News Release Article from  Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Archived - Procurement of Goods and Services Government's contracting rules are good but many are not followed

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Iqaluit, 28 February 2010 — The Government’s contracting rules are sound, but in many cases they are not being followed, says the Auditor General of Canada, Michael Ferguson, in his report presented to the Nunavut Legislative Assembly today. The audit looked at the awarding of contracts and their subsequent administration by Community and Government Services (CGS), the Nunavut Housing Corporation, and Qulliq Energy Corporation, which together spent a total of about $207 million on contracts in 2010-11.

“The Government’s rules provide for an open, fair, and transparent contracting process,” said Mr. Ferguson. “However, the public can have confidence in the system only if the government complies with its own rules.”

The audit found that Community and Government Services (CGS) followed the rules in awarding competitive contracts. Nunavut Housing Corporation was missing key documentation to support half of its competitive contract awards. Qulliq Energy Corporation followed the rules in its competitive contracts for capital projects but not for other goods and services; it also had significant, pervasive weaknesses in contract administration. In awarding sole source contracts, CGS followed the rules in about half the cases examined, while the two territorial corporations between them followed the rules in only one of 24 cases.

The audit also looked at the 2008 and 2011 contracts with airlines to provide regular flights for Nunavut residents who need non-emergency medical treatment. It found that CGS awarded the contracts according to the contracting rules.

“We found some common causes of contracting weaknesses, including lack of formal training, expertise, and capacity for procurement,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Where expertise and capacity exist, departments do better at awarding and administering contracts.”

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