I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 52 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, or, as I like to call it, the mighty OGGO.
Pursuant to the motion adopted by the committee on Wednesday, January 18, 2022, the committee is meeting on the study of federal government consulting contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company.
In accordance with our routine motion, I am informing the committee that all witnesses appearing by video conference have completed the required connection tests in advance of the meeting.
Each of our three witnesses will have a five-minute opening statement. We'll start with a friend to this committee, Mr. Hutton.
Welcome back. Go ahead for five minutes, please.
My name is David Hutton. I'm a senior fellow with the Centre for Free Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Thank you for the invitation to testify.
Based on my experience in the world of management consulting, I hope to provide some insights into what is likely going on in this particular situation. I've also listened to all of the previous testimony and can comment on some of that.
What are my credentials to speak about management consulting?
Early in my career, I was hired by the largest management consulting firm in the U.K. as its internal consultant to apply quality management principles to the firm's operations. It was a wonderful opportunity to study how large firms operate and what causes engagements to go well or badly.
In 1990, after coming to Canada, I founded my own management consulting practice and served what became a diverse international clientele for 20 years. I conducted assessments of various organizations. The Auditor General of Canada at one point, Sheila Fraser, was my client, as well as Xerox Canada, the Ontario government and the United States army bases in Europe.
In total, I led over 100 management system assessments. In the course of these, I partially conducted over 1,500 structured one-on-one interviews with senior executives. I learned a lot about organizational behaviour and how senior executives think.
With regard to the larger consulting firms, I competed against them successfully. I collaborated occasionally on joint projects that I would lead. I often found myself in the position of examining their handiwork and occasionally helping to clean up the mess they had left behind.
There are some major challenges inherent in employing management consultants. One is the inherent imbalance of knowledge and expertise, which makes it difficult for clients to judge the competency of consultants in order to avoid buying a pig in a poke.
While there are many ethical, talented consultants who do wonderful work, the consulting industry is also wide open to shady methods. Some of these are actually common practice. I'll be happy to describe some of these if anyone is interested.
Regarding McKinsey and the sudden spectacular growth in Canada over the past few years, the committee has rightly been exploring whether this growth has been achieved by leveraging personal friendships, since this is a common sales strategy, but there is another possibility: that McKinsey has simply impressed senior decision-makers so much that the doors have been thrown open to them. This is exactly how McKinsey operates.
In the consulting world, there's a hierarchy of perceived prestige. Worldwide, the top three firms are McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Bain. They rank at roughly eight out of 10 on that scale. The KPMGs of this world are rated more like six or seven out of 10.
This top-dog status that McKinsey has translates directly into very high fee rates, intimate engagement with clients—both governments and corporations—at the very highest levels, and often a bypassing of the due diligence that would routinely be applied to less well-connected firms.
Does it translate into supremely competent consulting? There's absolutely no guarantee of that. In fact, there are some disturbing examples of what I would describe as serious incompetence. A couple of examples are U.S. Steel and Disney, which are fairly recent and well-documented cases.
How does this play out in Canada? In the past, for a senior bureaucrat to employ McKinsey might have been a risky move, likely to attract scrutiny and criticism because of the outrageous costs and the company's track record, but if the senior leadership becomes convinced that McKinsey is simply the best, then, suddenly, hiring McKinsey can seem like a smart move that is likely to be applauded by one's boss.
What I’ve been describing so far is what can go on and what can go wrong when everyone is working honestly within the rules, but this is not always the reality. In any sizable organization, we can expect that there are some bad actors. In Canada, because of our absolute lack of whistle-blower protection, we have zero protection against the mayhem that such people can predictably cause. We are butt-naked.
Phoenix continues to be the poster child for wilful mismanagement and stunning incompetence. The software still isn’t being fixed, and probably never will be, but the tragedy is that nothing has changed in the management system. We still have the perfect environment for breeding more disasters just like Phoenix.
I have some suggestions for the committee, but I think I'm out of time. Hopefully, that will come up later.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you for inviting me, members of Parliament and Mr. Chairman.
I will address you in both French and English from time to time, and I will attempt to answer questions in the language in which they are asked of me.
I will not read through my notes, because that would be awfully boring. You have had all of this for some time now.
To present myself, I'm a sort of hybrid. I have a hybrid formation. I have an M.B.A. and I also have a Ph.D. in communications. I studied sociology and human behaviour, which was very helpful in this case, and psychology.
I also have experience in the field, because half of my career was spent in business doing management and doing consulting, including with the government, and what we're seeing with McKinsey right now I can't say I saw when I was a consultant. That's one of the main issues I have with this situation.
That's about me. If you want to know more about me, just go to my website, duguay.org, and you will find out everything you want to know about me.
Today, the committee's purpose is to study the contracts awarded to McKinsey by the federal government. I am familiar with the consulting world, and there are many consulting companies. Why is McKinsey being scrutinized at this time, but not other companies?
What I am going to tell you will help answer that question.
I have done a fair amount of research by reading this book and several articles. I have been interviewed by many journalists, who then wrote articles. I was even interviewed on RDI by Kim Vermette. You will find all of that on my website.
Let's start now. I will try to be brief.
The single most important thing I noticed about McKinsey is their culture of secrecy. That's the most disturbing thing, and it's not in Canada and not in Quebec and not in Ontario: It's all over the world, and I find this very, very troubling. I said so repeatedly in the media. I am worried. That worries me. That alone is cause enough to ask questions, but you ask questions and you never get answers.
They work for competing firms, sometimes with conflicting interests, saying it doesn't matter because they have a firewall and people within their firm do not talk to each other. Fine; I believe you, but mistakes happen.
They also work in the U.S., for instance, with health care corporations and with the FDA, which supervises them. I find this hard to swallow, personally.
They also work with competing countries. For instance, they helped China build the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and turned around and took a contract with the Pentagon to counteract the influence of China in the South China Sea. I'll let you draw your own conclusions on that.
They consult on just about anything. I was being facetious at the time I was interviewed on TV and said that soon they will give us cake recipes. Of course, I was not serious, but it seems so.
That said, no law prevents McKinsey from doing business in Canada. It has not broken any laws. No one has told McKinsey that it cannot do business with a Canadian company or the Government of Canada. That cannot be said at present. We have even been told that it abides by Canada's ethics rules.
That comment came from a credible individual, and therefore I must presume that they were telling the truth. It is also possible that our ethics rules are not stringent enough and that we are considering only Canada's ethics, and not looking more globally. If we consider that McKinsey helped—
I'm sorry. I'm told that my time is up.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You can read the rest.
Thank you for the opportunity.
I read and listened to the testimony before this committee, but I don't have specialized knowledge about the McKinsey case. Therefore, my remarks will necessarily be rather general in nature. I encourage the committee to study the topic of contracting in all of its many forms in future work.
In the limited time available, I propose to make a series of brief points without much elaboration.
I'll start with this point: The growing use of management consultants reflects the broader trend of intermingling of public and private roles and functions. The assumption behind this trend is that governments get the best of both worlds. They benefit from their reliance on the presumed superior knowledge and skills of commercial private firms particularly. However, we all know that this isn't a guaranteed outcome, as there can be real horror stories arising from the contracting-out process.
In my view, successful contracting requires that governments behave as smart buyers to maximize the benefits and limit the risks of reliance on the private sector.
Sweeping generalizations about the advantages, disadvantages and risks of contracting out should be avoided. There are just too many different types of contracting and many different functions that can be wholly or partially transferred to the private sector, whether that be to for-profit firms or non-profit organizations.
Not all functions of government or all program activities are good candidates for transfer to the private sector. Based on experience and research, there are some general principles that can be used to guide the contracting process. Ultimately, it is a particularistic activity best approached on a case-by-case basis.
Fundamental to that process is a determination of whether a particular task or related activity is “inherently governmental” in nature. Such a determination involves, to a greater or lesser extent, a subjective normative judgment about the appropriate role of government and an assessment of the capacity of the public service to deliver effective results.
Attempts to define what functions are inherently governmental have occurred mainly in the United States. Functions that serve “the public interest” and those that involve the exercise of subjective policy judgments—
Okay. I suggest that there are some criteria, but they're generally quite vague, and certain activities should not be candidates for outsourcing.
Diminished policy capacity within the public service and a lack of confidence in the willingness of senior public servants to speak truth to power may have contributed to the trend towards reliance on consultants as policy advisers. However, I know of no comprehensive empirical study of the historical pattern of the use of consultants for high-level policy work. That is something that could be explored. For accountability to work as intended, ministers must always have the final say on policy decisions.
I make the point that contracting out—and contracting—is a multi-stage process with various stages involved. Not all organizations have the capacity at all stages to behave as smart buyers. Managing relationships with contractors is crucial and is more difficult to produce effectively when managing across organizational boundaries.
I believe that management consultants and other contractors should be required to sign a conflict of interest declaration, just as registered lobbyists are required to do under the lobbyists' code. Consultants should also fall within the scope of the Access to Information Act to reinforce the principle that the information and knowledge generated in the contracting process is open to public disclosure, with limited exceptions.
I've read many of the guides and policy documents produced by the Treasury Board Secretariat, including the government-wide integrity regime document. The more fundamental challenge, I believe, is to create a professional community of contract managers with a shared culture, developed on a foundation of evidence-based, results-oriented decision-making.
My conclusion is that there is a place for management consultants in the modern governing process and that those consultants should be kept in their place.
Yes. I'm obviously here about whistle-blowing. I always am.
I see the committee and anybody like this as being severely hampered in getting at information if people in the trenches—employees—are not able to safely come forward with what they know. It's an absolute disaster, and it has led to a lot of the problems we've seen in the past.
I think that in the long term, the committee should continue the excellent work it's done in the past of pushing for some kind of decent protection for whistle-blowers, and in both the public and the private sector, by the way. In the short term, I would consider having the committee set up its own mechanisms for people to come forward safely and give it information.
I'm not saying that there's a precedent for that in Canada. I'm not saying it would be trivial, but I think it's doable. I think that would open floodgates of information to you that would be very revealing.
I'll go on a little bit longer. One thing I learned over the 100 assignments that I led was that you really don't have the full picture until you've talked to the people in the trenches. As you work down through the levels conducting interviews, you would get different pictures at different levels. Those would, on the face, be contradictory, but it was really like walking around an object and seeing it from three dimensions. Once you'd interviewed all of the levels, you had a complete, three-dimensional picture of what was going on, which you could not get from any single viewpoint.
It's a very strong principle for me that if you're doing management consulting or running any type of organization, you need to understand what the people in the trenches believe and see and you need to have access to their knowledge and information.
Thank you very much. I am pleased to be replacing Ms. Vignola, who is at the United Nations.
I would like to thank Mr. Housefather for giving me the rest of his speaking time. That was very kind.
Mr. Hutton, when I think of McKinsey, I think of U.S. Steel, which was just presented as an isolated case. I also think of Enron, the commercial papers, corruption in South Africa, the tobacco industry in the United States, corruption in Saudi Arabia, the opioid crisis in the United States, the events in France during Mr. Macron's election campaign and a company that worked for the Chinese military and the U.S. military at the same time.
Is there any indication at all that McKinsey's ethical conduct improved before the Government of Canada did business with this firm?
I only know what's in the public domain about these contracts. I've no special inside knowledge.
With regard to the Business Development Bank, to me, as an experienced person in this field, there are red flags all over the situation. The public is outraged at it, and rightly so. I don't think there are any hidden facts that we're unaware of that would make this all seem good. It looks to me just like what the public thinks it is.
With regard to the pay centre, I have some inside information there because I've been following Phoenix very closely and actually conducted my own investigation using whistle-blowers at one point. I'm just stunned that so much time, money and effort would have been spent looking at the pay centre when the fundamental problem in Phoenix is that the software does not work and has never worked.
I'll give you some statistics. For five years after the rollout, somewhere between 40% and 51% of all employees' pay slips were wrong in the course of a year. Finally, in the sixth year, there was some improvement. However, there were five years of zero improvement in the software, so clearly the government is working on the wrong things.
Focusing on the pay centre.... The pay centre has had two roles in this whole saga. One is as a dumping ground for problems. Anyone who would have spent time at the pay centre would have known years before the rollout that this project was doomed. The other role of the pay centre is being a scapegoat. We see all this focus on the backlog, which is actually a huge pile of rework caused by faulty software, and these poor people are struggling in trying to do all of this rework.
It's really insane to be putting up huge amounts of money, and I can guarantee you that McKinsey's involvement at the pay centre was highly disruptive to the operations and difficult for the staff. As to whether it produced any results, I'd be very skeptical.
I understand you're asking if Canada is out of step in comparison to other countries.
I would say that Canada is doing pretty much the same thing that France has done. In terms of all other countries I know about or that are reported in the book that I showed earlier, Canada is doing exactly the same thing. If that is correct or isn't correct, I can't say, but they are doing exactly the same thing.
The recipe for McKinsey is to do the same all over, all the time, everywhere in the world, so they are doing the same thing in Canada as they have been doing for very many years. It's no different here from what it has been elsewhere. The French Senate said there can be such a thing as too much consulting, and there can be such a thing as too much consulting in Canada.
As an example, a journalist was talking to me the other day. He was saying that they asked McKinsey for consulting in the field of tourism. My colleague knows that in his university there's a school of tourism, and in my university there's a school of tourism, and there are God knows how many schools of tourism in Canada. Why do we ask McKinsey for consulting in the field of tourism? All they had to do was call those universities to ask for consulting, which would have cost a very small fraction of what they paid to McKinsey.
I'd like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people.
Thank you, Chair and members of the committee, for having me here again today.
Good day, everyone.
I am Alexander Jeglic. I am the procurement ombudsman.
I'd like to start by explaining my office's role in federal procurement, as some of you were not part of this committee when I was last here in February 2022.
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman opened in 2008 with a focus on providing Canadian businesses, mostly small and medium-sized, an avenue of recourse for procurement and contracting issues. My office operates at arm's length from other federal organizations, including Public Service and Procurement Canada. While I report to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the minister has no involvement in my office's daily activities or the contents of my reports.
We are a neutral and independent federal organization with a government‑wide mandate, with the exception of Crown corporations, the Senate, the House of Commons and certain federal security agencies.
Specifically, my legislative mandate is first to review complaints from Canadian suppliers about the award of a federal contract below $30,300 for goods and $121,200 for services. Second, it's to review complaints respecting the administration of a contract, regardless of dollar value. Third, it's to review the procurement practices of federal departments to assess fairness, openness, transparency and consistency with laws, policies and guidelines.
Unlike complaints, these larger systemic reviews examine the procurement practices of federal departments by reviewing multiple procurement files. As part of our five-year review, we have traditionally looked at a sample size of 40 files by reviewing documents and information provided by the reviewed department.
In terms of good practices to ensure fairness, openness and transparency in federal procurement, my office has identified these three highest‑risk procurement elements.
We use them as lines of inquiry to assess the highest-risk procurement elements.
The first is the establishment of evaluation criteria and selection plans. The second is the bid solicitation process. The third is the evaluation of bids and the contract award.
While these systemic reviews point out good practices that can be emulated by other departments, they mainly identify areas where departments can take concrete steps to improve the overall fairness, openness and transparency of their procurement practices. Any recommendations made in these reviews are designed to improve these practices and do not focus on individual complainants or winning and losing bidders in the same way that reviews of specific complaints do.
Prior to launching a review, I must determine whether there are reasonable grounds to do so, taking into account several factors, such as consistency with the Financial Administration Act and the government's contracting regulations, the resources required by the department to respond to the review, observations of previous audits or assessments and the time elapsed since the previous review of the practices of that department.
Four, we also offer dispute resolution services, which we offer with our certified mediators from our office. Either a supplier or a department can request our mediation services; both parties have to voluntarily agree to participate in order for the mediation session to take place. This is a highly successful and effective service offered by my office. Unfortunately, it is underutilized by federal departments. There are no dollar threshold limitations associated with our mediation services. We can mediate contracts valued at $5,000 or $50 million, and we offer a quick, inexpensive and effective alternative to litigation.
Five, we also draft research studies on important issues in federal procurement.
Six, my office is also very involved in helping to diversify the federal supply chain. We've hosted a summit for the last four years in which we help to provide diverse and indigenous-owned businesses with access to the tools and information necessary to win federal contracts. Last year we had over 850 participants attend the summit online, and we hope to be able to continue to grow this important initiative in the future if our funding allows for it. The next summit is to be held virtually on April 4 and 5 this year, and I'd like to invite anyone interested to register with my office.
Now that I've shared more information about the nature of the work of my office, I'll turn my attention to why I'm here today.
On February 3, I received a letter from the , the honourable Helena Jaczek, to conduct a procurement practice review to examine the procurement practices used by federal departments and agencies to acquire services through contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company. At this time, we have not yet launched a review, but we believe we have the mandate and reasonable grounds to do so, based on the request of the minister and the results of our previous reviews.
We look forward to discussing our role in this review with the committee. I would also like to thank the OGGO committee for its support of my office, which has helped increase visibility and awareness among Canadian suppliers and federal buyers.
Thank you for your attention. My office remains available to work with committee members as long as necessary.
I'd be pleased to answer your questions.
Thank you very much.
Sure. It's a pretty lengthy answer, but if you will bear with me, I will provide it.
We establish the criteria for the five-year review based on the issues brought to my office. One of the members of the committee identified the top issue. We looked at those issues, and they seemed to be repetitive in nature.
When I first joined the office I said that just reporting about these issues was insufficient. What more could we do as an office? As a result, we leveraged our mandate by converting those issues into lines of inquiry. We hoped to review the top 20 departments and agencies within the federal department in terms of value and volume by looking at those top 10 issues.
Unfortunately or fortunately, the Treasury Board contracting policy was sunsetted during that time frame, so the rules changed and it no longer made sense to pursue the final three. We have done 17 reviews now of these departments and agencies.
In terms of methodology, our scope is relatively clear, so it's competitive contracts that we have been looking at. There are exclusions: Any directed contract, acquisition card activity or activity in which the department is not the contracting authority would be immediately be out of our scope.
We looked at a sample of 40 files in those instances. In those 40 files, we took the top 10 in terms of value and we took the bottom 10 in terms of value. We took some that used PSPC methods of supply and then we had it randomized, so it was a judgmental sample. Once we finished with the judgmental sample, we would ask to receive documentation from the department. Then the sample would be identified from the documentation provided.
The next step would be that after we reviewed each file meticulously, we would offer preliminary observations to the departments themselves. The department would then have the opportunity to explain some of those preliminary observations and provide additional material if necessary, and then we would continue on with the review.
The next phase would be a 30-working-day period during which the department can comment on any recommendation. We often divide that 30-working-day period into two parts, with a 20-day review period and a 10-day review period to allow the working level to receive the first draft in the first 20 days. Then in the final 10-day period, it goes to the deputy for comment.
Once those comments are received, we then finalize the report. Once the report is finalized, it will be shared with the minister pursuant to the legislation and the regulations. Then we publish the report on our website and we push out the information in our reports on our social media account.
It's a fair question, and I anticipated the question.
Obviously, we don't have a defined scope yet, but we have planned methodologies and some criteria. Some of the aspects we have discussed internally are a mixed methodology of document review and also meeting with departmental officials. We're going to look at both competitive and directed contracts.
On the sample size, again, I have been listening to the testimony. Our anticipated sample size is in line with what we have heard, but we're not going to rely on the information that's produced to that office; we're only going to rely on information that's provided to our office. If the sample size is larger, that's the sample size we will deal with. If it's not sufficient as a smaller sample, we will actually review all of the files.
In terms of the years, I know the OAG has been tasked with 2011 onward, but 2011 would be longer than the retention period of the documentation, so whether we would consider going back to 2011 is something we will look at.
Also, there are rules that apply. The rules shift during that period of time, and there are a number of rules that apply. Again, there are likely multiple departments that are implicated.
Then there is the aspect of resources as well. That's a significant issue, and it's something I highlighted to the minister in my response after she wrote to me on February 3. I responded on February 8, identifying the existing cadre of files we're currently working on, including four systemic reviews, three reviews of complaints and multiple follow-up exams. I identified that resources are an issue and that we wouldn't be able to provide a comprehensive review unless additional resources were provided, and the minister assured us that those resources would be provided. We have met with departmental officials who have assured us that those resources will be forthcoming.
Thank you so much for being here and for your work.
I wrote you on November 10, just after this committee supported my motion, the NDP's motion, recommending that the Auditor General conduct and prioritize a performance audit for all aspects regarding the ArriveCAN app.
I wrote to you asking that you consider doing an analysis of any contracts regarding ArriveCAN and that you look at whether they were awarded on a non-competitive basis and were issued in compliance with the Financial Administration Act and its regulations and applicable policies and procedures.
Are you looking at all of those components when it comes to McKinsey? You talked about resources and looking to the CFO. Will you be looking for all of those components when you do your review?
Just to be clear, that number has been reduced to 36%, but nonetheless, that 36% is still an alarming figure. If you're running a competitive process and you're allocating resources to do so, and you receive only one bidder, ultimately it's not much of a competitive process.
We have concerns—and we raised concerns—around some of the issues that were raised for our attention, such as the restrictive nature, perhaps, of some of the mandatory and rated criteria.
Also, one of the things that's been brought to our attention is that often suppliers are unwilling to bid when they know there's an incumbent. The rationale is that they believe the incumbent has an inherent advantage to succeed, and they therefore do not participate in those processes.
As someone who files hundreds of ATIPs every year and then waits years and years, I'm not sure if that's possible.
Colleagues, before we start with the five-minute rounds, we're running a bit late. We started late, so we're going to run to 5:47 p.m. We'll do five minutes with the Conservatives and five with the Liberals and then finish up with two and a half and two and half, and then I need two or three minutes for some hopefully quick housekeeping items.
Ms. Kusie, go ahead, please, for five minutes.
That's an excellent question. I will specifically mention those concerns because it's important that exact information be provided.
The contract was awarded on June 3, 2020, for a value of $452,000, by Innovation, Science and Economic Development, ISED. I'll just read the concerns as we reported them in our report, if you don't mind.
Under "Bid evaluation process”, and this is again general,
A significant numbers of files had issues with the bid evaluation procedures resulting in contracts being wrongly awarded or bidders incorrectly being found non-compliant.
In one file, for economic analysis services, the solicitation had 5 mandatory and 5 point rated criteria and a basis of selection of highest combined rating of technical merit and price. Two bids were received. A 3-person bid evaluation team conducted the technical evaluation and determined that both bids met all mandatory criteria and exceeded the minimum points requirement for point rated criteria. The contracting authority then completed the evaluation process by conducting the financial evaluation which determined the lower [ranking] technical [bidder] was ranked 1st overall based on its lower price and superior financial score. After the results were shared with the bid evaluation team, the technical authority said he was concerned that they may have overlooked something in the mandatory criteria and wanted to re-evaluate the 1st overall ranked bid. The contracting authority initially told the evaluators 'unfortunately, since the financial evaluation has been completed and we had already come to a consensus on the technical evaluation we cannot go back now.' The response from one of the evaluators stated he would be 'happy to delete the financial evaluation email.' Ultimately, ISED did revise its evaluation of the 1st ranked [bidder] and deemed it non-compliant for not meeting all mandatory criteria. While some aspects of the procurement process were well documented, there was a significant shortcoming with respect to documentation [on] the decision to allow the evaluators to change their evaluation of the 1st ranked bid after they learned the results of the process. The actions taken and ultimate results of this evaluation process leave ISED open to the perception that this contract was not awarded in a fair [open] and transparent manner.
We made an associated recommendation that ISED
should update its procurement guidance and training and implement an oversight process and review mechanisms to ensure that evaluations are carried out in accordance with the planned approach specified in the solicitation, and that contracts are not awarded to non-compliant bidders.
As you can imagine, the context is slightly different. We were not focused on suppliers when doing these reviews; we were focused exclusively on the practices of the department.
I can provide the second example if you'd like.
The second example is for a contract with IRCC, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This was a contract worth $1,593,000 awarded pursuant to the TSPS supply arrangement. It was for a service transformation strategy road map. The issue here is,
Mandatory criteria were inadequately defined, and were not limited to the essential qualifications.
In 1file for expert advice [relating] to a transformation strategy that was subject to the North American Free Trade Agreement...and the World Trade Organization...on Government Procurement...a mandatory criteria required bidders to demonstrate experience in 4 transformation studies 'where the Bidder was not involved with the implementation of the solution.' Both NAFTA and the WTO-AGP require that the conditions for participation by suppliers in tendering procedures are 'limited to those that are essential to ensure the fulfilment of the contract in question.' In this case, it is unclear why a bidder's involvement in the 'implementation of the solution' would be considered a necessary exclusion. IRCC received numerous comments from interested suppliers regarding the restrictive nature of [this] criteria. The criteria was not changed and the solicitation process resulted in only 1 compliant bid with the bidder receiving a perfect score in the technical evaluation.
I can answer both of those questions.
For a practice review, as I mentioned, when we structured the five-year review, we took the information that was already being provided to our office. Perhaps a person might not be within the mandate to file a review of complaint because a year or 60 days had gone by and they were no longer able to bring a complaint, or they didn't want to file with the International Trade Tribunal. Nonetheless, we take the complaint and try to resolve it informally.
However, we also categorize it based on the issue. Feeling that you were unfairly overlooked, not being provided with a debrief, or feeling that questions were unclear are examples of issues that were brought to our attention. We categorize those, and each year we identify the top 10 in a list. When we created that top-10 list, as I mentioned, we brought it to the attention of parliamentarians by way of our annual report.
When I became ombudsman, it felt very unsatisfying to simply leave it as identifying these issues. That's why we developed these three lines of inquiry to focus on addressing and validating some of these concerns. As I mentioned, we're not through all 17 of the reviews, but we have some preliminary data that I could share with the committee on how valuable and valid some of those complaints to our offices are.
Suppliers will predominantly come to you and say, “Hey, look, there is a belief that there were unfair practices.” You would then look at the trend over the last five years and say, “Let's look at these top 10 procurement practice reviews. Let's do those, and then the recommendation.” I have it.
Over the last five years, how many complaints have you had from other consulting firms that have come to you, specifically as it relates to McKinsey? I think you brought two of them up.
In general, how many cases have you had, and how many were focused on McKinsey?
We'll let you go, but thank you again for all of your work. I do consider you a friend of OGGO and I appreciate your time today.
Colleagues, really quickly, we have a couple of things.
On the travel expenditure report for the Governor General, I have a motion here. It is, “That members submit their draft recommendations for the report on travel expenditures related to the Office of the Governor General's Secretary since 2014, to the clerk of the committee by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.”
If we can have agreement on that, we can get our recommendations in and actually write a report.
On the other issue, you would have seen that several letters have come from McKinsey pushing back on our motion. Recently, they were asking to submit redacted items at the request of the government.
I am going to suggest, but I will seek the committee's will, that we write back. I think this is the fourth time they've written to try to push back on the motion that was passed. I would request the committee's permission that we write back in accordance with the motion that the chair of the committee, in conjunction with the clerk and the analysts, send a letter to McKinsey & Company insisting on the production of the unredacted documents sent for in the motion adopted by the committee on January 18, 2023.
They've written to try to push back on this. We've written saying that the committee would like this. This is their fourth time, so I'm just suggesting we write one final time to say that we'd like to have the motion followed.
Go ahead, Mr. Housefather.