ACEC Advocacy at Work: Defending the industry’s right to participate in federal procurement

ACEC defends opportunity for firms to participate in federal procurement in official language of their choice 

In response to a new procurement policy, ACEC has made specific recommendations to the federal government to ensure member firms have the opportunity to participate in federal procurements across Canada. 

The new policy (PN)-48R1- which requires all engineering documents to be prepared in both official languages, regardless of location or demand - is a result of a directive from the Official Languages Commissioner. ACEC believes the intent of the directive is to allow firms to participate in federal procurement opportunities in their language of choice, which ACEC supports in principle.

However, ACEC is concerned that the initial interpretation and response by the federal government and its resultant policy will have the unintended consequence of precluding hundreds of consulting engineering and architecture firms from participating in federal procurement. The policy is also likely to have significant impacts on the cost and schedule of federal projects, as well as significant implications for commercial and professional liability. Therefore, ACEC has also engaged Nanos Research to conduct independent third-party research to identify and quantify the impacts of the new policy on consulting engineering firms and on the federal government's ability to deliver its capital programs.

ACEC has responded with pragmatic recommendations that would preserve some of the practical flexibility under previous procurement requirements while complying with the directive of the Official Languages Commissioner.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has in turn expressed openness to ACEC’s concerns and recommendations. They have committed to working more closely with ACEC and other stakeholders and to increased communication and engagement with industry. 

While ACEC has been raising this issue with the federal government for several months, recent discussions facilitated by the four provincial Atlantic Canada Member Organizations and PSPC's Atlantic Region have been particularly helpful and collaborative. ACEC wishes to acknowledge and thank all groups for their assistance in facilitating these discussions.

View ACEC’s recommendations