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Ontario Construction Report staff writer
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has decided to delay implementing much of its Contract Security Program (CSP) screening process, originally scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, after several trade associations expressed serious concerns about the program changes.
The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) says it, along with the National Trade Contractors Council of Canada (NTCCC) and the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC), have outlined the industry’s concerns about provisions that would remove “blanket exemption” security clearance provisions, adding to complexity in an environment where (under the current situation) clearances can take many months to process.
The association says the groups have communicated with PSPC Minister Anita Anand, “which resulted in a meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary and later a roundtable discussion between CCA, industry experts, and senior officials.”
The associations asked (PSPC) to put the brakes on the CSP program changes – modifications that the associations assert were introduced in a hurried fashion and without sufficient consultation.
PSPC announced changes to the program on June 30 with a coming into effect date of Sept. 1, “that, if implemented, would undermine fairness in procurement for contractors across Canada,” the association says in an Advocacy Alert issued in late August.
“The new rules would make it increasingly difficult for smaller contractors to participate on government projects, reducing fair competition in procurement. Not only will these changes create additional costs and project delays for smaller businesses; they will also hamper the industry’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
At the last minute, the government decided to defer the new rules implementation and instead committed to weekly meetings in September to “iron out some of the issues,” CCA president Mary Van Buren has been quoted as saying in an industry publication.
“While CCA is encouraged by the recent open dialogue with the government on this issue, more work is needed to ensure future changes to the security program screening process address the underlying causes and do not shift the burden to the contractor,” the association says.