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SMBs challenge Canadian govt policy

February 21, 2018

Let Me Compete Coalition (CNW Group/Let Me Compete Coalition)

Hundreds of SMBs across Canada have formed the Let Me Compete Coalition, in response to the Government of Canada’s new procurement policy.

The coalition says this policy unfairly targets their livelihood in a way that won’t allow them to compete for government contracts for printing and printing services.

This grassroots’ network, which supports thousands of middle-class jobs representing Canadians from all regions and backgrounds, stands to be shut-out by Shared Services Canada’s (SSC) plan to eliminate competition in federal printer procurement. SSC wants to replace the current robust, transparent, open, and highly-competitive National Master Standing Offer (NMSO) system with one that is closed, antiquated, and anti-competitive.

This new system, known as the Workplace Technology Devices Printer Procurement, will replace the current competitive process with a small oligopoly of 2 or 3 of the largest suppliers. Small businesses from across Canada in the printing and printing service industry, who currently provide support to various government departments, believe that this approach will lead to lost jobs, higher prices, less access to innovation, and diminished services for the Government of Canada.

“Shared Services Canada wants less competition and inevitably, higher prices for the Federal Government,” stated Paul Scholz, General Manager, Klondike Business Solutions (Whitehorse, Yukon). “They’re going to hurt our small business and the middle-class jobs we support, in the process.”

These small and medium-size businesses argue that it is not too late to keep the existing system that currently provides value-for-money for taxpayers and allows individual government departments and agencies to select the technology that best fits their requirements. With support beyond the printer and supplier sectors, including a wide spectrum of Canadians who are concerned with SSC’s anti-competitive plan, the Let Me Compete Coalition‘s message is don’t fix what isn’t broken.

“As an independent small business, we offer our clients flexible and customized service to achieve their document management needs,” said Tomy Bélanger, President, CT Copieur (Laval, Québec). “However, this decision by Shared Services Canada will create an oligopoly, hurting our government clients, with higher prices and less personalized service.”

“This new process will effectively shut-out hundreds of small businesses from competing for government contracts and have a negative impact on local economies all across Canada,” stated Jan Risberg, Owner, TOP Office Products (Brockville, Ontario).

 Quick Facts

  • Under the current competitive system, 12 printer and copier companies and, by extension, dozens of their small and medium-sized dealer-partners from across Canada, compete in an open and transparent tendering system for federal government printing services (valued at $60-$100 million annually) that has worked and has delivered value.
  • The Government of Canada is by far the largest single buyer of printers, copiers and related support services in the country. The proposed new system will block hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses from competing for this work. This will have ripple effects, since having Federal Government business helps small and medium-sized businesses qualify for contracts from other levels of government as well as the private sector, because it validates the quality of products and services provided.
  • The proposed new system will shut out hundreds of small and medium-sized companies, which will put at risk these companies and the thousands of jobs they support, in favour of creating a small group of 2 or 3 of the largest suppliers who will dominate for the procurement process for next decade and into the future.
  • The proposed new system does not assess supplier bids for the availability and quality of printer and copier accessibility technologies, which are essential to assist government employees who are visually impaired.


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