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Procurement and Contracting

Canada Border Services Agency

Points to Address

Agency’s Input

1. Role played by procurement and contracting in delivering programs.

Procurement and contracting play an important role in the program and services delivery at the Agency. Specifically, procurement allows the CBSA to obtain highly specialized services and goods in support of its policy and program delivery. Contracting allows the Agency not only to acquire standard goods and services to meet operational requirements, but it also supports the local economies and specialized supplier groups (e.g. Aboriginal suppliers). Through the CBSA’s values of professionalism, integrity and respect, and through adherence to the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, the contracting services at the CBSA ensure that the procurement processes are open, honest, fair and transparent.

2. Overview of the CBSA’s contracting function.

The Agency operates a decentralized procurement function within certain restrictive levels of delegated authorities. Procurement personnel are located at both headquarters and in the regional offices.

This reflects the Agency’s aim to maintain the functional and policy authority at headquarters while ensuring that the immediate operational needs for low-dollar value items are fulfilled as close to the source and area of use as possible so that local needs are considered and met.

The contracting functional authority at headquarters awards all service contracts above $84,000. It also provides advice and guidance to managers and regional procurement staff on policies and procedures, as well as annual procurement training. Training includes values and ethics, green procurement, security issues and government trends in procurement.

A quality assurance group reviews all non-competitive contracts above $25,000 and competitive contracts over $50,000. A Contract Review Committee, composed of members of senior management, and chaired by the Director General of Corporate Administration and Security, meets to review large procurement plans, strategies and policies on a quarterly basis. 

In calendar year 2006, the Agency awarded 3,865 contracts valued at approximately $49.5 million.

3.   Progress and new initiatives that enable effective and efficient procurement practices.

The focus for services at the CBSA in 2006–2007 has been to increase communications and consultations with its major internal clients and stakeholders. A section on the intranet site with Agency contracting and acquisition card policies and processes was a major step.

In addition, the Agency developed a monthly newsletter called INSight, which provides relevant and current information on all material management issues. It also provides information on established procurement instruments such as standing offers and supply arrangements that are useful for many types of services purchased by the Agency, as well as interpretations of central agency directives, i.e. Treasury Board and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

In 2006–2007, the CBSA underwent and successfully passed an audit of contracting services by the Office of the Auditor General (Proper Conduct of Public Business).

The Agency is partnering with other departments that purchase similar services (the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and the RCMP) to pool resources to create standing offers that will be used by each organization.

Key accomplishments:

  • Implemented a contracting awareness training program for managers and administrative personnel on procurement planning and responsibilities.

  • Developed standardized procurement templates for use by headquarters and the regions, including a request for proposal template and a contract template.

  • Developed a contract briefing note. 

  • Actively promoted the use of existing PWGSC standing offers and supply arrangements through e-mails and the newsletter.

  • Initiated an Agency-wide request to consolidate procurement of certain commodities in support of PWGSC’s end-of-year request for volume discount process.

  • Actively engaged in PWGSC’s The Way Forward initiative, attended regular meetings and information sessions, and provided input and reported on commodities and business volumes.

  • Commenced an in-depth review of the whole CBSA acquisition card program from policy changes to tighter monitoring and control of the cards.

  • Increased the annual credit card rebates from $117,565 to $171,619 (a 45.9% increase).