors comply with the same human rights and labour standards set out in the Ethical Procurement of Apparel Policy.
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement
On November 30, 2018, Canada, the United States and Mexico signed the new CUSMA, which includes a comprehensive and enforceable labour chapter. The comprehensive labour chapter (article 23.6 specifically) includes a new obligation for Canada and its 2 CUSMA partners to prohibit the importation of goods produced, in whole or in part, by forced or compulsory labour. Paragraphs 201(i.1) and 204(8) of the CUSMA Implementation Act (the act) amended the Customs Tariff and the Schedule to the Customs Tariff to include a prohibition on the importation of goods that are mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour. The amendments made under the act came into force in Canada on July 1, 2020.
Prior to this new commitment, Canada did not restrict the entry of goods manufactured, mined and produced by forced labour into the country. The labour chapter also commits Canada, the US, and Mexico to work together to identify the movements of goods produced by forced labour. In order to implement this obligation under the CUSMA, the Government of Canada amended the Customs Tariff and the Schedule to the Customs Tariff to include a prohibition on the importation of goods produced by forced labour.
CBSA plays a role in the interception of goods that are suspected of being produced by means of forced labour. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the Government of Canada’s lead department for labour-related programs. CBSA has been working with ESDC to identify goods that have been produced by forced labour entering Canada. Specifically, ESDC conducts research and analysis on companies that are suspected to be using forced labour to produce goods and are importing them to Canada. CBSA may use this information to identify and intercept shipments containing goods produced that have been identified as suspected to have been produced by forced labour.
In this regard, it should be noted that CBSA and ESDC are the lead departments in implementing the measures required to ensure that the Government of Canada is compliant with this CUSMA requirement. PSPC does not have a role in implementing the CUSMA forced labour provisions but is following this work closely to identify potential implications on procurement as these measures are implemented.
Shipments containing goods that are suspected of being produced by forced labour will be detained at the border for inspection by a CBSA border services officer. If in the judgement of the officer the goods were produced by forced labour, the officer will apply the tariff classification under chapter 98, item 9897 and prohibit the goods from entering Canada. Determinations are made on a case-by-case basis, based on all available supporting evidence and analysis.
Procurement of personal protective equipment
The procurement environment for personal protective equipment (PPE) has evolved over the course of the pandemic.
- Given the high level of complexity in the global supply chain, ensuring quality of the product Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in purchasing is extremely important
- At the outset of the pandemic, surging global demand for PPE and medical supplies resulted in a highly competitive marketplace and volatile supply chains. The Government of Canada took an aggressive procurement approach to fulfill emergent and immediate as well as long-term medical supply requirements. An urgent and accelerated timeline for contracting was required in many cases, and solicitation documents were not published on the Government of Canada’s buy and sell website. PSPC engaged domestic and international supply communities through other means to establish a diversified roster of suppliers
- The Government of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, and the procurement environment has also evolved. Where timelines to secure a particular good or service has allowed for more flexibility, or the search for information or sources of supply has needed to be broadened, PSPC has moved towards competitive procurement processes. For example, competitive procurements for goods such as non-medical masks and face shields have received hundreds of bids
- We have secured more than 2.5 billion articles of various PPE, and we continue to receive steady, ongoing deliveries
- We are also continuing to leverage domestic supply chains wherever possible, with more than 40% of the total value of PPE contracts going to domestic companies
- Our goal is to ensure Canada has more than sufficient supplies on hand in anticipation of future needs for our provinces, territories, frontline health workers and Canadians
If pressed on quality issues of medical supplies:
- we are working with established suppliers and distributors, as well as quality assurance experts, and we have strong processes in place to help ensure that the supplies we receive meet all necessary standards
- in addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada has robust testing measures in place, and they are in place for the very purpose of ensuring quality control of these essential products before they go out to provinces and territories
- although we have encountered situations where supplies were found to be substandard, we acted quickly to address these issues
- we are working closely with suppliers to ensure that products are fit for the intended use
If pressed on hand sanitizer:
- in the early days of the pandemic, accessing PPE, including hand sanitizer, proved to be challenging as demand far exceeded the available supply
- PSPC worked with Innovation, Science and Economic Development to identify reliable Canadian manufacturers of hand sanitizers, and pivoted to issue contracts to those suppliers as the production within Canada increased
- PSPC procured more than 10.6 million liters of hand sanitizer from Canadian manufacturers
If pressed on the purchase of syringes:
- PSPC has purchased over 145 million syringes of varying sizes to accommodate a range of requirements in the administration of vaccines
- syringe procurements include 50 million 1 ml syringes, of which 37.5 million are low dead volume syringes, which minimize the volume of solution that remains in the needle after an injection
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is delivering on government commitments to modernize and simplify procurement.
- The government is committed to modernizing procurement practices so they are simpler, less administratively burdensome
- In support of economic growth and diversity among small- and medium- enterprises, and under-represented groups, we are working to reduce barriers that have historically prevented them from participating in federal procurement
- Specific actions include:
- implementing a simplified contract model
- establishing a social procurement policy framework to achieve positive socio-economic outcomes
- increasing opportunities for all suppliers, including piloting targeted approaches to expand supplier diversity
- improving and making existing procurement tools more accessible to diverse suppliers
- formalizing a risk-based approach for procurement decisions
- developing new tools to determine contract pricing and support best value
- expanding support to bidders with limited or no success bidding on government opportunities, from coaching service to personalized assistance
If pressed on diversifying procurement (Black-owned businesses):
- our government is committed to diversifying the base of suppliers and expanding bidding opportunities for Black-owned or operated businesses to obtain contracts from federal organizations
- as part of this effort, PSPC has launched the Black businesses pilot to open select bidding opportunities in several regions for various goods and services, targeting Black- owned or operated businesses. Since January 12, 2021, 9 procurements have been posted on the buyandsell website.
- the Black businesses pilot is a tangible first step to expand procurement opportunities for Black entrepreneurs
- PSPC will assess these procurements and draw on success and lessons learned to inform additional targeted approaches to increase diversity in future procurements, including support for greater inclusion and representation of Black-owned or led businesses and other underrepresented suppliers in federal procurements
- this demonstrates PSPC’s leadership role in advancing social procurement, working closely with other government departments to increase bidder and supplier diversity in federal procurements
- in support of this, PSPC, through the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME), continues to deliver training and provide assistance to under-represented groups across Canada, including Black-owned or operated businesses to support their participation in federal procurements. Examples include supporting the rise up pitch competition and ongoing webinars provided in partnership with the United Nations Decade of Persons of African Descent (UNDPAD) Push Coalition
- we continue to work and collaborate the United Nations Decade of Persons of African Descent (UNDPAD) Push Coalition, the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), and the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness of the services offered by OSME, to encourage participation in federal procurement, and to identify and reduce barriers
If pressed on the social procurement policy and program:
- our government is committed to finding ways to enable the inclusion of socio-economic outcomes into federal procurement
- we are developing a social procurement policy and program which will allow us to create targeted approaches to increase diversity in PSPC procurement, leverage trade agreements that permit socio-economic procurement, and provide the authorities necessary to collect personal data, including information on ethnicity, gender and other socio-economic characteristics of suppliers
- the social procurement policy and program will also allow the government to establish a baseline on the participation of under-represented suppliers, such as Black entrepreneurs, in federal procurement and monitor progress over time
- PSPC, in collaboration with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, will be working towards developing government-wide initiatives to increase the diversity of bidders on government contracts
- these initiatives will seek to bring a positive economic impact for thousands of Canadian small businesses, including those led by Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) Canadians and other groups who are often underrepresented in federal procurement supply chains
If pressed on Indigenous procurement:
- we are committed to increasing the participation of Indigenous businesses in federal procurement
- to do so, we are working with Indigenous Services Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to establish a target of at least 5% of federal contracts awarded to businesses managed and led by Indigenous Peoples
- Indigenous business organizations are represented on both the newly established COVID-19 Supplier Council and the National Supplier Advisory Council that has been in place since 2013
- OSME works with Indigenous businesses directly, as well as through partner Indigenous organizations, to provide awareness, education and assistance on how to participate in federal procurement
If pressed on the Procurement Ombudsman’s annual report citing the “unnecessarily complex nature of the federal procurement process”:
- the government has committed to modernize and simplify procurement
- 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 the supplier experience, including:
- contract modernization initiatives to simplify and streamline our contracting documents to make procurement less burdensome for suppliers
- improvements to the existing buyandsell website for suppliers, as well as for buyers
- efforts to encourage greater competition, as well as moving forward on initiatives that support our economic policy goals, including innovation, green and social procurement, and increasing the diversity of bidders
- implementation of the electronic procurement solution, which will align our processes with those of our suppliers and eliminate paper-based processes
A substantial part of public investment is managed through public sector acquisition of goods and services, representing 13% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data from 2015. This makes it a fundamental lever to achieving social and economic objectives.
The government has committed to modernize and simplify procurement, and to establish an electronic procurement solution. A key step towards this goal was the March 2020 soft launch of Canada Buys, our new electronic procurement system, as announced in Budget 2018, at a cost of $196.8 million over 5 years. Procurement processes will also be easier, faster and more accessible for suppliers and buyers through:
- simpler, less administratively burdensome, user-friendly procurement practices:
- improvements to the existing buyandsell website for buyers as well as for suppliers were introduced to enhance their user experience and make it easier for them to find relevant procurement information
- more accessible and intuitive complement of industrial security services have been made available
- contract modernization initiatives and a modernized contract model are being piloted. This is in response to concerns from the supplier community regarding the complexity of the Government of Canada’s contracts and related processes. This complexity can represent barriers to supplier participation in public procurement, including reducing competition and supplier diversity, which impacts Canada’s ability to achieve best value for money
- deployment of modern comptrollership:
- formalizing a risk-based approach for procurement decisions
- ensuring fair pricing in defence contracts (sustainment initiative, pricing guide)
- encouraging greater competition and including practices that support our economic policy goals, including innovation, as well as green and social procurement:
- developing a framework for leveraging socio-economic outcomes in federal procurement
- increasing the participation of under-represented groups such as women-owned businesses, Indigenous businesses, Black businesses, disability-owned businesses and other minority businesses
- adopting a more inclusive and accessible approach to procurement, raising awareness of how to give consideration to the needs of persons with disabilities when procuring on behalf of the federal government
- developing rigorous, science-based methodologies and tools to measure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in federal procurements and establish targets for specific goods and services
Notably, an Accessible Procurement Resource Centre (APRC) was established in June 2018 to support government buyers in integrating accessibility criteria into their procurement requirements for goods and services. Work includes examining how we can ensure that procurement is accessible to all so that suppliers with disabilities can become part of the government’s supply chain, and to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to work as government suppliers.
The government will also support other procurement commitments including better vendor management tools, clear data metrics, and increased opportunities for Indigenous businesses.
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