Saskatchewan Government Releases Action Plan for Public Sector Procurement

This post was written prior to our January 2017 merger, under our previous firm name, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP. 

Author: Braden Marianchuk

In June, 2014, the Government of Saskatchewan created Priority Saskatchewan, a division of SaskBuilds, in order to review and improve government and Crown corporation procurement practices in Saskatchewan. Since then, Priority Saskatchewan has consulted with a number of Saskatchewan businesses and government bodies. On March 27, 2015, the provincial government released a Procurement Action Plan with the stated aim of increasing fairness and consistency for Saskatchewan businesses.

The Procurement Action Plan contains a list of 13 actions intended to improve government and Crown sector procurement. Some of the notable items from this list are:

  • Developing a Procurement Code of Conduct containing a statement of the government’s procurement practices;
  • Implementing best-value as the consistent selection method for government procurement;
  • Using two-stage procurement processes with shortlists for large ($20M or more) and complex procurements;
  • Creating common procurement templates to be used across government ministries, Crown corporations, and other government bodies;
  • Having “corporate citizenship” as a consideration when evaluating vendors;
  • Developing a conflict of interest policy regarding former government employees involved with vendors that bid on government contracts.

The complete list of the 13 actions comprising the Plan can be found here.

At this point, the Plan consists solely of the 13-item list, and there is no further information about how each action will be addressed, or timelines by which each action will be implemented. Given the number and diversity of governmental organizations subject to this Plan, it may be a long time before certain actions (such as creating standard government procurement templates that comply with the Plan) may be realistically completed.

Given that the Plan is focused on improving outcomes for Saskatchewan businesses, it will also be interesting to see how the overall transformation in Saskatchewan government procurement practices addresses Saskatchewan’s obligations under trade agreements with other provinces, including both the Agreement on Internal Trade and the New West Partnership Agreement.