Innovation Lobby Group calls for review of Government of Canada Approaches to Procurement Spending: Real Change or No Change?
January 8, 2016

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GoC can become the Wal-Mart of the public sector or it can create prosperity by letting others create wealth – both economic as well as social.”  (CATAAlliance)   



Ottawa, On...CATAAlliance (www.cata.ca) a recognized champion of Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship has tabled a Discussion Paper on “Government of Canada Procurement Spending: Real Change or No Change” as part of helping to advance Canada’s innovation and competitiveness ranking to number one from middle of the pack.


The Discussion Paper is part of a seven-point working agenda CATA has created for the new government’s consideration.


Viewers can download the Discussion Paper and offer comments at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KNs7r3w8WUH3KJz_1SC32u62nl3DjsedNKtewZW4uFE/edit?usp=sharing


Ideas and guidance were crowdsourced from the CATA Social Media Group comprising 11,350 opt in members across the nation and in key global markets.


According to CATA Leadership Council member and National Commentator, Alex Beraskow," While much is being said and made of spending by the Government of Canada (GoC) on professional services and the like, the fundamental question remains: what is the business of GoC and does GoC have the right procurement – often called sourcing – strategy?  Given an annual expenditure of about $3 billion on professional services – about 10% of the overall operating budget – this expenditure deserves further scrutiny.”


Beraskow added, ” GoC is not asking the tough question – “do we make/build ourselves or do we buy”?  The easy answer is always to make/build; the empire builders thrive.  That unfortunately drives up the overall cost as well as making that cost a fixed one rather than a variable one. GoC should not compete with the private sector. And with 40 thousand professionals delivering IT projects and services, we should also ask and report on how many are over budget, behind schedule or not delivering to requirements." Mr. Beraskow speaks to these issues and shares perspectives on advancing Canada’s competitive innovation nation in a recent TechNOW interview with CATAAlliance: https://vimeo.com/channels/advocacyleadership/144381328


Four Considerations for Real Change


As the new Liberal government develops and implements real change policies and approaches and creates budgets, it should focus on four GoC considerations:


  1. What are the critical competencies that GoC should develop?  Build those and buy everything else. That should be enshrined in GoC policy.

  2. Create an environment where private sector can thrive, create a “home turf’ where the private sector can build up their skills. Hospitals have interns so that graduate doctors can practise and learn their “craft”.  Many professional need that same sort of environment.  

  3. GoC should stop insisting on buying services that are lowest cost compliant. It should stop becoming the Wal-Mart of the public sector. If Canada is ever to develop a knowledge economy it needs to emphasise value creation and investment by our professionals.

  4. Create the fiscal environment which encourage firms to grow their innovations to the full advantage of the Canadian economy.


CATA CEO, John Reid added, “Despite good intentions, the GOC procurement model has not modernized to keep up with industry changes and standards. It is not fully aligned with the digital era; there is insufficient focus on outcomes combined with lengthy procurement cycles causing a  lag in technology acquisition. Think of a marketplace like the App Store where only the highest rated apps succeed. That model naturally corrects itself.”


Reid and Beraskow concluded “GoC has a choice to make in developing a “sourcing” strategy: buy or make/build, as well as selection criteria.  More often than not, the selection criteria is based on lowest cost compliance.  GoC can become the Wal-Mart of the public sector or it can create prosperity by letting others create wealth – both economic as well as social.”


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The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) is Canada's One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group, crowdsourcing ideas and guidance from more than 24 thousand opt in members in moderated social networks in Canada and key global markets. (No Tech Firm Left Behind)