Canadian Consulting Engineer

News

Federal committee suggests Public Works consider QBS for procurement

The Association of Canadian Engineering Companies (ACEC) in Ottawa is lauding a report by the House of Commons Stan...


The Association of Canadian Engineering Companies (ACEC) in Ottawa is lauding a report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

The report released on June 18 recommends that Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) should consider making qualifications based selection (QBS) a “required procurement process.” Under QBS practices, the government would hire consultants and other suppliers based on their qualifications and experience, rather than accepting the proponent willing to do the work for the lowest fee.

The committee’s decision was made in a report entitled, “In Pursuit of Balance; Assisting Small and Medium Enterprises in Accessing Federal Procurement.” Their argument for allowing QBS would allow for more innovation and quality in project proposals.

In April, former ACEC chair Andrew Steeves (with ADI of Fredericton, N.B.), and Consulting Engineers of Ontario president John Gamble made a presentation before the Committee recommending QBS.

The report quoted Andrew Steeves’ definition of the concept behind QBS, as follows: “Professional engineers, architects, environmental scientists — those services should be hired based on the qualifications, experience, competencies and backgrounds they bring to a project, not on the lowest price.”

The report also noted that while QBS is not a widespread procurement practice in the Canadian government, it has been legislated in the U.S. since 1972 and is being legislated in the province of Quebec and in the cities of Calgary, Alberta and London, Ontario.

The committee’s full report can be downloaded at: