Supplying the Canadian response to COVID-19: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—June 9, 2020

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Given the extremely high global demand for COVID-19 related goods, there are many risks and challenges associated with procurement of these supplies. This situation is further complicated by export restrictions on personnel protective equipment (PPE) and other goods.

Contract negotiations have also evolved rapidly, with a number of terms being requested by suppliers that do not come up in the normal course of business, including:


Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has been working closely with central agencies and the Department of Justice to ensure that risk is appropriately identified and managed for the Government of Canada so that front line workers get the equipment they need.

We have had challenges with respect to quality of goods for both N95 respirators and with test swabs. In both cases we took immediate action including suspending orders with certain manufacturers, and working closely with others to ensure that production issues are identified and corrected as soon as possible. PSPC, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Health Canada are taking strong measures to ensure that defective product will not be distributed to frontline workers.

Public Services and Procurement Canada’s actions taken to equip essential service workers with the supplies and equipment they need to combat COVID-19

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.

As the Government of Canada’s central purchaser, we are awarding contracts in order to ensure we are acquiring the goods and services that front line workers need, including personnel protective equipment, medical equipment, nursing and support services, air charters, accommodations, transportation, and security.

Roles and responsibilities of other federal departments and agencies

The Government of Canada is leading a coordinated approach to provide needed supplies and equipment across the country. This involves PSPC, the PHAC, Health Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), the National Research Council of Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), and Public Safety Canada. Global Affairs Canada is also implicated in the repatriation of Canadians, among other activities.

Public Services and Procurement Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

Health Canada

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

National Research Council of Canada

The National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program will build on its existing relationships with thousands of Canada's most innovative small and medium-sized businesses to facilitate innovative marketplace solutions to fight COVID-19

Public Safety Canada

Lead federal department with respect to the co-ordination of all government efforts with respect to addressing an emergency. It has a Government Operations Committee that all other federal department and agencies feed into, as well as a federal/provincial/territorial committee to co-ordinate/manage efforts with provinces and territories

Global Affairs Canada

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