In the News Archive
December 2004

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Nova Scotia mandates green power

Nova Scotia’s new Electricity Act (2004), which passed in late October, requires resellers of electricity to ensure that a minimum portion of the supply comes from renewable resources – five percent by 2010 from renewable resource generating capacity, built after 2001. The Act also allows six municipally-operated electrical companies to buy power from generators other than Nova Scotia Power Incorporated (NSPI), a privately-owned company that generates, transmits and distributes over 95 percent of the electricity within the province. In 1992, NSPI bought all the electric utility assets of the province’s crown corporation, Nova Scotia Power Corporation.

South of our border

Jail time. In October 2004 Darleen Druyun was sentenced to nine months in a minimum-security prison and fined US$5,000 plus 150 hours of community service for negotiating a job for herself with Boeing, while she was employed as an acquisition executive for the United States Air Force. As part of her plea agreement, she also admitted to favouring Boeing, the second-largest defense contractor in the US, on four contracts when she was with the Air Force, paying higher prices than needed because Boeing employed family members and she hoped to work there as well. Druyun had established a reputation with co-workers for being a tough negotiator and champion of acquisition reform. Other contracts managed by Druyun are now being scrutinized. – Summary of article by George Cahlink, Source: www.govexec.com

P3 military housing. In an effort to upgrade the quality of homes for US military personnel, all branches of the armed forces have been signing public-private partnerships (P3s) to stimulate new home construction. The most recent is a Navy deal with GMH Military Housing of Pennsylvania in which the company will spend more than US$600 million in the next six years to upgrade or replace 2,400 homes. The company will also manage and maintain the property for 50 years. In exchange the company gets a steady revenue stream from military members, who sign a lease with the developer for the value of the member's basic housing allowances – covers rent, utilities and renter insurance. –Summary of article by George Cahlink, Source: www.govexec.com

Manitoba contracts for health care centres

The province of Manitoba is building 12 community access centres in Winnipeg neighborhoods to provide one-stop access to comprehensive primary health care services. Primary health care emphasizes disease prevention and health promotion and offers timely treatment, including links to specialized care if required. Work has begun on the first three centres:

  • Access River East – under construction and expected to open in fall 2003;
  • Access Transcona – the contract to begin was awarded late October 2004 to Ransby Holdings Ltd. of Winnipeg; and
  • Access Inkster – being developed collaboratively with the Nor’West Co-Op Community Health Centre (CHC).

Each centre will suit the specific needs of its own neighborhood community. Other centres are planned for sites in Assiniboine South, Downtown, Fort Garry, Point Douglas, River Heights, St. Boniface, St. James-Assiniboia, St. Vital and Seven Oaks.

CPPC chooses new board for 2004/05

The Canadian Public Procurement Council held its annual forum in early October in Vancouver. Forum attendees were treated to presentations and discussions covering a wide range of subjects, the announcement of a new award program by Summit Magazine, and an evening of fine food and entertainment, that reflected the diversity of BC’s people. As well, attendees elected a new board of directors, some whose names will be familiar to you.

President: George Butts, Acting Director General, Acquisition Branch - Policy, Risk, Integrity and Strategic Management, Public Works and Government Services Canada

Vice President: Karen Owen, Director, Strategic Procurement Branch Supply Chain Management, Ontario Shared Services

Treasurer: Pierre-A. Thibaudeau, Directeur, Direction des contrats et des resources matérielles, Ministère des Transport, Gouvernement du Québec

Secretary: Lynda Allair, Manager, Procurement Service, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Ontario)

Directors:

David Ash, Director of Procurement, Manitoba Highways and Government Services

David D. Chase, Deputy Director, SourceCAN, Industry Canada

Ron de Vries, Vice President, Defence Construction Canada

Renata Faverin, Director Procurement Services, York University

Terry Galan, Director, Purchasing Resources, McMaster University

David Lawson, Director, Materiel Management, Fraser Health (BC)

Serge Ouelette, Chef de division – Achats, Ville de Montréal

Lou Pagano, Director, Purchasing Materiels Management, City of Toronto

Carl Rumscheidt, Director, Highways and Public Works, Yukon

Marc Sarra-Bournet, Chef, Service de la tarification et des accords sur les marches publics, Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor, Gouvernement du Québec

Stephen Whittaker, Director, Procurement Services, University of Toronto

H. Scott Wolstenholme, Director, Materiel Management, Cape Breton District Health Authority (NS)

Halifax Regional Municipality contracts for harbour clean-up

For a guaranteed maximum price, on October 19, 2004 Halifax Regional Council contracted with SGE Acres Limited and N-Viro Systems Canada Inc. to design, build and operate a biosolids processing facility to be located at AeroTech Park. The facility will handle waste materials from the Harbour Solutions project (www.halifax.ca/harboursol/index.htm) – the clean up of Halifax harbour. Under the agreement, the new facility must meet or exceed Canada’s Fertilizer’s Act requirements for a fertilizer/soil product or supplement, meet Nova Scotia requirements for “Class A” product, and achieve an Exceptional Quality Class A pathogen reduction material designation under US Environmental Protection Agency.

As part of the Harbour Solutions project, in August 2003 the council had also signed an agreement with Dexter Construction for a $115.7 million sewage collection system (SCS) infrastructure, and in June 2004 with D & D Water Solutions Inc. for the design, construction and commissioning of three sewage treatment plants worth $133.2 million. The first treatment plant, located in Halifax, should be operational in 2006 and the last one in summer 2008.

Sprott offers new certificate for public sector marketers

In the face of public demands for accountability, public sector marketing efforts must be able to demonstrate that they are effectively meeting organizational objectives and providing value-for-money. Responding to a growing demand by government and other public sector organizations for marketing and communications professionals with a better understanding of public sector requirements, the Sprott School of Business at Ottawa’s Carleton University has a new certificate program. The Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing Program will begin in January 2005. The program – a series of modules delivered over a five-month period – will be delivered by professionals in the field of government and non-profit marketing.

Sydney Tar Ponds clean-up underway

Fredericton-based engineering firm, ADI Limited, has been contracted (worth $578,000) to complete detailed engineering plans, prepare tender packages for contracting firms, and manage the construction project of re-routing of Coke Ovens Brook – the first step in cleaning up the coke ovens property at the Tar Ponds. Currently, the brook picks up contaminated groundwater as it meanders through the heavily polluted coke ovens property. An engineering report recommended re-routing the brook into two branches through less contaminated areas, which would not only make the brook’s water cleaner, but also facilitate the cleaning of the old contaminated streambed. Portions of both branches will be lined with synthetic material or clay to prevent recontamination.

Feds say who bought what

If you are curious about which departments are buying, and what, in the Government of Canada, you can now see all contracts valued over $10,000. As of the end of October, federal departments are required to publish online all contracts over that value – with some exceptions such as those relating to national security and information that would normally be withheld under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The departments have put up the first two quarters of the fiscal year and will update the information on a quarterly basis.

Nova Scotia improves access to government tenders

In October, under its Supplier Development Program, Nova Scotia launched a Tender Opportunities Notification Service (TONS) designed to reduce the time it takes for business to access government tenders. The service is available at no cost to users through the Nova Scotia Business Registry (NSBR) at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/nsbr. Businesses can register for TONS at NSBR and list their areas of interest. When a tender matches a vendor’s interest a notice will be emailed to the vendor.

TONS is open only to businesses in Nova Scotia, but the procurement tender notice website, www.gov.ns.ca/tran/tour, will carry the exact same tenders as TONS. The tenders appear to be accessible by any interested party, even if not based in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia’s procurement branch consists of three parts: the Government Purchasing Agency (GPA), Information and Technology (ITP), and Public Tendering. The GPA helps organizations throughout government draw up specifications, prepares tenders for distribution, evaluates bids, and awards contracts. The ITP section is responsible for the procurement of computer hardware and software and assists other government organizations in drawing up specifications, preparing tenders for distribution, evaluating bids and awarding contracts. The public tendering section ensures that procedures are in place “that provide for a fair and open tender competition.” It is responsible for advertising, placing Internet notices, distributing tender documents, receiving bid submissions and the public announcing of the winning bid – both the amount and name of the winning company.

Federal bid opportunities soon to be free on MERX

In mid-November the federal government announced that federal tendering opportunities would be free on MERX, the electronic delivery service (www.merx.com), beginning April 1, 2005. MERX is owned by Mediagrif Interactive Technologies. According to MERX, with the removal of the subscription fee, the only cost to suppliers for federal opportunities would be associated with the purchase of a hard copy of the tender documents; downloads remain free. This change in fees pertains only to federal opportunities; subscribers who wish access to opportunities from the provinces and municipalities and other organizations, that use the MERX service to publish their bid opportunities electronically, will pay a subscription fee to access this material.

Government of Canada renovates Regina office

Several Government of Canada offices in Saskatchewan’s provincial capital are scattered throughout the city. In a move to consolidate them in one location, in early November, following a competitive process, PCL Construction Management was awarded a contract valued at $20.9 million to renovate the Galleria Building so it can become the Regina Government of Canada Building. Renovations – to be completed by fall of 2005 – include upgrading existing architectural items, electrical and mechanical systems, and the security and safety installations.

Government of Canada awards relocation service

In early November, following a re-tendered competitive process, the Government of Canada awarded two contracts to Royal LePage Relocation Services to administer the relocation process for federal government employees both in Canada and abroad. The Canadian Forces, the RCMP, public service executives, deputy ministers, Governor-in-Council appointees and public service employees that are represented by unions are mandated to use the relocation program. The firm will take advantage of volume purchases and provide advice to employees and their families who are relocating. The work begins December 2004 and ends in November 2009. However, each contract may be extended once for a two-year period. The contract for the Canadian Forces is estimated at nearly $125 million and the contract for the RCMP and other government employees is roughly $29million.

Money and manure fuel green power

In late October 2004, the government of Ontario announced that it will invest $1,604,603 in the development of an integrated anaerobic digestion facility that will convert biogas from manure at the Lynn Cattle Company into heat and electricity – enough electricity to power the company’s own operations and enough surplus to sell on the market. The Ontario municipality of North Middlesex has agreed to purchase 2,500 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from Lynn Cattle Company Inc. to power all municipally owned property.

New Brunswick builds new addiction services facility

In late October, New Brunswick’s Department of Supply and Services awarded Foulem Construction Ltée. from Caraquet, New Brunswick – “Capitale de l’Acadie” – a $2.5 million publicly tendered contract to construct a new regional addiction services facility in Campbellton, near the Restigouche Hospital Centre. The18-bed facility, which should be ready in June 2005, will consist of patient treatment, recreation areas, support services and sleeping accommodations as well as an observation room and administration areas. It will continue to offer the province's only bilingual short-term residential program as well as regional detoxification, outpatient services, community prevention and education services. The cost of the facility is split 50/50 between the province and the Region 5 Health Authority.

More on smart fleets

New cars – On October 26, 2004 the Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo, an advanced technology diesel-powered car with greater fuel efficiency than standard gasoline-powered vehicles, joined the Transport Canada’s vehicle fleet. The fleet also includes other advanced technology vehicles such as the hybrid Honda Insight and Honda Civic, a hybrid Ford Escape and an electric Ford Ranger, the fuel-efficient Toyota Echo, a hybrid Toyota Prius and Toyota Estima and various flex-fuel (ethanol blended gasoline) vehicles from General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler. The ForTwo conforms to all applicable Canadian safety standards.

Transport Canada works with other federal government departments, provincial/territorial governments, municipal governments and the broader transportation community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and urban air pollution through practical, cost-effective approaches. The Advance Technology Vehicles program website at www.tc.gc.ca/atvp has more information.

Alternative fuel – As of mid-October, Halifax Regional Municipality switched its entire transit bus fleet to biodiesel – a blend of a 20 percent bio-fuel (a by-product of the production of Omega-3 Oil, which is refined from fish oil) and 80 percent regular diesel fuel.

Completed test trials on biodiesel in North America on B-20 showed that particulate matter emissions were reduced by almost 18 percent, carbon dioxide by 16 percent and unburned hydrocarbons by 11 percent. HRM’s Fleet Services department and Environment Canada conducted similar tests, and while the results are pending, are confidant that switching to biodiesel will deliver significant benefits in greenhouse gas reductions for relatively little increase in cost – less than one percent increase according to HRM’s general manager of fleet services. Research will continue on using the bio fuel in other vehicles and its potential to heat municipal buildings.

Service New Brunswick markets home grown e-gov solution

Service New Brunswick (SNB) is the crown corporation that provides New Brunswickers with integrated access – both traditional and electronic – to services offered by provincial government departments. And SNB does it well. Over-the-counter, one-stop service centres are open regular hours and also some evening and weekend hours; SNB TeleServices (1-888-762-8600) operates until 10 p.m. weeknights and all day Saturday; and SNB Online (www.snb.ca) operates 24/7. In providing all this, SNB has cut delivery costs, generated revenues for the province and pleased customers – according to a third-party survey, it has a 92 percent customer satisfaction rating.

One of the reasons SNB is successful is gBIZ, a software product, co-developed by SNB and its private sector partner, CGI, for online and tele-services – a one-stop, multi-channel-shop software that supports New Brunswick’s approach to service delivery. Plus, it is easy to implement, reducing operating, maintenance and training costs.

To generate revenue, SNB signed an exclusive marketing agreement with CGI for the joint sale of gBIZ to governments worldwide. SNB markets gBIZ to provincial government departments and New Brunswick municipalities. Under the agreement CGI is to invest $3.5 million in SNB over seven years and split the royalties from any sales 50/50 with SNB. Only a year ago this October, CGI presented SNB its first cheque representing its share of royalty revenues. Existing customers include several New Brunswick municipalities; the City of Kingston, Ontario; Statesboro, Georgia; and, in the UK, the region of Suffolk.

BC and UBCM partner to support independent power projects

In late September, the government of British Columbia signed a partnership agreement with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to facilitate the development of independent power projects (IPPs). Since the government launched its Energy Plan in 2002, which includes the target of acquiring 50 percent of new electricity from clean sources, almost $1 billion has been invested in IPPs across BC. A working group has been established with representatives from Land and Water B.C., Inc., the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services, the Ministry of Energy and Mines and local communities. The BC government plans to harmonize provincial and local review processes leading to a simplified approval process for IPP developers.

Montreal enhances citizen services

In early September, Montreal announced that Montrealers could access a new automated telephone service with bilingual interactive voice applications for information previously only accessible on the city’s website. The new system, implemented by BCE Elix and available 24/7, complements Montreal’s existing contact centre and allows agents more time to deal with less routine questions. It provides information on:

  • Info-Collectes – by saying their postal code, a citizen may access schedules for garbage and bulky object collection.
  • Info-Remorquage – citizens may locate towed cars by saying their license plate number.
  • Points of Service – citizens may find their borough’s point of service address, phone number and hours of operation by saying the borough’s name.

Lake Ontario water to cool offices

In late summer, Enwave District Energy Limited’s innovative sustainable energy project, the Deep Lake Water Cooling System (DLWC), was the recipient of $10 million investment by the Green Municipal Investment Fund. The DLWC system will use cold water drawn from deep in Lake Ontario to chill water at Enwave’s cooling plant, which is then distributed to Enwave customers for air conditioning purposes – enough to cool 20 million square feet of office space.

The Green Municipal Funds was established with support from the Government of Canada to leverage funding and support from both the public and private sectors to “cut greenhouse gas emissions, to improve local air, water and soil quality, and to promote renewable energy.” The Federation of Canadian Municipalities manages the fund. More information can be found at http://kn.fcm.ca.

Environmental remediation at Gander airport

Newfoundland’s Gander International Airport began operation in 1939 as a supply base for the military and then as a fuel stop for trans-Atlantic flights. More recently it is also home to a portion of the Trans Canada Trail (www.tctrail.ca). Over time the site became contaminated, mostly with hydrocarbons. Transport Canada recently awarded a $953,640 contract to Piercon Ltd. from Gander, NL for environmental remediation of eight sites along the Trans Canada Trail at the Gander International Airport. The work is being carried out this fall (to be completed by the end of December 2004) and includes the removal and disposal of soil contaminated with hydrocarbons. The work being done follows another project that involved the removal and disposal of PCB contaminated soil as well as old infrastructure at a former radar site, also situated at Gander International Airport. To ensure no residual ecological impacts the site will be monitored over the next several years.


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