JULY 04, 2006

Proposed Changes to Temporary Help
Services (THS) Procurement

Dear members,

Please find attached correspondence to Minister of Public Works, Michael Fortier, and Richard Goodfellow, Manager, Public Works and Government Services Canada. Both letters outline ACSESS' concerns with the direction PWGSC intends to take for the future provision of Temporary Help Services (THS) to the Government of Canada.

On June 20th, 2006, ACSESS was advised by officials of PWGSC of imminent changes to the standing offer affecting THS procurement by the Government of Canada for the national capital region. On June 30th, despite assurances from government that there will be no reforms prior to consultation with industry, PWGSC released THS standing offer EN578-060156-A. At present, we have been assured that the standing offer methodology will not yet be carried over to regions outside of the National Capital (Ottawa and surrounding area).

In a letter to Minister Fortier, ACSESS has requested an immediate withdrawal of the Temporary Help Services (THS) standing offer.Please review correspondence and note background information below. We will keep you posted of any new developments.

To access the attachments, please follow these links:

Mary McIninch
Manager of Government Relations/Directrice des Affaires Publiques 
Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services 
Association Nationale des Entreprises en Recrutement et Placement de Personnel


On June 20, 2006, in a briefing by senior officials, particularly David Rotor, Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister, ACSESS representatives learned that the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada has completed a review of its procurement approach for temporary help services (THS) and is set to terminate the relationship with the employment industry under the current standing offer and bring in a new highly prescriptive and anti-competitive alternative. Industry was advised the changes would occur in 2-3 weeks. In fact, they occurred in less than that time, with a release of a new standing offer on June 30, 2006.


Current Situation: a standing offer with 144 competitors named offers government officials access to a wide range of employment services at competitive rates. There may be opportunities to improve the current system and save the taxpayer money through the rationalization of the conditions of that offer, however, a wholesale elimination of it is not the answer.

Stated Course of Action as proposed under an amended standing offer: Chicago-based AT Kearney Procurement Solutions has been engaged by Public Works to help reengineer the approach the Government of Canada takes to purchasing. As part of that, restructuring of temporary help services procurement will result in a wholesale decimation of the current supplier list in favour of approximately 7 pre-selected suppliers.

Stated Objectives of the amended standing offer: The intention is to reduce the cost of procurement to the taxpayer as part of the broader "The Way Forward" agenda. Officials over the last year had suggested there would be consultation on any reforms (see Parliamentary report of January, 2005).

Actual Approach taken by: The approach is a top-down reengineering exercise rather than a careful review of actual expenditures and possible savings. The result is a "gun registry" approach ­ big system changes instead of sensible cost-savings. Moreover, AT Kearney has not consulted the industry and is using erroneous data. The firm has suggested savings will come by reducing the number of suppliers to approximately 7, eliminating competition and effectively wiping out an industry sector that meets government's need to find qualified temporary help quickly.

Impact: The recommended actions will result in the elimination of dozens and dozens of small and medium sized businesses across the greater Ottawa area. The shrinking of supply of temporary help service-providers will lead to an increase in cost to the taxpayer over time.