Procurement funding to meet expanded needs: COVID-19: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—June 9, 2020

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Supplementary Estimates (A): $500 million in 2020 to 2021

Table 1:Funding profile (in millions of dollars)

Fiscal year

2020 to 2021

Total authorities




Funding of $500 million (statutory authorities) in 2020 to 2021 to PSPC to expand its procurement scope and purchase supplies without unnecessary delays.

Purpose of the funding

In 2020 to 2021, [Redacted] granted PSPC access to a statutory appropriation under the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act.

This funding allows PSPC to be pro-active and aggressively acquire critical goods and services, such as personal protective equipment and health supplies, for a broad range of essential sectors with urgent needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding will also be used to prepare against future uncertainties relating to COVID-19 by ensuring market availability and establishing an excess of supply, supporting the government’s direction on being “over-prepared”.

PSPC will recover costs from clients when possible and provide twice-monthly updates to the Department of Finance on the procurements made from the fund and any related cost recovery.


On March 11, 2020, following the World Health Organization’s call for countries to take urgent and aggressive action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau established a COVID-19 response fund as Canada’s whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On March 20, 2020, an amendment to the Contracting Policy was approved in order to provide the minister of PSPC with enhanced emergency authorities to procure COVID-19 related goods and services. This included contracting authorities for measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and procurement activities related to the development and dissemination of a vaccine.

On March 26, 2020, as part of the approved Action Plan to broaden the federal procurement approach to meet the needs of Canadians during the COVID-19 outbreak, a dedicated source of funds in the amount of $500 million was approved to provide PSPC the flexibility to order additional supplies to mitigate risks and to potentially address orders for an expanded client base, in particular those considered most vulnerable by the current pandemic including but not limited to Canadians in remote locations, Indigenous communities, Northern communities as well as seniors.

On March 30, 2020, approval was received to provide PSPC with the exceptional authority, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to acquire and provide goods and services on behalf of any entity in Canada or elsewhere, including the private sector.


The approved authorities allow PSPC to address the risks posed by increasingly limited supplies of key goods and services. PSPC will provide assistance to vulnerable sectors and those unable to acquire critical goods to ensure they continue to provide essential services while ensuring the health and safety of their workers and clients against the risks of COVID-19.

PSPC is collaborating with key federal departments such as Public Safety, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and Innovation Science and Economic Development to implement an effective and aggressive procurement strategy to combat the pandemic. PSPC is also working closely with provincial and territorial partners as well as other government departments to identify recipients of scarce resources and ensuring a proper allocation model.

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