Saskatchewan gives local priority to procurement
September 21, 2015 by STAFF REPORT
Saskatchewan Crown corporations are taking advantage of exemptions in the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) to improve procurement opportunities for businesses in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, the provinces under the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA).
Some Crown corporations are exempt from AIT provisions that otherwise require procurements to be open to businesses in all Canadian provinces and territories.
The exempt Crowns include:
- SaskEnergy Incorporated
- Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation
- Saskatchewan Government Insurance
- Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation
- Saskatchewan Power Corporation
- Saskatchewan Telecommunications
- Saskatchewan Transportation Company
These seven Crowns, which continue to be subject to the NWPTA, will primarily source from NWPTA provinces and from the rest of Canada and globally as warranted.
This new approach fulfills a commitment made in the Priority Saskatchewan Procurement Transformation Action Plan, which was announced in March 2015.
“We are committed to ensuring our Crown corporations comply with trade agreements and recognize there is room within those agreements for Crowns to source regional solutions,” SaskBuilds Minister Gordon Wyant said. “Our government is very pleased to be moving forward with implementing the Procurement Transformation action plan and continuing to identify opportunities to improve procurement practices that create a level playing field for Saskatchewan businesses.”
“This is an important step forward,” Saskatchewan Construction Association President Mark Cooper said. “The Saskatchewan Construction Association applauds the provincial leadership in tackling procurement transformation to ensure Saskatchewan businesses are treated fairly.”
“Our members strongly support the provincial government’s commitment to improve procurement and see this fix as an important step that will help ensure Saskatchewan businesses are treated fairly,” North Saskatoon Business Association Executive Director Keith Moen said. “The province continues to demonstrate its willingness to listen and its commitment to addressing challenges facing Saskatchewan businesses.”
“Public procurement is an important tool to drive innovation, stimulate investment, and create jobs,” Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Vice President and Saskatchewan Manufacturing Council Executive Director Derek Lothian said. “This action by the provincial government promotes the principles of best value to both Saskatchewan businesses and taxpayers alike, while respecting the trade obligations that continue to strengthen Saskatchewan’s economy.”
Priority Saskatchewan was established in June 2014 to identify opportunities to level the procurement playing field for Saskatchewan businesses. As part of this mandate, Priority Saskatchewan researched international best practices and led a review of government and Crown sector procurement practices. The team also led a comprehensive consultation with industry and the broader public sector to develop the action plan. The 13-point action plan is based on industry and stakeholder feedback.
Priority Saskatchewan is consulting with industry and stakeholders on the balance of the action plan’s initiatives. Implementation of the action plan is a priority for government and is expected to be largely complete in 2016.