Province announces new strategy to modernize purchasing, drive innovation

Jinny Sims
Official photo

THE Province on Monday announced a new procurement strategy to change the way government buys goods and services and make it easier for businesses to access opportunities.

“We will take full advantage of government’s buying power to create opportunities for businesses of all sizes. These changes will help grow local economies, create jobs throughout the province, and make good use of made-in-B.C. innovation,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “By simplifying the procurement process, we will provide value for taxpayers and ensure the opportunities are shared with people and communities around the province.”

Government’s modernized approach to procurement will remove barriers for small, medium and Indigenous businesses; promote innovation; increase the focus on social, environmental and economic outcomes for people and communities; and enhance procurement capacity within ministries. The strategy also improves transparency in the Province’s purchasing processes.

The major changes in the strategy include:

* Streamlining processes to make access to opportunities more transparent and less cumbersome by replacing the 20-year-old BC Bid system.

* Designing clear, simple-to-use processes targeted to the size of the procurement.

* Introducing a “procurement concierge” program, to act as a matchmaker between government buyers and suppliers of innovative products.

* Creating opportunities for startups to co-develop solutions with buyers, and ensuring, wherever possible, local supply lines are utilized.

* Ensuring B.C. suppliers are preferred, while still meeting trade obligations.

* Creating a new analysis process for large strategic contracts to improve opportunity for businesses of all sizes.

* Introducing new social and environmental purchasing guidelines to realize added benefits for British Columbians.

* Implementing a centralized tool to manage pre-qualified contractor lists.

“Making it simpler and more straightforward for B.C. companies of all sizes to sell to the provincial government is a good thing for our economy,” said Jill Tipping, President and CEO, BC Tech Association. “B.C.’s tech companies can bring tremendous value to government through innovation, user-oriented design and speed to market. And having the provincial government as a reference customer will help tech companies grow sales within B.C. and for export.”

B.C.’s new procurement strategy included input from over 200 vendor representatives and industry groups from the technology, construction and economic sectors, as well as government ministries.

“Procuring construction services in the public sector is highly specialized,” said Chris Atchison, President, B.C. Construction Association. “At BCCA, we have been working very closely with the Ministry of Citizen’s Services and other branches of government to be a champion for fair, open and transparent processes. Modernization is a big part of that, and we sincerely applaud the efforts of Minister Sims and her team – not least because government, as a major owner of construction, has the potential to positively impact thousands of construction contracts through its approach to procurement.”

The B.C. government spends over $6 billion annually on goods and services.

“Delivering good value for dollars spent, driving innovation and creating good paying jobs across our province, this new procurement strategy means B.C. is open for business,” Sims said.


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