General items: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—March 4, 2022

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Opening remarks


Mr. Paul Thompson, Deputy Minister, Public Services and Procurement Canada
Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO)
Supplementary Estimates C and the Departmental Results Report.

March 4, 2022

(Word count: 760)

Mr. Chair, committee members, thank you for inviting me here today.

[TBC]: With me are Associate Deputy Minister, Arianne Reza as well as other departmental officials.

I am pleased to be here to address questions related to Public Services and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC) most recent Departmental Results Report for 2020 to 2021 and its Supplementary Estimates C.

Mr. Chair, the departmental results report highlights the department’s achievements in delivering on its diverse mandate.

As a common service provider, PSPC works to support the whole of government as it serves Canadians—from procurement to managing government buildings to being the pay and pension administrator for the public service, and more.

Over the past year, PSPC continued to play a key role in supporting Canada’s response to the pandemic.

An aggressive procurement approach early on resulted in a secure supply of vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE), with much of that PPE now being made here at home.

With regards to testing, PSPC secured millions of rapid tests to support the work of the Public Health Agency of Canada and provinces and territories.

Requests for these tests have increased dramatically as the pandemic has evolved.

As of this week, more that 330 million rapid tests have been delivered to Canada and hundreds of millions more will arrive over the coming months.

As well as being an important part of the fight against COVID-19, procurement is also a powerful lever that can be used to drive inclusive economic prosperity.

Mr. Chair, I’m proud to say that PSPC continues to modernize procurement practices to reduce barriers for under-represented groups.

To this end, PSPC has launched a Supplier Diversity Action Plan that includes pilot projects and consultation with businesses led by Black and other racialized Canadians, women, two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others (2SLGBTQ+) Canadians, Indigenous Peoples, Canadians with disabilities, and other communities.

As well, last summer, PSPC announced federal-wide measures aimed at working towards implementing a requirement that at least 5% of the value of federal contracts are held by businesses led by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

The department also has other important work underway, including the renovation and rehabilitation of the parliamentary precinct.

Major construction activities continued on the historic restoration of the Centre Block, including excavation work for the Parliamentary Welcome Centre, demolition and abatement and the development of concept designs.

Last year also saw the launch of the architectural design competition to redevelop Block 2, the city block facing Parliament Hill and surrounded by Wellington, Sparks, Metcalfe and O’Connor streets.

Mr. Chair, PSPC continues to support the environmental sustainability of government operations.

As outlined in our departmental results report, PSPC implemented various clean technologies in building operations, among other actions.

In addition, PSPC continued with the ongoing delivery of defence procurements in support of Canada’s defence policy: Strong, Secure, Engaged.

That included reviewing bids for the purchase of new fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force. And I will note that we are still on track for a contract award later this year, with delivery of aircraft as early as 2025.

PSPC also continued to work with partners to renew the fleets of the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy, delivering the third and final offshore fisheries science vessel as well as the first Arctic and offshore patrol ship. Construction of other large vessels is underway.

Mr. Chair, public servants have worked tirelessly to support these and so many other government efforts.

Like all workers, they deserve to be paid accurately and on time.

This remains a top priority and PSPC achieved considerable progress in eliminating the backlog of outstanding pay issues.

Mr. Chair, I have touched upon just a fraction of the items in the departmental results report.

To fund ongoing work for fiscal 2021 to 2022, PSPC is seeking an increase of $155 million through the Supplementary Estimates (C). This includes:

We are also requesting funding to continue work to stabilize the pay system, for planning activities to support real property projects, and to better equip Canada’s coast guard and military.

I would be happy to speak to these requests today and to take your questions.

Thank you.

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