Reciprocal but not optimal

CCPA comments on the government's reciprocal procurement proposals
June 3, 2022

This spring, Global Affairs Canada sought advice on the development of a reciprocal procurement policy that would “reduce access to Canadian federal procurement opportunities for foreign suppliers, goods, and services from countries that do not provide a comparable level of access to Canadian suppliers.” The department frames the policy as a means of ensuring fairness and mutual benefit in Canada’s international trade relationships. 

The CCPA is generally supportive of the idea of reciprocal procurement. However, in our submission to Global Affairs Canada, we question both the practicality and cost-benefit of some of the proposals. Fundamentally, government procurement policy—at the federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal levels—should strive first to maximize public benefits, not penalize Canada’s trading partners. 

The CCPA recommends that a reciprocal procurement policy should be tied to a broader procurement reform agenda, with a focus on the following five elements: 

  • Preferences for domestic goods and services in federal procurement where allowable under Canada’s trade obligations and where there are clear benefits for workers, the public, the environment, and government.  
  • “Buy Canadian” conditions on federal transfers to provincial, territorial, and municipal governments for major projects, again where these are still permitted under Canada’s extensive procurement-related trade commitments.
  • Sustainability criteria on direct federal procurement of, and federal transfers for, goods and services used in large infrastructure projects such as highways, urban transit, hospitals, universities, and public water and waste-water systems.
  • Set-asides (e.g., as a fixed target of total contracts in a year or as a proportion of the value of annual public spending) for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), women-owned businesses, Indigenous-owned businesses, community-based not-for-profits, and businesses owned by racialized or so-called marginalized groups. 
  • Modifications to Canada’s procurement commitments in the Canada­–EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as allowed for in Article 19.18 of the agreement.

 The CCPA's full submission can be downloaded at the link below.

Attached Documents: