In the News Archive
March 2006

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Marcan stats on procurement

Under the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), the federal, provincial and territorial governments are required to report annually on their procurements. Chapter five (procurement) of the AIT sets out a framework for procurement that is based on “non-discrimination, transparency, openness and ease of access to tender information.” The principles now extend to all levels of government including the MASH sector and crown corporations. The MASH sector is not required to report on their procurements.

Chapter Five provisions apply where the value of the procurement meets or exceeds certain thresholds: $25,000 where the largest portion of the procurement is for goods, $100,000 where the largest portion of the procurement is for services and $100,000 for construction projects. There are some exceptions. Marcan, the Internal Trade Secretariat’s website, publishes these annual procurement reports. Data from 1996 to the 2003-04 fiscal year is now on the website ( Using data from the Marcan site, Table 1 shows total reported procurement by organization and category in 2003-04.

Click here to see Table 1

Table 2 shows how each government has managed its exceptional procurements by % of change over the years from 1996 to the end of fiscal year 2003-04. Overall most governments show an increase, but the amount is approximately 5% of total procurement. The federal government has shown the most improvement in reducing its procurement under the exceptions from 14.6% in 1995/96 to just 2.1% in 2003/04.

Click here to see Table 2

British Columbia invests in air quality

The BC government has committed $309,000 to support eight projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in the province. The projects include:

  • $50,000 to the British Columbia Lung Association to contribute to projects such as the State of the Air Report, the community air quality/health lecture series, the annual air quality/health workshop, and other technical studies.
  • $7,450 to the University of British Columbia to help assess provincial background levels of particulate matter and ozone to support communities in identifying manageable targets and practical solutions to local air quality issues.
  • $50,000 to the University of British Columbia for the Centre of Interactive Research on Sustainability to continue research in accelerating the adoption of green technology in building design and urban development to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $165,000 to the Fraser Basin Council to help host provincial clean air forums; continue development of the Green Fleet Certification System for Crown agency and ministry fleets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and to deliver climate change information to students, the public, business and local government decision makers.
  • $10,000 to the Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society to continue community outreach in the development of an airshed plan for the Skeena region.
  • $27,000 to BC Transit to support 2007 Clean Air Day activities in communities across British Columbia, in partnership with Environment Canada.

Alberta government funds new diagnostic system

A new research centre – the Alberta Transplant Institute Applied Genomics Centre – is being established in Alberta to help transplant patients fight organ rejection. The centre is a result of collaboration between the Alberta government, the University of Alberta, Roche Molecular Diagnostics and Roche Pharmaceuticals. According to the release, Roche Molecular Diagnostics will provide access to gene expression analysis technology for use in the study, together with dedicated scientific support. Roche Pharmaceuticals will contribute an unrestricted grant. Alberta Innovation and Science will provide funds and the University of Alberta and Capital Health will contribute funds, work space and resources. This multimillion-dollar project is designed to lead to the commercialization of new diagnostic technologies developed by the Genome Canada Transplant Transcriptome Project at the University of Alberta.

The centre will initially study kidney transplant patients to develop a better understanding of transplant disease mechanisms and rejection. The information collected may have potential use in development of tools for diagnosis, monitoring, clinical trials and drugs for all types of organ transplants. For more information contact, Suzana Krpan, Communications, Alberta Innovation and Science at (780) 427-2237 or

Procurement training CDs

The specializes in developing CD-based training that highlights and promotes best practices in public procurement. Some of the best known and respected leaders in the public procurement field have already contributed their expertise and several more will be working on their CDs in 2006, including Lloyd Rain and Denis Chamberland. The newest CD, launched in February is Public Procurement Demystified by Jim O'Neill, Past President of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasers (NIGP). For information see

Other CDs available at include:

  • A Six-Pack of Avoidable, Seemingly Difficult, Major RFP Problems and Their Simple Solutions, by Michael Asner, author of The Request for Proposal Handbook, and The RFP Report, and
  • How To Develop An Effective Statement of Work, by Terry Davenport, former IT contract administrator for the Western States Contracting Alliance.

“Powering the Future” website facilitates project success

In late January 2006, NB Power and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) launched their official public website related to the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau Generating Station. The project is scheduled to begin in April 2008.

The Powering the Future website ( is aimed at providing information on various aspects of the project, including safety, environment, project milestones and timelines, employment opportunities and upcoming activities. The website will facilitate communication with all the stakeholders –the public and the building trades and contractors, including AECL, the main contractor – and help build and maintain strong relationships to ensure the project is executed effectively, on time and on budget

Wireless technology keeps health care staff in touch with patients

A partnership between Cisco, Philips Medical Systems and Emergin, now allows medical staff to monitor patient data even when away from the patient. Clinicians can now receive mobile alarm information, such as electrocardiogram data, on the Cisco Wireless IP Phone 7920. The Cisco Patient Monitoring solution sends electrocardiogram data via waveform snippets and text messages to the wireless IP Phone from Philips’ IntelliVue patient monitoring system via Emergin’s Patient Monitoring Gateway.

The system is functioning at Central DuPage Hospital, located in Winfield, Illinois, where according to Central DuPage’s Medical Director for Quality and Safety, it has increased the productivity of the nurses and improved the quality of patient care. The patient monitoring solution is used in the hospital’s 38-bed cardiac telemetry unit to deliver a critical alarm and the actual waveform information associated with the heart rhythm event directly to nurses over their wireless phones.

Cisco’s Clinical Connection Suite consists of four integrated clinical solutions – Nurse Call, Patient Monitoring, Location-Based Services and Collaborative Care – that direct, locate and prioritize information for clinicians and their patients, aiding faster, smarter healthcare. According to the release, as a result of using the system, “hospitals realize improved staff productivity, reduced capital and operating costs with extended systems, and a significantly enhanced quality of care and services.” For more information, see

BC opens new mental health facility in Kamloops

As part of the Riverview Hospital Redevelopment Project, the $17-million Hillside Centre is the second of two new state-of-the-art mental health facilities built in Kamloops to service the Interior Health region. The redevelopment project, currently underway, involves developing new specialized mental health facilities around the province to replace the aging institutional buildings at Riverview Hospital (RVH). All six health authorities and the BC Ministry of Health are involved in this collaborative effort. The new facilities provide patients with private rooms and a more normalized lifestyle conducive to patient goals of independence and community re-integration. Where possible, patients will participate in cooking, cleaning and other activities of daily living. Twenty-five of the 44 beds at Hillside will be utilized for BC’s neuropsychiatry program, linked with specialists and services at the University of British Columbia. Hillside Centre is funded through the BC’s $138-million capital commitment to build new mental health facilities across the province, and $1.2 million from Interior Health. More information can be obtained from Ryan Kuhn, Interior Health, at 250 574-1523 (cell) or

Newmarket, Ontario launches eco-home subdivision

In mid-January 2006, Ontario’s Town of Newmarket ( sold 34 lots to Rodeo Fine Homes Inc. to build an environmentally progressive subdivision. The 34 homes will meet the following ‘green’ criteria, defined in the town’s request for proposal (RFP):

    25 percent reduction in household water draws compared to conventional homes, and
  • 60 percent reduction in overall water discharge flows, solid waste, energy use and greenhouse gasses compared to conventional homes

The mayor of Newmarket is hopeful that the eco-home project will motivate builders and other municipalities. According to the release “this initiative has drawn the interest and support of many area municipalities, other levels of government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Ontario Power Authority and more.” For more information contact Crystal Moss, Communications Specialist at the Town of Newmarket at (905) 953-5300, ext. 2042 or

Toronto’s Buttonville Airport gets new control tower

Toronto’s Buttonville Municipal Airport will get a new air traffic control tower, replacing the existing facility, built in 1967 and reaching the end of its useful life. There are some 150,000 aircraft movements per year at Buttonville. Construction is scheduled to begin by the summer of 2006. The facility, representing an investment of over $2 million, should be operational by June 2007.

The new tower will provide expanded operational space, optimal visibility and the latest in air navigation equipment and technology for 12 air traffic controllers and two support staff. It will be located on the south side of the airport, opposite the old tower, and will be designed and built using a modular design, enabling the facility to be relocated in the future. New equipment and technology will include NAV CANADA’s Auxiliary Radar Display System and state-of-the-art voice communications switch. NAV CANADA, ( Canada’s provider of civil air navigation services, is a non-share capital corporation with operations coast to coast providing air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.

Nova Scotia repaves tourist route

In mid-January, Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Public Works awarded a $2,261,400 contract to Dexter Construction to repave on Route 331 from the Bridgewater town line for 10.9 kilometres south along the LaHave River – a popular tourist route. The job is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2006.

Centennial College launches program on sustainable building design

Toronto’s Centennial College has launched a new full-time program in architectural technology that emphasizes sustainable building design and construction. The program will be located at the Centennial HP Science and Technology Centre.

The three-year program – designed from the ground up with the help of 26 construction industry professionals who advised on course content and skills training – prepares students to work as technologists alongside architects, engineers, builders, contractors and municipal building departments. Using state-of-the-art computer technology, students will learn to create designs, construction drawings and specifications for residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Students can choose a co-op option, which gives them three semesters of paid, related employment experience in the industry prior to graduation. University graduates from related programs can apply to the fast-track option, which provides qualified applicants direct entry into the second year of the program. For more details, visit or e-mail:

Contracting fraud at DND results in charges laid

Paul Champagne, a former contract manager at the Department of National Defence (DND) has been charged with seven counts of criminal activity including fraud, breach of trust by a public officer, and money laundering in a multi-million dollar scheme involving computer maintenance contracts between DND and Hewlett Packard. The RCMP, who also charged Peter Mellon (10 counts) and Ignatius Manso (7 counts), allege that Champagne obtained more than $105 million under the scheme, which involved, among other things, irregularities with billing procedures, unauthorized equipment purchases and inflated equipment costs. Hewlett Packard co-operated fully with the police and DND in the investigation; in fact HP refunded the $146 million it was paid under the contracts.

Vancouver 2010 Games releases new construction budget

In early February, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) released a new budget for the construction of venues and other infrastructure necessary for 2010 Games. The original budget, prepared according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules and requirements, had no allowance for adjustment for inflation or increased construction costs. VANOC anticipated that it would have to make these adjustments and has now confirmed that the budget is currently estimated at 23 percent more than was in the submission to the IOC. VANOC has already identified $85 million in cost reductions through a comprehensive review of the venue program, and is committed to continuing the search for further savings. The review also contained a risk assessment of costs exceeding projections. This information was considered when VANOC formally initiated a request to both the Government of BC and Government of Canada for further funding to cover the increase in capital costs – shared equally at $55 million each. Vancouver 2010 is currently designing facilities and negotiating major building contracts and tendering contracts for venue construction activity in 2006. VANOC reaffirmed its commitment to rigorous cost and risk management saying it is determined not to ask the Canadian taxpayer for additional funds. For more information contact Chris Brumwell at (778) 328-6269.

Winnipeg seeks a supplier for an e-reporting system for emergency healthcare

In early February, the City of Winnipeg has issued a request for proposals seeking a supplier to provide its new Electronic Patient Care Reporting (e-PCR) system for emergency patient care, which is expected to be field-tested in early 2007. The city plans to award the contract in June 2006 and, according to the release, is anticipated to cost “an estimated $75,000 annually once user fees and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority funding is taken into account.” The new system will be placed in every ambulance and in fire vehicles that respond to medical calls – no more paper-based systems – and will serve to:

  • increase the focus on patient care by reducing documentation time at every call;
  • simplify data entry with prompts on care, procedures & destinations etc.;
  • provide real-time patient information;
  • assist triage decisions in emergency rooms with easy access to complete, central files; and
  • ensure central, state of the art security of patient information

Green Municipal Fund offers new energy sector funding

The Green Municipal Fund (GMF) has a new energy sector funding opportunity to offer municipal governments and municipal energy utilities. In the 2005 Budget, the Government of Canada contributed an additional $300 million to the GMF, bringing the total endowment to FCM to $550 million. This new allocation is a long-term, sustainable source of low interest rate loans and grants for municipal governments and their partners to support environmental projects in six categories: energy, waste, water, sustainable transportation, brownfield remediation, and integrated community planning. Annual funding caps have been established limiting the number of projects that will be supported each year. GMF will use a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process to determine which implementation projects best meet program goals and requirements. There will be at least one RFP each year in each of the GMF categories. The Energy RFP is the second RFP to be issued by the GMF. The first, launched in the fall of 2005, was for brownfield remediation. Through the Energy RFP process, GMF will award funds totaling approximately $20 million in low interest rate loans and $2 million in grants. Because there is a fixed amount of funding set aside for this RFP, not all applicants will necessarily be successful.

The Energy RFP will be divided into two streams:
Stream A: Energy efficiency retrofits to municipal buildings, or the construction of new energy efficient municipal buildings.
Stream B: New renewable energy supply projects and energy distribution systems.

The Energy RFP will open February 8, 2006. The Intent to Apply form, along with details of the RFP requirements and process, will be available online at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities website: The deadline for submission of the Intent to Apply for this RFP is March 1, 2006. Applicants will be notified if their Intent to Apply is accepted and asked to submit a detailed proposal that will be reviewed by a team of independent, third party experts. Funding will be awarded primarily on the basis of anticipated environmental benefit, and secondarily for social and economic benefit. The RFP closes April 12, 2006.

GMF will accept applications for grants for feasibility studies, field tests, and sustainable community plans in all GMF categories on a continuous basis. Details on grant funding opportunities for studies, tests and plans are also available

Quebec certifies a nanofiltration solution for groundwater treatment

The Quebec ministries of Développement durable de l'Environnement des Parcs (MDDEP) and of Affaires municipales et des Régions (MAMR) have a joint committee for the assessment of new technologies. According to the release “the mandate of the Committee is to analyze proposed technologies for drinking water treatment and pronounce on their level of development. Before obtaining this classification, a solution must have been validated during at least 12 months on a full scale operation, have been followed by a third independent party and have demonstrated that its performance attains Quebec water regulations (Règlement sur la qualité de l'eau potable-RQEP).”

This committee awarded H2O Innovation (2000) inc. ( the ultimate classification, which means that its membrane filtration solution, NanH2Osoft, is the only solution that can be sold without limitation in the province of Quebec – a first for the company.

NanH2OSoft is a nanofiltration membrane process for groundwater treatment, built to remove total dissolved solids composed mainly of: calcium, magnesium, sodium and chlorides – chemicals found in the brackish water (because of its high salt concentration) that is common throughout the province.

Organic liquid anti-icing additive being tested on Halifax roads

This winter Halifax Regional Municipality Halifax (HRM) ice/snow crews will be conducting trials with a liquid called Geomelt® being added to road salt to test its effectiveness in winter operations. In some areas it will be added to the brine tanks in the pre-wetting operations and in others it will be sprayed directly on the salt and sand stockpiles. Geomelt is an all-organic liquid anti-icing agricultural product that is non-corrosive and friendly to the environment and people. When mixed with salt brines, it lowers the freezing point of the brine. For more information contact Gordon Hayward, Coordinator, Ice/Snow Program, at (902) 490-4956

Dedicated traffic safety helicopter takes to the sky in BC

In mid-February, police in the Lower Mainland of BC received the province’s first dedicated, fully equipped traffic safety helicopter. With the increased integration of police services, the use of the helicopter can be coordinated across multiple RCMP and municipal detachments. The helicopter, which is a $2.2-million Eurocopter EC-120B Colibri, nicknamed “Air One,” will provide aerial support to 17 municipalities in the Lower Mainland. It comes equipped with an infra-red camera and high-powered light which will be invaluable during nighttime operations. Air One is funded through a joint traffic safety agreement between the Province of British Columbia and the Insurance Corporation of BC, along with a contribution from the Government of Canada.

Alberta government seeks to redevelop its legislature grounds

In early February, the Alberta government invited architects and planners worldwide to participate in creating a master plan for the redevelopment of the Alberta Legislature grounds, where according to the news release, “there has been no significant development…for the past 25 years. The Terrace Building and the Legislature Annex are at the end of their useful lifespan, and the federal building has been vacant for more than 15 years and is steadily deteriorating. Redevelopment is required to address these issues and improve site access and aesthetics…”

“The search will begin with the issuing of a request for qualifications (RFQ) to identify qualified firms capable of developing a master plan for the 57-acre site. Interested firms will be asked to submit information on their experience, knowledge, skills, compatibility and vision to get the job done. A short-list of respondents will be invited to go to the next stage and develop a proposal outlining their approach, work plan and fixed fee, and participate in an interview and planning workshop. The successful proponent will be contracted to develop the master plan.”

A master plan – the first step in the process – will include a description of the overall development concept and may include some general information about specific building uses, capacity and locations. Detailed building design specifications would be considered when the request for proposals for the actual development work is released for public competition.

A multi-party advisory committee will assist in the search and help guide the planning process. It will advise the Alberta Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation and the project team as required. The committee consists of five members of the legislature and three prominent Albertans and its first task will be to review and provide input into the RFQ. More information may be obtained by contacting Bart Johnson, Communications, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, at (780) 415-1841.

PEI helps fund carbon monoxide testers at community rinks

The Government of Prince Edward Island announced in early February 2006, that it will collaborate with the PEI Recreation and Facilities Association to ensure that community-owned rinks in the province are equipped with carbon monoxide (CO) tester units. About 25 community-operated rinks in the province are without permanent CO testers, which cost about $400 each. The PEI government will contribute 50 percent towards the purchase of the units, which continuously monitor the surrounding air and sound an alarm if CO gas builds to a dangerous concentration. Rink operators will be responsible to ensure the units are calibrated on an annual basis. For more information, contact John Morrison at (902) 368-5509 or

Newfoundland & Labrador improves roads in tourist area

Newfoundland and Labrador will undertake $1.89 million worth of road and bridge work for the Exploits region, which is a popular tourist area in the province. Funding for the projects is made available under the 2006-07 Provincial Roads Improvement Program and has received budget approval. Planned projects include:

  • upgrading and resurfacing a section of Route 350 between the TCH and Botwood;
  • upgrading and resurfacing sections of Barrick’s Hill;
  • rehabilitating Peter’s Arm Brook Bridge;
  • resurfacing a section of Route 352, Phillip’s Head to Point of Bay; and
  • rehabilitating approaches to West Arm Bridge.

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Table 1: 2003-04 reported procurement under the AIT (by organizations who reported)

Government organization

Total procurement by org

 Total Goods

 Total Services

 Total Construction

 Total Exceptions

Newfoundland and Labrador

 $               181,438,201.00

 $      98,461,068.00

 $        9,500,000.00

 $       68,669,184.00

 $         4,807,949.00

Nova Scotia

 $                                  -  

 $                        -  

 $                       -  

 $                        -  

 $                         -  

Prince Edward Island

 $                41,624,056.00

 $        6,118,650.00

 $        3,400,000.00

 $       32,105,406.00

 $                         -  

New Brunswick

 $                                  -  

 $                        -  

 $                       -  

 $                        -  

 $                         -  


 $            1,895,337,000.00

 $    547,365,000.00

 $    788,408,000.00

 $     559,564,000.00

 $       20,440,000.00


 $                                  -  

 $                        -  

 $                       -  

 $                        -   

 $                         -  


 $               252,909,094.00

 $    107,095,804.00

 $      64,198,713.00

 $       81,514,576.00

 $         4,376,069.00


 $               339,493,425.00

 $      98,789,670.00

 $    118,658,952.00

 $     122,044,803.00

 $       15,480,648.00


 $            2,186,425,527.00

 $    584,091,856.00

 $ 1,128,416,624.00

 $     473,917,048.00

 $       84,872,341.00

British Columbia

 $            1,059,833,979.00

 $    225,947,274.00

 $    713,190,908.00

 $     109,114,344.00

 $       11,581,553.00

Northwest Territories

 $                                  -  

 $                        -  

 $                       -  

 $                        -  

 $                         -   


 $                                  -  

 $                        -  

 $                       -  

 $                        -  

 $                         -  

 Federal government

 $            8,645,509,380.00

 $  3,889,635,000.00

 $ 4,019,538,000.00

 $     553,207,000.00

 $     183,129,380.00

Group total procurement

 $          14,602,570,662.00

 $  5,557,504,322.00

 $ 6,845,311,197.00

 $  2,000,136,361.00

 $     324,687,940.00

Source: Marcan, as updated October 31, 2005.




Some exceptions to chapter five of the AIT must also be reported.



506(11) (a)

Unforeseen situation of urgency

506(11) (e)

Security or order, or protection human, animal or plant life or health

506(12) (a)

Compatibility, exclusive rights, specialized products

506(12) (h)

Prototype or fist good or service


Regional and economic development

Annex 508.3

Non-conforming procurement policies and programs

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Table 2: % change in exceptions procurement from 1996 to fiscal 2003-04

Government organization






Newfoundland and Labrador

0.2% increased to 2.6%

 95-96 to 03-04




Nova Scotia

1.2% increased to 3.5%

 95-96 to 02-03

 Nova Scotia procurement is now within its Economic Development portfolio. It is possible that the % of procurement exceptions could increase under 508(1).

Prince Edward Island



 Only year of data available


New Brunswick

1.0 % to 1.1%

 95-96 to 02-03

 Highest year 97-98 at 5.1%



2.5% decreased to 1.1%

 95-96 to 03-04

 Highest year 02-03 at 3.7%



7.2% decreased to 5.3%

 97-98 to 00-01





6.9% decreased to 3.0%

 95-96 to 03-04

 Highest year 96-97 at 20.9%, most under 506(11) (e)


0.5% increased to 4.6%

 95-96 to 03-04

 Highest year 02-03 at 9.9%



0.7% increased to 3.9%

 95-96 to 03-04

 Highest year 97-98 at 5.7%


British Columbia

0.2% increased to 1.1%

 95-96 to 03-04




Northwest Territories



 From 96-98 data was not presented according to the required criteria.


0.4% increased to 1.7%

 95-96 to 02-03




Federal government

14.6% decreased to 2.1%

 95-96 to 03-04

 Highest year 95-96 at 14.6%


Source: Marcan, as updated October 31, 2005.



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