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Table 14: Procurement and Contracting

Department/Agency: Transport Canada

Points to address:

Organization's Input:

1. Role played by procurement and contracting in delivering programs

The department uses procurement and contracting to obtain expertise in support of existing ongoing programs in areas such as informatics, auditing and language training. In addition, the department contracts for the specialized services of experts to undertake a variety of ad hoc studies and projects. This expertise is not available in-house and includes the services of consultants in the fields of finance, policy, environmental issues, science and technology, and so on. Services obtained under contract are often instrumental in ensuring that the department meets its operational requirements.

2. Overview of how the Department manages its contracting function.

The department operates in a decentralized environment with designated departmental procurement specialists in Headquarters (HQ), and the Regions who have full contracting authority. Low dollar value procurement authority has been delegated to Responsibility Centre Managers throughout the department so that they can meet most of their acquisition needs quickly and with minimal administrative burden. A few organizations in HQ also have specific limited contracting authority for specialized requirements such as the purchase of aircraft parts, vehicles and parts for testing purposes, informatics professional services and management consulting services. In addition, Transport Canada uses the services of PWGSC to procure goods exceeding $5,000 that are not available under a standing offer, and certain types of services (e.g., audio-visual production).

Most Responsibility Centre Managers have use of a departmental acquisition card for purchases up to $5,000.

Contracts are created using the department's automated contracting system, which is based on Oracle software.

Transport Canada uses MERX, the federal government's electronic tendering system to advertise most procurement opportunities exceeding $25,000.

A Contract Review Committee has been established in Headquarters and in each Region to review and challenge certain types of contracting situations such as proposed sole source contracts exceeding $25,000, unauthorized contracting actions, and some amendments. The regional Contract Review Committees are limited to reviewing contracts that do not exceed $10,000. The HQ Committee must review all the rest.

3. Progress and new initiatives enabling effective and efficient procurement practices.

Materiel and Contracting Services, part of the Administrative Services Branch, has developed a number of instruments to assist managers with their contracting requirements. These include a Guide to Procurement and Materiel Management that takes the managers through the entire contracting process from the planning stage to contract management, and Materiel and Contracting Services Bulletins on specific contracting issues. These are posted on the branch's Intranet website. In addition, the department has developed a number of training courses for managers on contracting in Transport Canada, developing terms of reference, managing contracts and evaluating bids.

New Course : Contracting for Services

Materiel and Contracting Services has also developed a new Procedures Manual for contracting specialists in headquarters. The manual is available to contracting specialists in the regions who may wish to adapt it to reflect their own processes.

Transport Canada has exceeded its targets for contracting with Aboriginal suppliers pursuant to the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business for the past few years.