Procurement Ombudsman continues to help Canadian businesses and federal departments resolve contracting issues

For Immediate Release

OTTAWA, October 3rd, 2014 – Federal Procurement Ombudsman Frank Brunetta has released his 2013-14 Annual Report, which summarizes his office's activities over the past year and identifies key issues in federal procurement. This Annual Report was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, the Honourable Diane Finley.

In his Annual Report message, the Ombudsman highlights two new procurement issues brought to his attention by suppliers: the requirement for suppliers to carry liability insurance as a contract condition whether or not there is an established need; and the perception of many suppliers, particularly those outside of the National Capital Region, of feeling "squeezed out" by the escalating number of national solicitations requiring country-wide delivery capability.

On the first issue, the Ombudsman stated that: "the policy guidance acknowledges that excessive requests for liability protection may increase the expected cost to the contractor and may lead contractors to increase prices or refrain from dealing with the Crown."  With regard to requirements for country-wide delivery capacity, Mr. Brunetta added: "While this may make good economic sense in a period of fiscal austerity, smaller firms, many who have for years supplied goods or services in communities across Canada, are feeling increasingly disadvantaged".

The Annual Report also noted the Procurement Ombudsman's focus on raising awareness of the Office's services amongst Canadian businesses, many of whom were unaware of how OPO can help resolve federal contract disputes.  These efforts included traditional activities such as town hall meetings combined with web and social media engagement. The Office addressed more than 500 contacts from clients and stakeholders in 2013-14, a 36% increase over the previous year.

Created in 2008 pursuant to the Federal Accountability Act, the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) is an independent organization with a government-wide mandate to promote fairness, openness and transparency in federal procurement.

This report can be found on OPO's Website.

Media enquiries:
Office of the Procurement Ombudsman
Telephone: 613-947-9755
media@opo-boa.gc.ca
Follow OPO on Twitter @OPO_Canada