Small firms need agency to land contracts: report
Federal policies squeeze companies out of deals, stifle growth, firms say
July 9, 2009

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The web of bureaucracy surrounding bids on government work is so complex that small Canadian businesses need a special independent agency to help them navigate it, says a new parliamentary report.

"We need someone who thinks for the SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises), a standalone agency that won't be captive to the public administration, will take chances, be bold and promote SMEs like a big lobbying firm and then we'd measure its success and achievements" said Liberal MP Derek Lee, who chairs the Commons government-operations committee, which recently released its study on small-business problems in landing federal contracts.

A proposed small-business agency is in a package of recommendations aimed at several key goals: improving the bidding process so SMEs know about and get access to federal contracts; "unbundling" big contracts into smaller ones so SMEs can bid; ensuring small firms get "fair" access to contracts and picking suppliers for "innovation and quality" and not just lowest price.

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