In the News Archive
May 2005

Subscribe to Summit!


Budget 2005 procurement news

On April 1, 2005, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Scott Brison released three op-ed pieces: 1) smarter buying, 2) better value for Canadians and 3) improved property management. You will find them in their entirety below. Minister Brison invites you to visit www.pwgsc.gc.ca to learn more about PWGSC’s strategy for doing business smarter.

1. Introducing smarter buying

Each year, the Government of Canada buys $13 billion in goods and services, using more than 451,000 contracts and amendments – making it one of the largest purchasers in Canada.

As a result, thousands of Canadian suppliers do business with the Government of Canada each year, and it’s important the government simplify and improve its procurement system.

The recent federal budget introduced some fundamental changes to the way the government does business, including how it purchases goods and services. This is great news for suppliers. As a former businessman myself, I know you will see the wisdom of a more efficient and organized procurement system.

The changes to government procurement make sense and are something major corporations have been doing for some time. In essence, the government is maximizing its purchasing power by consolidating buying across departments for a broad range of goods and services. The changes include, among other things, making it mandatory for departments and agencies to use common purchasing tools and processes such as standing offers and the introduction of the Government of Canada marketplace, an innovative on-line purchasing tool to be rolled out with several departments in 2005-06.

By using these common tools, the government will pay less for goods and services than it does now. In addition, by consolidating our purchases for 40 of the most commonly purchased categories of goods and services, we will, over time, be able to negotiate even better prices, which will mean even greater savings.

For suppliers, this will mean dealing with one client – the Government of Canada – rather than dozens of departments and agencies. It will mean more predictability and a guaranteed level of business. And it will mean simpler transactions and more transparent dealings with the government – savings in time and money that can be applied to growing your business.

These new measures are a direct result of the recommendations of the Procurement Task Force led by my Parliamentary Secretary, Walt Lastewka. The Task Force undertook the most comprehensive review of federal procurement in over 40 years.

The Task Force consulted with suppliers, trade associations and other stakeholders, representing a cross-section of small, medium and large businesses in Canada. The government’s proposal to consolidate and coordinate procurement received broad support during these consultations. However, some participants expressed concerns about continued access to government opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses.

Let me assure you that the government has taken steps to address those concerns.

For one thing, my department is establishing an office of small business to serve as an entry point for businesses and make it easer to do business with the government. We will set up commodity councils with industry representatives and other stakeholders at the table so we can give due consideration to the impact of our purchasing decisions on small and regionally based businesses. We are simplifying our contracts to make it easier to deal with government. And we will continue to use tools such as regional standing offers to ensure that businesses right across the country have access to government business.

Of course, we also eliminated the fees for MERX – the government’s portal to procurement opportunities.

And finally, as the changes to procurement are implemented, we will monitor the impact on small businesses and address issues as they arise.

The bottom line is that these changes are good for the government, good for suppliers and good for Canadians. The changes will generate $2.5 billion in savings on the government’s annual procurement bill – savings that can be invested in priorities such as health care and the environment.

But the changes are about more than generating savings. They are about better accountability, increased transparency, demonstrating results and showing Canadians that they are getting value for their money – the fundamentals of good government.

2. Better value for Canadians

It’s important for Canadians -- especially low and middle income families with children struggling to make ends meet – to know that the government is taking steps to better manage their tax dollars and provide the best services at the best value to taxpayers.

Among other things, the recent federal budget introduced some fundamental changes to the way the Government of Canada does business, including how the government buys goods and services and manages its office buildings.

As Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, my department provides services that are common to all federal government departments and agencies – services that include real estate management, goods and services purchasing, information technology, as well as translation and consulting and audit functions. We are essentially the “back office” of government, and it’s critical we do our job effectively so other departments can focus on their vital roles of serving Canadians.

Our strategy involves improving the way we purchase goods and services on behalf of government, better managing our property and taking fuller advantage of information technology.

First, smarter buying can make a huge contribution to better efficiency. We will save $2.5 billion over five years by maximizing our purchasing power and consolidating what we buy for government departments. For example, we recently saved $80 million in negotiating new software contracts using this approach.

As we make these changes, we are taking steps to ensure small businesses in every region continue to have access to government procurement opportunities. For one thing, we are establishing an office of small business to point business people in the right direction when they want to sell goods and services to the government. We have also eliminated the fees to access government tenders.

The second part of our strategy focuses on our role as landlord. We aim to save $925 million over five years by reducing the amount of office space used by public servants and better managing our portfolio. We are also looking at the economics of owning versus leasing our office properties, something many private-sector companies have done to reduce costs.

Our third goal is to fundamentally change the way the federal government provides services to Canadians, using information technology. Not only do we want to make it easier for Canadians and businesses to interact with the government on-line but we also want to make it more cost-effective. Canada is already one of the most connected countries in the world to its citizens, but within government departments, there are currently too many systems, services and software in use right now. By moving to a shared IT systems approach across the government this will yield better, faster and more cost-saving results for taxpayers and government departments. This approach will also provide a consistent approach to government procurement in the area of IT services and support other government initiatives recently announced in the Budget such as Service Canada. Finally, PWGSC will play a key role in helping to green government operations. We will help Canada meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, leading by example with initiatives such as green procurement, energy efficient buildings, fuel-efficient vehicles and environmental clean-up projects.

These changes are about more than generating savings. They are about better accountability, increased transparency, demonstrating results and showing Canadians that they are getting value for their money – the fundamentals of good government.

3. Improving property management

The recent federal budget introduced some fundamental changes in way the Government of Canada manages its office properties. Because the federal government is the largest single user of office space in Canada, it’s important for those working in property management and real estate to be aware of these changes.

Public Works and Government Services Canada accommodates over 210,000 public servants in 1,900 locations spanning 5.7 million square metres of space.

The changes introduced in the budget will help the department deliver its property management services smarter, faster and at reduced cost. These changes include:

Inventory Management
  • The Government will improve its leasing strategies to ensure better value through initiatives such as using lower-cost accommodation outside municipal “cores”—downtown areas—and the more timely negotiation of leases to ensure the best possible rate from landlords. This will also include improved management of repairs and maintenance contracts.
Reducing Overhead
  • The Government will hire private sector experts in cases where significant efficiencies on project costs and management can be achieved.
Accommodation Standards
  • The Government will reduce the current average level of space utilization per employee to a level more consistent with private sector. Fit-up standards, for construction, cabling, etc., will also be adjusted from the current average cost of $400 per square metre to a PWGSC standard of $313 per square metre.

Together these changes will save $925 million over five years.

We are already making progress and showing dividends in how we manage our properties. For example, in November 2004 we awarded new contracts for property management and project delivery services – contracts that will save Canadians up to $50 million per year over our estimated budget.

Another issue we are looking at is the current ratio of office buildings we own versus lease. Right now we own 60 per cent of our office buildings and lease 40 per cent, which means we own a higher proportion of buildings than many leading private-sector corporations. If we retain the current ownership ratio, we will need to invest $2 billion to address rust-out issues.

That’s why we’re examining the economics of owning versus leasing. We will seek private-sector advice and recommendations on how best to manage our real estate portfolio, and this could lead to changes in our own-lease ratio.

Simply put, we are taking steps to improve how we manage our real estate assets and reduce costs so that we can reinvest the savings in priorities such as health care and the environment. This is part of a larger strategy in my department and across government to get the best value for taxpayers’ dollars – something Canadians expect.

BC adds hybrid vehicles to government fleet

In March 2005, BC announced plans to add up to 356 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to the government fleet in support of its sustainable transportation goals.

Management Services Minister Joyce Murray, the minister responsible for the provincial fleet, says she wants to “ensure that government purchases are made based on the principles of sustainable environmental management. This acquisition will result in a direct and immediate reduction in green house gases from fleet operations. Our goal is to have 30 percent of our overall fleet made up of green vehicles in the next three years.”

According to BC’s Greening the Fleet policy, as published at (www.pc.gov.bc.ca/cmg/newweb/GreeningtheFleet.htm), the government has “set a target of 16 percent greenhouse gas reductions from 2000 to 2005 through changes to the vehicle fleet. Actions include acquiring more hybrid/alternative fuel vehicles, using biodiesel and ethanol fuel blends, switching to more efficient vehicles and reducing kilometres travelled.”

Currently, approximately 15 percent of the provincial government fleet consists of ‘green’ vehicles, including 45 gasoline-electric hybrids as well as natural gas and propane powered vehicles. BC operates the largest fleet of Toyota Prius hybrids in Canada. According to data the Ministry of Management Services has recorded, the Prius has proved to be more efficient than its Energuide ratings for city and highway use. For more information check out Fleet Challenge, BC’s Hybrid Experience Report (www.hybridexperience.ca/GovernmentFleet).

Alberta demos stored solar energy for home heating

In late March 2005, the governments of Canada and Alberta, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities through the Green Municipal Funds, and a number of organizations including United Communities, Sterling Homes, ATCO Gas, the Town of Okotoks, Climate Change Central and EnerWorks announced a partnership to build and operate North America’s first large-scale solar-heating system using seasonal storage. The demonstration project will supply more than 90 percent of the space-heating requirements of the 52 homes being built in the Drakes Landing subdivision of Okotoks, Alberta. The sun’s energy will be collected through solar panels mounted on garage roofs and is then transferred to underground storage where the temperature increases over the summer. The thermal energy is retrieved during the winter season and a central district heating system distributes it to homes in the community. According to the announcement, this project is estimated to reduce GHG emissions for each house by five tonnes per year.

Ottawa school board delivers ‘real’ coverage of Everest climb

A partnership between the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and Telecom Ottawa, will deliver to students at six of the schools real-time satellite video of Ben Webster’s attempt to climb Mount Everest in the spring of 2005. The video is in support of Everest related curriculum offerings such as exercise science, physical education, geography, art, photography, anthropology, information technology, design and technology, business, biology and religion. All 154 of the OCDSB’s school sites are connected to Telecom Ottawa’s fibre network.

Mississauga addresses road salt usage

In early March 2005, the City of Mississauga adopted a new Salt Management Plan that will see the city’s Transportation and Works Department “explore other de-icing alternatives and conduct a pilot project whereby a liquid de-icing product is used to pre-wet or spray salt during application.”

Environment Canada published the Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts nearly a year ago. It recommends that those using more than 500 tonnes of road salt annually (based on a 5-year average) prepare a plan that identifies how they will improve road salt management. Using the 5-year average, Mississauga currently uses approximately 58,000 tonnes of salt and 9,000 tonnes of sand during a winter season.

In its efforts to reduce the use of salt on city roads, Mississauga has tested all winter maintenance supervisors and assistant supervisors on their level of environmental knowledge regarding the use of road salt, and they will be retested to determine whether their knowledge increases overtime. Calibration checks were completed on all contracted dual-purpose vehicles to verify the accuracy of computerized spreaders and contracted vehicles will be monitored for infractions and data kept for comparison purposes. As well, snow disposal locations were audited to benchmark the levels of salt, oil/grease, and sedimentation before, during and after a winter season.

Hupacasath First Nation develops mini hydro plant

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has facilitated the efforts of the Hupacasath First Nation of Port Alberni, BC to develop a mini-hydroelectricity plant on China Creek. The plant will produce enough energy to meet their own needs with some left over to sell to BC Hydro – approximately 6.5 MW of ‘green’ electricity – and is projected to offset greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10,000 tonnes each year.

Hydro-Québec Distribution buys wind power

Following a call for tenders in the fall of 2004, Cartier Wind Energy recently signed long term electricity supply contracts with Hydro-Québec Distribution for 740 megawatts (MW) of wind power projects located in the Gaspésie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine region and the Regional County Municipality of Matane. This makes Cartier Wind Energy the largest wind energy producer in Quebec. The projects’ total annual production will represent the energy requirements of about 150,000 households. The environmental permitting process has begun for the projects, which will be commissioned beginning in 2006 and continue up to 2012.

Nova Scotia property registry goes online

Nova Scotia’s 250-year-old property-based system is now online. The new electronic records (www.servicens.ca/property/landreg), which link property records to the land parcel, rather than the owner’s name, are designed to provide better access to land-related information, speed up land related transactions and give land owners a guarantee of title.

The system was first introduced in Colchester County in 2003 and has spread across the province. It could take 10-15 years to convert each property to the system, as this is a one-time process that occurs when the property is sold, subdivided or mortgaged, or when the owners volunteer to register the property. When all properties have been transferred to the new system, historic title searches will be possible online and ownership information will be available within seconds.

The government does not charge for the conversion process but lawyers and surveyors will charge clients for the additional one-time services and prices will vary from firm to firm.

Calgary expands electronics recycling capacity

On March 31, 2005, the City of Calgary announced a private-public partnership with Maxus Technology Inc., which will provide Calgarians seven day a week access to electronics recycling depots. Electronics designated under Alberta’s new electronics recycling program are accepted free of charge; other electronics not covered by ARMA will be recycled by Maxus for a nominal fee. Businesses can contact Maxus Technology to make arrangements to drop-off their electronics directly at Maxus’ warehouse. Items that citizens can drop off with no charge include old and unusable televisions, desktop computers, monitors, printers, laptops, notebooks and peripherals. Calgary’s CompuSmart locations also accept electronics for recycling, from citizens only, on a seven day a week basis.

Manitoba picks contractor to rejuvenate Gull Harbour Resort

The Province of Manitoba had Ernst and Young conduct a search to recommend a prospective buyer capable of revitalizing the Gull Harbour Resort and Conference Centre (www.gullharbourresort.com) property, located on Hecla Island in Lake Winnipeg, and developing it to its full potential as a tourist attraction. Paletta Group, a Winnipeg-based company, proposed a redevelopment and expansion plan (for up to $15 million) that will create a newly-branded five-star resort with new and refurbished guest rooms and suites, an indoor water park and a health spa and wellness centre. The new Hecla Oasis Resort, Spa and Golf Course will be marketed as a year-round destination in Manitoba’s primary tourism access areas. According to the press release, under terms proposed by Manitoba, “the land would be taken over through a lease agreement because it is located in a provincial park and cannot be sold. The resort and buildings associated with the golf course are assets that would come under private ownership.” As of March 2005, negotiations with Paletta were in the final stages.

US government pre-approves Stentor’s iSite(R) PACS

The General Services Administration (GSA) of the Government of the United States, using its GSA Advantage! Website (www.gsaadvantage.gov) provides US federal government agencies, as well as state and local government agencies, with a list of pre-approved and qualified vendors. In March 2005, Stentor was awarded a GSA contract for its iSite® PACS (picture archive and communications system) at pre-negotiated rates through December 2009.

Federal government asks about VoIP

In a request for information released in February 2005, Public Works and Government Services Canada indicated its interest in VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) saying it “…wishes to inform the telecommunications industry of its intention to develop a manager Internet protocol telephony service.” The National Post reported federal government plans to implement the service within the next 12 to 36 months, with rollout beginning in Ottawa and then to other federal locations across Canada.

BC schools get more than one kind of upgrade

Rural schools online. The government of BC and 12 of the province’s school districts are partnering to pilot the use of wireless laptop computers in schools and to provide Web-casting and Web-conferencing for every rural secondary school and nearly half of the urban secondary schools in BC. The province’s share is a maximum of 25 percent of the total cost of $3.6 million, with the school districts picking up the remaining 75 percent. BCEd Online, an e-learning consortium that includes school districts and community colleges, will deliver the hardware, software and training to use Web-casting and Web-conferencing to deliver real-time, interactive courses. Students in rural areas will have access to courses otherwise unavailable to them.

Earthquake-safe schools. More than 700 schools will be upgraded over the next 15 years, or sooner, as part of BC’s plan to make its schools earthquake safe. The schools were selected following a seismic assessment conducted by engineers using an assessment tool developed in cooperation with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC. Schools were then prioritized based on the number of high-risk components, the seismic hazard zone and soil type. Having budgeted $254 million for improvements to 80 schools – 56 in the Lower Mainland, 19 on Vancouver Island and 5 in other coastal communities – the province plans to proceed with construction by 2006. Additional schools in Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Victoria will be selected following further consultation with these school boards. Projects include major structural improvements and upgrades of classrooms, gymnasiums and offices. Another $70 million in previously announced funding is budgeted for seismic mitigation in 2006/07.

Pointers for choosing the right procurement method

Information on choosing the most appropriate method of procurement, specifically a request for proposals (RFP) or an invitation to quote (ITQ), which may provide some pointers for others in procurement elsewhere in Canada, is available on BC’s Corporate Procurement Solutions website(www.pc.gov.bc.ca). Also, a newly posted procurement handbook is available at www.pc.gov.bc.ca/data/docs/PurchasingHandbook.pdf.

Kingston, Ontario’s Excalibur teaches prisoners

In early February 2005, Correctional Service Canada awarded Excalibur Learning Resource Centre of Kingston, Ontario (www.excalibur.ca) a $3.7 million contract to provide educational services to federal inmates at 10 institutions in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Basic adult education, native studies and programs to help offenders earn academic credits and high school diplomas will be offered. The contract will be completed in August 2005 with the option to extend it by up to two additional one-year periods.

Yukon town gets special fire truck

In late February 2005, the Marsh Lake fire department acquired a new, state of the art Crown Villager pumper truck, valued at $225,000 and specially engineered to operate in the Yukon’s winter. The truck, manufactured by Fort Garry Industries of Canada, has an enclosed cab to keep firefighters warm and protected and tire chains that self-deploy when the driver flips a switch. And, thanks to mutual aid agreements, the new pumper is available to assist in the neighbouring jurisdictions of Golden Horn, Mount Lorne, Ibex Valley, Hootalinqua and the City of Whitehorse.

Saint John’s Harbour Passage project enters phase III

The third design phase of Saint John, New Brunswick’s Harbour Passage project is slated to proceed. The Harbour Passage is an interconnected system of walking and biking trails, lookouts, and heritage sites including the world-famous Reversing Falls – a unique phenomenon caused by the very strong tides in the Bay of Fundy.

Total costs for Phase III will be shared between the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) business development program (BDP), and the Saint John Development Corporation – both investing $148,100. The Harbour Passage Project is the result of the Saint John Waterfront Development Partnership, formed in 2001, which includes the City of Saint John, Saint John Development Corporation, Saint John Port Authority, Uptown Saint John, Saint John Board of Trade and Enterprise Saint John. Phase III will include: the development of an engineering plan; the preparation of environmental permits and tender documents; soil tests and land surveys; additional concept designs for Harbour Passage and Partridge Island, and the final design of the Fundy Skateboard Park.

Newfoundland and Labrador capital works program

In late February, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed $85 million under the 2005-08 Multi-Year Capital Works Program – a 50/50 cost-sharing program between provincial and larger municipal governments. The following are some of the communities and projects to be funded over the three-year agreement:

  • Happy Valley, Goose Bay - $2 million towards roads, water and sewer and some equipment.
  • Wabush - $2.3 million for roadwork, with some funding targeted for some water and sewer work.
  • Gander - approximately $3.6 million towards roads, water, sewer and a new fire pumper truck.
  • Grand Falls-Windsor - $4.4 million for improvements to several key areas, everything from street construction to water and sewer improvements to a new fire rescue truck to community infrastructure.

Kamloops relies on membrane filters for clean water

After more than 10 years of work clean, safe filtered drinking water is being supplied to households and businesses in Kamloops, BC from its new $48.5 million Kamloops Centre for Water Quality facility. The centre opened officially on February 24, 2005 and is the largest membrane-filtration plant in North America.

Kamloops’ water source is the South Thompson River, which often contains high levels of sediment, particularly in spring. This resulted in residents receiving boil water advisories during spring run-off. In the late 1990’s BC’s Interior Health Authority ordered Kamloops to improve its drinking water. To comply, Kamloops had to install treatment works before December 31, 2004. Membrane filtration was selected as the treatment method following a comprehensive technical review. Membrane technology is designed to remove 99 percent of the contaminants from water treated at the facility, which is substantially greater than conventional sand-filtration methods.

In September 2002, Zenon Environmental Inc won a $20 million contract to install its proprietary ZeeWeed membranes. During processing, only about one percent of the water is rejected and sent to a centrifuge to have the solids separated from the wastewater before being used to irrigate surrounding property.

The facility was funded by Kamloops along with $23.3 million from the Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program. Borrowing costs were reduced by a $16.7 million low-interest loan from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Investment Fund.

In addition, Kamloops, Thompson Rivers University and Zenon partnered to create the Centre for Safe Water Excellence to provide on-site training and education for municipal water treatment plant operators and for other Zenon operations. The new Water Treatment Technology Diploma program diploma will be available for delivery in a distance education format.

PEI agreement delivers better training to public servants

On February 8, 2005, a groundbreaking agreement was signed to bring accessible, affordable and relevant learning to public servants in Prince Edward Island. The agreement is in effect until March 31, 2007. According to the press release the objectives are “to provide affordable and relevant training, development and learning opportunities to support a high-performing, professional public service; to utilize the training capacity of local learning institutions/organizations; and to increase access and participation of public servants to core and common learning offerings.”

The partners in the agreement – the Canada School of the Public Service (CSPS); the PEI Federal Council; Veterans Affairs Canada; Holland College; the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI); and the PEI Public Service Commission – will identify regional learning needs of both federal and provincial public servants, determine the course content and identify trainers and subject matter experts.

Halifax reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) has taken an aggressive integrated approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation through the Climate SMART (Sustainable Mitigation Adaptation Risk Toolkit) program, which involves all three levels of government and the private sector. Adaptation includes vulnerability and risk assessments, as well as a climate change risk management plan, and mitigation relates directly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and the Kyoto Accord. Some examples of its GHG emission reduction initiatives include:

  • bio-fuels (diesel/fish oil mixture) in transit buses,
  • community-based reduced idling program,
  • energy performance contracts for HRM buildings,
  • commuter trip reduction program,
  • alternate transportation,
  • bus rapid transit (BRT) system,
  • community energy concepts, and
  • establishment of a sustainable community (green) reserve.

Manitoba takes action for clean energy

In February Manitoba announced an action plan to meet its clean energy commitments and capture new opportunities associated with the Kyoto Accord. The following initiatives are intended to improve energy efficiency and help communities and individuals reduce greenhouse gases:

  • proceed with strategies to increase use of clean energy alternatives such as new hydroelectric power generation, wind, biodiesel and ethanol;
  • double the targets for energy efficiency;
  • move forward on initiatives resulting from the memorandum of understanding between Manitoba and the federal government on key climate change priorities including renewable energy development, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions, carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry, public education and awareness, research and development;
  • act as a partner with the federal government on the One-Tonne Challenge to create the Climate Change Community Challenge, supporting local activities to reduce greenhouse gases;
  • double the number of geothermal installations in the next two years. Manitoba currently trains 54 percent of Canada’s installers;
  • help support the development of an advanced-technology, hybrid fuel cell bus prototype;
  • expand the number of green buildings in Manitoba; and
  • increase the number of alternative fuel vehicles in the government fleet.

Alberta municipalities helped to improve energy efficiency

Eleven Alberta municipalities will receive a total of $10.4 million in interest-free loans to help them achieve energy savings in their operations. The loans represent 13 projects submitted under ME first!, the municipal energy efficiency assistance program launched by ‘Alberta in September 2003. Projects such as arena upgrades and retrofits to traffic signals, recreation centres, and facilities such as fire halls will allow them to save about $2 million a year in energy costs.

By the time the ME first! program is completed in 2006, up to $100 million in interest-free loans will have been provided to municipalities. The project review committee includes representatives from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, Climate Change Central, Alberta Municipal Affairs, Alberta Environment, and the Alberta Capital Finance Authority. Loans are provided through the Alberta Capital Finance Authority. Deadline for the next round of applications is June 1, 2005.

Vancouver 2010 procurement strategy

According to their website, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is “committed to effective management that ensures fairness, transparency and fiscal prudence when conducting its procurement activities.” The committee’s primary goal is “to maximize the value of goods and services received for the money spent, while ensuring that schedule deadlines are met.” Integrating sustainability principles of environmental stewardship, economic opportunity and social responsibility into the procurement process is also a significant element of their strategy. To achieve these goals, VANOC published on its website (www.vancouver2010.com/EN/GettingInvolved/JobsContractOpportunities/default.htm) the following list of core practices to guide those acquiring goods and services:

  • Competitive and open process will be used where commercially reasonable. Public tenders will be employed for larger acquisitions.
  • Prospective suppliers and contractors will be treated fairly throughout the tendering or procurement cycle.
  • VANOC, its employees, consultants and agents will conduct themselves to high standards of business conduct and will scrupulously avoid conflicts of interest.
  • The VANOC procurement processes are complemented by sustainability objectives that include ethical sourcing, environmental protection, inclusivity and striving to leverage opportunities that contribute to athlete and sport development and lasting sport legacies for Canadians.
  • VANOC will meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements governing the procurement process.
  • VANOC will ensure that products and services delivered through the supply chain are manufactured and distributed ethically and with regard for international standards on human and labour rights.
  • Prospective suppliers and contractors will not be permitted to engage in any form of lobbying to influence the outcome of a competitive procurement process. In addition, no person representing or affiliated with a prospective supplier or contractor will communicate, with respect to the competitive procurement process, with any director, officer or employee of VANOC or any partners or stakeholders, except the designated contact person.
  • Submissions and offers will not be evaluated from, and contracts (including direct awards) will not be awarded to, suppliers and contractors whose current or past business or other interests or involvement with VANOC give rise to, or could in VANOC’s opinion reasonably be perceived to give rise to, a conflict of interest.
  • One on one communications with prospective suppliers will be carefully managed throughout the procurement cycle, from planning, solicitation or tender development to active procurement and contracting, to ensure fairness.
  • Where a recurring demand is expected for particular types of goods or services, standing supply channel(s) may be established on the basis of best value through the prequalification of potential suppliers.

Accenture releases study on ‘shared-services’

Driving High Performance in Government: Maximizing the Value of Public Sector Shared Services, a study released by Accenture (www.accenture.ca) in February 2005, found that among those interviewed (143 senior executives at all levels of governments across 13 countries including Canada) 85 percent believe that ‘shared services’ are important to achieving their organizations’ strategic goals. The respondents identified several objectives for shared services including helping to meet efficiency targets, facilitating cost reductions, and addressing citizen demands for improved services, as well as benefits resulting from standardized processing environments and improved systems leading to improvements in service quality and speed.

Accenture defines shared services as “the consolidation of administrative or support functions (such as human resources, finance, information technology and procurement) from several departments or agencies into a single, stand-alone entity to provide services as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

A majority (66 percent) of those interviewed also reported having implemented, or being in the process of implementing, shared services, the most common being those related to information technology, finance and human resources.

According to the press release other key findings include:

  • Most governments in-source their shared services centres, although many rely on outside expertise during planning.
  • Governments face challenges such as a lack of the necessary managerial skills to tackle a transformational change program or a lack of clear leadership support or top-level commitment to change.
  • The full potential of shared services strategies has not yet been realized because approximately two-thirds of governments have started to implement some components of a shared services operating model, but few have implemented them all.

Accenture also conducted more extensive interviews with government executives it considers to be “innovators,” including those at the Ontario Shared Services Bureau and the Government of Alberta, among others. Broadly speaking, vision, good planning, good governance, and performance measurement are key to success; more specifically the interviewees identified the following:

  • Define a clear vision, business strategy and operating model;
  • Build a strong, detailed business case based on measurable returns;
  • Conduct a detail-driven approach to planning;
  • Identify full budgetary requirements at the outset;
  • Create the shared services organization as a stand-alone entity;
  • Create a strong governance structure that includes user departments and service-level agreements;
  • Manage workforce issues closely;
  • Ensure that the right enablement capabilities are in place;
  • Transform the internal culture; and
  • Measure performance.

Ontario THINKs about health care

In February 2005, IBM, Eclipsys, Cognos, Courtyard, Sybase, Agfa, EMC2, and IMS joined Trillium Health Centre of Toronto in an alliance called Transforming Health Care into Integrated Networks of Knowledge (THINK). Alliance members will apply their expertise and technology to transform the delivery of health care in Ontario, orienting it more to patient needs, and they have seven years and $100-million to do it. Key to success will be integrating various healthcare data into one record unique to each patient, which can then be distributed (with the patient’s approval) to members of the patient’s health care team, whether in their offices or on a mobile device. Immediate access to complete and accurate health data can be critical to ensuring the patient receives the correct and best care, as quickly as possible. THINK should reduce wait times, allow more prompt diagnoses and treatment and reduce paperwork for health care workers.

Broadcaster CPAC beefs up website capacity on demand

In mid February, Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien were scheduled to testify before the Gomery Commission. CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel), which is Canada’s political television channel called on Magma Communications, its long-time Internet service provider, to help them meet an anticipated surge in demand by viewers who wanted to see the inquiry proceedings via the Web. CPAC’s live video feed of the Gomery inquiry is received at Magma’s data centre in Ottawa, which then distributes streaming video to the public through the CPAC website. Magma increased the capacity of CPAC.ca, doubling their hosting and firewall structure. According to PR person, Shane Matte, “Magma is the only Ottawa-based Internet company with the technology infrastructure to meet CPAC’s needs and turnaround requirements during the inquiry.”


Submissions are welcome

Email: summitup@summitconnects.com 

Snail-mail: 

Summit Magazine
800-180 Elgin St
Ottawa ON K2P 2K3

Fax: (613) 688-0767


.

  About Summit MagazinePrivacy PolicyContact UsThe Summit Group