News Release Article from  Government of Canada

Government of Canada Continues to Strengthen Canadians' Confidence in Procurement

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For immediate release

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 15, 2008 - The Honourable Michael M Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and the Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, today announced that the new Office of the Procurement Ombudsman is up and running to help ensure fairness and transparency in federal government procurement.

The Ministers announced the official establishment of the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman – one of the final steps in the implementation of the Federal Accountability Act.

"We listened to Canadian businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and we have delivered on our commitment to strengthen their confidence in public procurement," said Minister Fortier. "The Office will help address their concerns to ensure that the highest standards of ethical conduct are followed."

Operating at arm's length from federal government departments, the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman will:

  • review departmental procurement practices to ensure greater fairness, openness, and transparency in federal procurement and make recommendations;
  • review complaints from Canadian suppliers respecting the award of a contract for acquisition of goods below the value of $25,000 and services below the value of $100,000 and the administration of a contract, regardless of dollar value;
  • ensure the provision of an alternate dispute resolution process at the request of each party to a contract; and
  • perform any other duty or function respecting the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services that may be assigned by order of the Governor in Council or the Minister.

"The new Code of Conduct for Procurement introduced in September and the appointment of a Procurement Ombudsman are key components of the Federal Accountability Act and they deliver on our government's commitment to Canadians to ensure fairness, openness and transparency in the bidding process for government contracts" said Minister Toews.

Today's announcement follows the coming into force of legislation and regulations which establish the function of the Procurement Ombudsman. Mr. Shahid Minto is now officially appointed as the government's first Procurement Ombudsman.

"Since my appointment as Procurement Ombudsman Designate last September, a lot has been accomplished behind the scenes and the Office is now in place and ready to fulfill its mandate," said Mr. Minto. "Our commitment is to help improve the fairness, openness and transparency of government procurement."

This announcement is part of the implementation of the Federal Accountability Act (FedAA). Through the FedAA and its companion Action Plan, the Government has brought forward specific measures to strengthen accountability in government. More information on the FedAA and Action Plan is available at www.accountability.ca.

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For further information, media may contact:

Jacques C. Gagnon
Director of Communications - Office of Minister Fortier
819-997-5421

Public Works and Government Services Canada
Media Relations
819-956-2315

Office of the Procurement Ombudsman
Media Relations 819-956-4067
Information 1-866-734-5169
Internet site: http://www.boa-opo.gc.ca/

PWGSC news releases are also available on our Internet site at: www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/medias-media/index-eng.html.


Backgrounder
Another step to strengthen Canadians' confidence in their Government

The Procurement Ombudsman

The Federal Accountability Act (FedAA) provides for the appointment of a Procurement Ombudsman to review the procurement practices of federal departments and agencies on an ongoing basis, to verify their fairness and transparency, to recommend improvements, and to review complaints from suppliers.

As set out in the Federal Accountability Act, which amended the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, the mandate of the Procurement Ombudsman is to:

  • Review the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services to assess their fairness, openness and transparency and make any appropriate recommendations to the relevant department for the improvement of those practices;
  • Review any complaint respecting the award of a contract for the acquisition of goods below the value of $25,000 and services below the value of $100,000;
  • Review any complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department, regardless of dollar value;
  • Ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is provided, if both parties agree to participate.

The Procurement Ombudsman can also perform any other duty or function respecting the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services that may be assigned to the Procurement Ombudsman by order of the Governor in Council or the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

The Procurement Ombudsman will ensure that his independent work complements the mandates of other forums reviewing federal procurement, such as the Auditor General, or the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

For more information about the Procurement Ombudsman and the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman, please visit our website at: www.opo-boa.gc.ca or call us at 1-866-734-5169.

This announcement is one of the final steps in the implementation of the Federal Accountability Act. Through the Federal Accountability Act and its accompanying Action Plan, the Government has brought forward specific measures to strengthen accountability in government. More information on the Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan is available at www.accountability.gc.ca.


Biographical Backgrounder

The Procurement Ombudsman

Mr. Shahid Minto is a chartered accountant with a master's degree in political science and a professional degree in law.

Shahid Minto is a highly experienced senior financial and program Public Sector executive who has specialized in examining and adding value to Canada's public policy and public administration by making fair and balanced recommendations arising from financial, regulatory and compliance reviews.

He has gained this expertise as a result of extensive experience with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, which he joined in 1977. Mr. Minto was the Assistant Auditor General between 1989 and 2005. He has almost 30 years of experience in providing oversight and strengthening government operations including the management of civilian and military procurement, fixed and real property assets, financial management, privatization of government operations, foreign operations, transportation programs and the operation of Crown Corporations.

Prior to joining the Office of the Auditor General, Mr. Minto was employed in the private sector. He obtained his C.A. Designation while employed at Touche Ross & Co.

Immediately prior to his appointment as Procurement Ombudsman Designate, Mr. Minto was the Chief Risk Officer at Public Works and Government Services Canada from September 2005 to September 2007. He established the first Chief Risk Officer function in the federal government and successfully implemented its mandate to strengthen the fairness, transparency and accountability of the department's operations. This Office is also responsible for the department's Ethics and Fairness Monitoring Programs.

In September 2007, Mr. Minto was appointed as Procurement Ombudsman Designate – he is now officially appointed as the government's first Procurement Ombudsman.

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