By: The Working Forest Staff
TORONTO — The Ontario government announced the establishment of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency that will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing goods and services, saving taxpayers money. Supply Ontario will ensure that schools, hospitals, and the entire public sector always have the critical supplies and equipment they need to keep individuals and families safe while supporting job creation and economic growth.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“When people go shopping, they often buy in bulk to save money. We need to do the same thing in government, so we can deliver more value for taxpayer dollars and secure critical supplies for our frontline health care heroes and others in the public sector,” said Premier Ford. “This new approach will also be good for Ontario businesses as it will make it easier for them to sell their quality products and services to the government.”
During the height of COVID-19, the government’s experience of sourcing PPE and critical supplies and equipment (CSE) shed light on the fragmented nature of Ontario’s supply chain system. Supply Ontario will provide tangible results, including:
- Delivering the best value by sourcing high-quality goods at scale to serve the public interest in a financially responsible way.
- Stabilizing access to critical products, including PPE.
- Stimulating job creation and economic growth by purchasing more Ontario-made goods.
- Driving innovation of emerging technologies.
- Connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs to government and its customers by acting as a first purchaser for emerging technologies and paving pathways to the marketplace to drive innovation in Ontario.
By centralizing the government supply chain and streamlining complex procurement processes, small and medium sized businesses will face less administrative burden.
“Supply Ontario will allow our government to buy as one and simplify our supply chain model,” said Minister Thompson. “Our experience responding to the COVID-19 pandemic only validated the need for a modern, more efficient supply chain system. This made-in-Ontario solution will support greater domestic production, drive job creation and economic growth, and create opportunities for Ontario manufacturers and innovators to enter the playing field and bid for projects to supply our province.”
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, Ontario’s businesses and innovators quickly responded through our Ontario Together program with solutions to improve our supply chains, support greater domestic production of PPE, and provide our front lines with the essential equipment necessary in the fight against COVID-19,” said Minister Fedeli. “We worked to further galvanize Ontario’s manufacturing engine with the launch of the Ontario Made program in partnership with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. This important new procurement initiative will build on those efforts, create new opportunities for Ontario manufacturers and innovators, and ensure we are well-prepared now and for any future challenges.”
The government recently secured a contract with PRIMED Medical Products to manufacture levels 1 and 2 surgical/protective masks in Ontario through a competitive procurement process. Beginning this fall, PRIMED will produce 50 million masks annually over the next five years. This will provide health care and essential service providers across the province with a secure, local supply they can rely on. This initiative will help Ontario’s public health officials plan ahead and reduce the province’s reliance on strained global supply chains.
The new supply chain agency is part of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, which includes more than 30 projects that will change the way people and businesses interact with government. Projects in the Action Plan fall into four categories:
- Making government services more digitally accessible
- Reducing red tape and simplifying policies
- Improving government purchasing
- Creating more responsive and flexible public services
“By creating a centralized, streamlined supply chain agency, we are not only leveraging the immense bulk-buying power of Canada’s most populous province, we are also supporting Ontario businesses of all sizes, creating jobs and promoting long-term economic growth,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. “This agency is a signature project in the Ontario Onwards Action Plan which will help ensure we are building a smarter government that is connecting businesses and entrepreneurs to government and its customers.”
The government is committed to undertaking a comprehensive approach to ensure the entire public sector and health sector stakeholders are supported during the transition period and minimal disruption to the existing provision of products and services.