New measures to strengthen management and oversight of government procurement


March 20, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) provides leadership and oversight for spending, people management and digital government, among other key responsibilities.

Recent reports regarding government contracting as well as the actions of some individuals, are very concerning. As the Auditor General has confirmed, there are rules in place to ensure sound procurement and management practices across government, but many were not followed.

That is why TBS is taking a series of actions to enhance its oversight of departmental practices and processes and support effective management across government.

First, in the coming months, TBS will introduce a new Risk and Compliance Process which will assess government-wide trends, risks and individual departmental performance in key management areas and take immediate corrective actions where necessary. Using this process, TBS will more actively oversee government-wide management practices and outcomes.

This process will be informed by a number of key inputs, including a horizontal audit that the Comptroller General will undertake beginning in April 2024 across a number of large departments to assess governance, decision-making, and controls associated with professional services contracts, including IT. Audit results, expected by December 2024, will inform any additional measures that are necessary.

Second, TBS released an update to the Manager’s Guide: Key Considerations when procuring professional service. These updates include additional guidance to help managers in making decisions that demonstrate a prudent use of tax dollars. Updates include reinforcing managers’ responsibilities to:

  • examine existing human resources and staffing strategies prior to deciding to procure professional services;
  • provide a clear Statement of Work and fair evaluation criteria by which a supplier is selected;
  • exercise due diligence to maintain the integrity of a procurement; ensuring that there is no conflict of interest; and
  • monitor and document the delivery of services and ensure that obligations under the contract are met, including by subcontractors, prior to issuing payment.

Third, within the next two months, TBS will bring forward measures to strengthen the accountability of managers when procuring professional services by embedding certain elements of the Guide within mandatory procedures that fall under the Directive on the Management of Procurement. This includes reinforcing that managers have exercised diligence in validating that contracting for professional services is the optimal approach to delivering on operational requirements and that they have exercised their accountabilities for structuring and managing the contract in a manner that is consistent with the core principles of fair, open and transparent procurement.

Fourth, recognizing that transparency is an important element of maintaining trust, we will publish additional information about contracts on the Open Data portal and ensure that it is presented clearly, accurately, and in a more user-friendly way.

Fifth, to ensure that public servants maintain the trust of Canadians, the government has a framework of rules designed to safeguard the values and ethics of the public service. The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) will review the Directive on Conflict of Interest to ensure that the requirements are clear and effective, particularly as they relate to employees who engage in outside employment, including contracts with the Government of Canada.

The CHRO will also review guidance provided to Deputy Heads to support the effective exercise of their authorities and responsibilities under this Directive, the adequacy of mandatory training for employees and managers, and what additional TBS oversight of the Directive may be required. Additional oversight could include strengthening the consequences of non-compliance with the Directive.

These measures are in addition to the steps we have taken over the past year to strengthen the management of procurement by departments. This includes:

Canadians deserve to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, and that they are being spent with care. Over the coming months, TBS will take these additional steps to support, monitor, and drive effective operations management across government. 

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