Office of the Procurement Ombudsman's 2022-23 Accessibility Plan
On this page
- Executive summary
- Budget and resource allocation
- Updating the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s Accessibility Plan
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s (OPO) Accessibility Plan shall foster an inclusive environment for all OPO staff as well as all Canadians we serve.
OPO has developed its Accessibility Plan in response to the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) and the Accessible Canada Regulations (regulations) which require federally regulated entities to prepare and publish accessibility plans, progress reports on the implementation of their plans, and descriptions of their feedback processes. The regulations establish the foundational requirements that such entities must meet to fulfill their planning and reporting obligations under the ACA.
OPO is a neutral and independent organization of the Government of Canada that works collaboratively with federal departments and Canadian businesses to promote fairness, openness and transparency in federal procurement. OPO delivers on this mandate by connecting stakeholders, investigating complaints, resolving problems, making recommendations and sharing good practices.
OPO is committed to proactively identifying and preventing barriers for employees and external stakeholders in support of the Government’s priority to create a barrier-free Canada by 2040footnote 1.
Since 2018, OPO has heightened its focus on diversity and inclusion, both as it relates to the internal functioning of the office—through employee interactions, learning activities, hiring practices, and procurement—and external functions such as engagement with government procurement professionals, the supplier community, and non-government organizations providing services to diverse and Indigenous business owners. OPO is fully committed to supporting diversity, inclusion and accessibility both in the workplace and the community.
The Director, Communications and Corporate Management has been designated to receive feedback on OPO’s barriers and Accessibility Plan. Feedback can be shared through the following options:
Office of the Procurement Ombudsman
400-410 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON K1R IB7
- Teletypewriter (Toll-free for hearing-impaired):
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) acknowledges that individuals have different needs and requirements and that tools and resources need to be accessible and agile to enable each user to achieve their full potential. OPO is currently collaborating with various members of an interdepartmental Accessibility team to continually learn, implement and improve on its commitments to ensure that the voice of individuals is heard and that the services provided are meeting their needs.
OPO is committed to building a diverse workforce that is representative of the Canadian population through equitable and accessible employment practices. We strive to achieve an inclusive and open work environment that embraces a variety of perspectives where accessibility is a central pillar to all. These qualities help us make a positive impact in the lives of our diverse stakeholders, in a workplace where everyone’s contributions are valued.
OPO’s culture is one of professionalism, respect and inclusiveness. In support of OPO’s commitment to the identification and removal of barriers, the recommendations outlined below are being shared in accordance with Section 5 of the Accessible Canada Act (ACA):
- The built environment
- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Communication, other than ICT
- The procurement of goods, services and facilities
- The design and delivery of programs and services
OPO seeks talent from a wide range of communities, identities, and backgrounds. Our organization values the experience of diverse groups of women, men, and gender diverse people. Using a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens, we recognize that there are multiple characteristics that intersect and contribute to our social and professional identity. These include race, ethnicity, religion, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, education, veteran status, and more. The interaction between these factors has a positive influence on how employees help us develop, implement, and deliver the services and benefits we provide.
OPO is committed to establishing a workplace culture that is accessible by design to ensure that all employees are fully supported to flourish in their roles.
OPO welcomes members of equity seeking groups to apply and recognizes that the current Employment Equity Act does not fully encompass all equity seeking group members. Our organization encourages self-declaration during hiring processes as well as after joining OPO.
In 2020-21, OPO committed to having women represent 50% of members within the office, and 30% of individuals from underrepresented groups. This includes steps to increase awareness, enhance monitoring and accountability and improve the work environment through human resource practices which take self-declaration of underrepresented groups into account in hiring practices. OPO aims to achieve this goal by 2025, and as of March 31, 2022, 1 year into the 5 year commitment, 26.1% of OPO employees self-identified as being a visible minority, an Indigenous person or a person with a disability, and 73.9% self-identified as female.
OPO is committed to having women represent 50% of members within the office, and individuals from underrepresented groups representing 30% (by 2025).
The built environment
In 2021-22, OPO revamped its onboarding procedures to include information and guidance to support employees and managers with accessibility needs and requirements. These procedures provide employees with information and guidance resources to empower them in identifying their individual requirements in order to perform their work in an accessible and barrier free manner, and provide managers with the tools and guidance required to better support their employees.
Diversity and Inclusion
In the Spring of 2020, OPO created a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee to support the Government of Canada’s goal of creating a space where diversity and inclusion are acknowledged, understood, and practiced.
To support its mandate and using the Call to Action as its guide, OPO’s D&I Committee established goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to track its progress. D&I goals have been included in OPO’s overall strategic plan and in its annual D&I plan. The goals are:
- A diversity and inclusion lens is applied to all OPO’s business with third parties, including government departments, suppliers and the general public
- A more welcoming and inclusive work environment is fostered and maintained, where staff feel included and respected for what they bring in the workplace, and where differences enrich OPO’s workplace culture and maximize the success of its team
- Improved education and raised awareness around the benefits of diversity and inclusion programs in the workplace
Information and communication technologies
OPO provides communication both internally and externally that is clear and concise. Our organization strives to publish plain language information on our website in both official languages without compromising the context and integrity of the information due to the complex nature of the work the office conducts.
OPO is committed to ensuring its communication products are easy to understand and made available in multiple formats where possible to employees, other government departments and the Canadian public so that all users have equal access. OPO takes into consideration the various barriers to accessing information, and provides opportunities for feedback.
OPO is committed to ensure that content posted on its website conforms with the Web Accessibility standards of the Government of Canada.
Hardware and Software
OPO became fully operational in May 2008 with the passing of the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations (2008), which provide specifics on how its authority is to be exercised. OPO receives its Information Technology (IT) services from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) through a Service Agreement. These services include:
- IT Project management support
- Information Management (IM) and IT office solutions and support (which includes ergonomic or adaptive technology, tools or equipment related to functional limitations or restrictions)
- Application or web site development and support
- IT security
- IT connectivity
Since the start of the pandemic, OPO members have transitioned to working remotely. During this period, various software were utilized to support OPO members in their delivery of OPO’s mandate and to continue serving Canadians.
OPO is committed to seeking feedback from staff pertaining to their IT accessibility requirements on an annual basis through an employee survey.
Communication, other than information and communication technologies
Since 2018, OPO has offered both American Sign Language (ASL) and Langues des signes québécoise (LSQ) interpretation at its annual Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit. OPO also ensured ASL and LSQ interpretation is made available at town hall presentations to Canadian businesses.
During one of the town halls hosted by OPO in March 2022, a supplier with accessibility requirements described his frustration about the lack of opportunities for individuals with visual impairments to bid on Government Contracts. This is but one of the many barriers that diverse suppliers are facing when attempting to bid on federal contracts where accessibility is not, or not adequately taken into consideration in the design of procurement processes. Despite awareness on the part of federal organizations, the lengthy process in the implementation of accessible technology is another obstacle that suppliers with accessibility needs are facing. OPO brought this identified barrier to the attention of Departmental officials responsible for ensuring accessibility in procurement.
OPO is committed to bringing accessibility issues/barriers brought to its attention by suppliers and federal officials to the responsible Departmental officials for action.
OPO is committed to providing ASL and LSQ interpretation at all of its town halls as well as at its annual Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit.
The procurement of goods, services and facilities
Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s departmental questionnaire on initiatives to diversify federal procurement
In 2020-21, OPO sent a questionnaire to 83 departments with the purpose of learning about their current diversity initiatives in federal procurement. We received 74 responses where 39 departments noted that they had diversity initiatives in procurement. Those with a diversity initiative in place reported having often more than one (average 2 programs per department) and when asked on the types of underrepresented groups addressed by the initiatives—over 95% noted initiatives targeting indigenous persons (38 departments), followed by initiatives targeting persons with disabilities (10 departments); and 8 departments reported diversity initiatives in procurement targeting women.
This information was reported on in the Procurement Ombudsman’s 2020-2021 Annual Report and shared with diverse suppliers seeking information on current programs and initiatives targeting underrepresented groups in the hopes that they will be able to bid on federal procurement contracts.
In 2021-22, OPO’s internal Procurement Guide was updated to ensure that the following criteria are key considerations for internal procurement:
- Social Procurement
- Evaluators conflict of interest
OPO is committed to ensuring accessibility requirements are considered in internal procurement practices to ensure that all goods and services procured by the office are accessible.
The design and delivery of programs and services
Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit
OPO’s annual Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit is geared toward underrepresented suppliers—Indigenous Peoples, 2SLGBTQI+, racialized people, persons with disabilities, and other minority groups. It seeks to share the tools and programs that are available to support an understanding of the federal procurement process and help suppliers within these groups access federal contracting opportunities. This Summit also aims to connect underrepresented Canadian business owners with representatives from the Government of Canada, supplier councils and other organizations that can help them win federal contracts.
OPO is committed to ensuring that all in-person Summits meet accessibility requirements. Some accessibility requirements that OPO implemented at its last in-person Summit included:
- Using different colours for the carpet/floor than that of the chairs
- Requesting renovations to be completed prior to the Summit taking place at a conference hall in Toronto to ensure that the bathrooms become accessible (requested to have the doors widened to ensure wheelchair accessibility)
- Ensuring ASL and LSQ interpretation was made available
- Providing an accessible quiet room
Knowledge Deepening and Sharing
In 2018, OPO launched its Knowledge Deepening and Sharing (KDS) initiative to share information on procurement issues of interest to its Canadian businesses and federal organizations.
In 2019-2020, OPO completed its first study of Social Procurement, which is the practice of using procurement to achieve strategic social, economic, and workforce development objectives.
The follow-up study: Social Procurement and set-aside programs, explored the programs dedicated to increase procurement opportunities for underrepresented suppliers. The report explored the structures and implementation of the set-aside programs, both within Canada at the federal level with the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business (PSIB), and internationally in Australia, the European Union and the United States. This study examined both the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to set-aside programs.
OPO is committed to sharing information obtained through its KDS initiative with suppliers and federal officials across the country at town halls, conferences, departmental meetings as well as on our website.
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman is located at 410 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 400 in Ottawa, ON. Our office is accessible and was refitted in January of 2019 and complies with current accessibility standards. Access to our office can be obtained through public or private transportation. Parking is available on Laurier street with an accessible entrance to the building as well as to our suite.
OPO is committed to seeking feedback from staff pertaining to their physical accessibility requirements on an annual basis through an employee survey.
In 2021-22, OPO consulted with members of the Persons with Disabilities Network from PSPC as well as interdepartmental members of the Accessibility team (specifically with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)) through virtual meetings to discuss the Accessibility Plan.
In addition, discussions were held with members of the Public Service Accessibility team pertaining to the adoption of the Accessibility Passport which helps address obstacles federal public service employees and applicants with disabilities face in obtaining the tools, supports and measures to perform at their best and succeed in the workplace.
OPO is committed to incorporating the GC Workplace Accessibility Passport in its job posters as well as its onboarding process within the next 2 years.
OPO also ensured representation in the Passport Adopter Community where implementation methodology of the Accessibility Passport are discussed and shared.
OPO is committed to meeting with the interdepartmental Accessibility team on an annual basis on the adoption of the Accessibility Passport.
Underrepresented groups are defined as Indigenous Peoples, 2SLGBTQI+, racialized people, persons with disabilities, and other minority groups.
Budget and resource allocation
In 2021-2022, OPO invested $10,080 for ASL/LSQ interpretation for the Summit. OPO expects to pay similar amounts in future years.
OPO team members are encouraged to take training opportunities that enable them to expand on their knowledge and continue to develop their skills. Senior management reviews all OPO employees Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) on a yearly basis and continuously identify relevant topics where the organization would benefit from group training or attendance at events such as:
- Organizing all-staff learning opportunities on diversity and inclusion topics such as unconscious bias and reconciliation
- Organizing a presentation by the Department for Women and Gender (WAGE) in April 2021 with a focus on GBA+ in procurement. We learned about the Standing Offer for GBA+ Plus Consultancy Services, a pilot on which WAGE is partnering with Public Services and Procurement Canada with the purpose of developing a Standing Offer on GBA+ Plus Consultancy Services
- Supporting internal learning, employees are required to include diversity and inclusion courses to their personal learning plans
- Organizing an accessibility awareness session where the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre in 2021 covered:
- What it means to consider accessibility in procurement
- The roles of contracting authorities and technical authorities
- Step by step how to incorporate accessibility into each step of the procurement process
- Organizing a training session on Unconscious Bias in 2022 by PSPC
- Ensuring OPO representation for the pilot course "A GBA+ Plus approach to equitable procurement" to advance diversity and inclusion, accessibility, gender equality and create an equitable procurement environment in Canada
- Ensuring OPO attendance at the Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion (CCDI) hosted by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
- Attending various webinars hosted by the Canada School of Public Service on diversity and inclusion
Updating Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s Accessibility Plan
As part of its commitment to proactively identify and prevent barriers in accessibility, OPO will:
- Release its Accessibility Plan by December 31, 2022 in accordance with the Accessible Canada Regulations
- Publish a progress report detailing how OPO is putting the Accessibility Plan into action by December 31, 2023
- Publish a subsequent progress report by December 31, 2024
- Publish a new Accessibility Plan by December 31, 2025
- Date modified: