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Innovation Canada: A Call to Action
Special Report on Procurement


In principle, procurement is attractive as a tool in supporting business innovation because it is a demand-driven, near-market complement to supply-side innovation support. For various historical reasons, it has proven difficult in practice to mobilize procurement for innovation. We can, however, learn from other countries and develop a set of policies and practices suited to the Canadian context, building incrementally on recent improvements.

The most immediate challenge is to take advantage of planned defence and security procurement by taking bolder steps in directions already established: identifying additional strategic industrial capabilities, mobilizing resources to support technology development in those areas and better using the procurement system writ large to provide business opportunities to Canadian companies on a more expansive value-for-money basis that takes into account long-term, life cycle benefits to the government as purchaser as well as to the broader Canadian economy.

There is also the need to put in place more general measures that will change the procurement culture over the longer term away from lowest cost to best value based on leading-edge innovation. If well planned and well executed, the modest investments contemplated by the measures outlined in this report should not result in higher procurement costs to the government relative to the benefits of superior goods and services, while providing critical innovation support to Canadian industry, especially SMEs.