Evidence of meeting #112 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was business.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Louis-Martin Parent  Director, President's Office, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Pierre-Yves Boivin  Vice-President, Strategy and Economic Affairs, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
Iain Christie  Executive Vice-President, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
Yvon Boudreau  Consultant, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
Jim Quick  President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Okay, fair enough.

You talked about Buyandsell.gc.ca. Is it a better system for the SMEs compared with the MERX system?

12:50 p.m.

Director, President's Office, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Louis-Martin Parent

I think so, yes.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Okay.

12:50 p.m.

Director, President's Office, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Louis-Martin Parent

At the very least, it was centralized, so that was positive.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Okay.

All three of your organizations sit on the national supplier advisory committee. Mr. Shipley and most of the people here have talked about balancing the risk with the benefits. With SMEs, I am risk-averse because the moment I give you a contract and something goes wrong, I, the politician, pay the price, not the bureaucrats. You know that, right? That's the reality of our lives. That's why there are all these checks and balances.

Have you given your input into the risk versus benefit analysis, and what has been the input?

I think, Mr. Christie, you are ready to answer.

12:50 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

Iain Christie

We have, perpetually, continuously, and on an ongoing basis.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Are there no changes made?

December 5th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada

Iain Christie

No, not at all. There's lots of very interesting discussion, but as we talked about around the table, it's not a simple fix. It's not a simple system, and, as you said, there's....

To go back to Mr. Shipley's question, look at the incentives. If you look at an OEM big aerospace company supply chain, the incentives of the people who run that supply chain are very clear: a more efficient system, fewer suppliers supplying bigger work packages on time. That's what they get marked on. Their variable pay is very strongly linked to that.

If you ask a procurement official inside government what their incentive is, they say it's not to appear on the front page of The Globe and Mail.

12:50 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

I have another question. I have a lot of small and medium-sized innovative businesses in my riding. I'm wondering whether you could give some advice as to how to rank.... They apply for grants, and I've just delivered a few to my riding. I'm wondering, first, how we can make the system so that value proposition—you talked about the value proposition—comes into play.

Second, if you're innovative as a small and medium-sized enterprise, you have to be very innovative, very creative. You have to manage with limited resources. What sorts of changes would you make to the rating system?

Finally, would you like to adopt a U.K. model that sets aside 33% of federal procurement?

It's open to all, and you can give yourselves 30 seconds to answer.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

That's not 30 seconds each.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

No.

Mr. Parent.

12:50 p.m.

Director, President's Office, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Louis-Martin Parent

CFIB has always been reticent about set-asides, and the U of O study did some analysis of the American model. It showed there weren't many noticeable, positive developments from the set-aside program. I would be a bit nervous on that question.

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Boudreau.

12:50 p.m.

Consultant, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Yvon Boudreau

Good afternoon.

The build in Canada innovation program does indeed provide a boost to that end. Although the measure may seem a bit weak, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

The U.S. has a more robust program known as the small business innovation research, or SBIR, program, which requires departments with more than $100 million in research funding to spend 3.5% of it on commercializing innovations through government procurement. It’s a more aggressive program.

Canada’s program is a step in the right direction. We believe the government could help innovative SMEs expedite market penetration by serving as an accomplice—not in the negative sense—to these businesses or innovations.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Tom Lukiwski

Gentlemen, thank you very much for your participation and your patience today as we got a bit of a late start.

As Mr. Peterson indicated at the outset, should our committee members have any additional questions I would ask them to please submit them to the clerk who will then get them to our witnesses. Conversely, should you have additional information that you think would benefit our committee members as we are developing our final report, I would strongly encourage you to get your opinions, recommendations, and suggestions to our clerk for analysis later in our deliberations.

Once again, thank you all for being here. It's been helpful and informative.

We will suspend for about two minutes, colleagues, and then I have a very brief bit of committee business.

We are suspended.

[Proceedings continue in camera]