‘Is there bureaucratic oversight?’: Federal contracts under scrutiny

The federal government spends too much on contracts with too little accountability, critics say, calling for change and reform.

Deal with consulting firm McKinsey & Company gets special attention from congressional standpoint Committee About government operations in recent weeks. The company has received his $104.6 million from 24 contracts since the Liberal took power in 2015, but nearly all of his decade of Conservative government under Stephen Harper. The contract was for him for $2.2 million.

However, Carleton University School of Public Policy and Management (SPPA) research project discovered $17.1 million The prize awarded to McKinsey for fiscal year 2021-22 ranked 191st out of approximately 1,848 recipients on the list. Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions is $1.14 billionranked first as the largest beneficiary of an estimated $22.2 billion contract that year.

Ken Coates, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy, said contracts have a role, but spending needs to be careful.

“These are extraordinary times. So COVID, the series of crises related to air travel, and all these other kinds of things have resulted in a significant amount of consulting work. , we cannot work on anything that is urgent and needs attention within the next three weeks,” Coates said in an interview.

“Short-term problem solving, policy making, [contracting out is] Very helpful. But I think people are upset by the scale of it and the fact that it’s happening in tandem with the expansion of the civil service. ”

The liberal government has increased the number of civil servants by more than 30% since taking office, including 8,570 new federal employees from 2021-2022.

“I don’t think we are in a war regime in Canada, but the government is acting as if we are. But we also have this deal,” Coates said.

“The problem with the contract is that it is not subject to the same oversight by the government. It’s so fast and so little scrutinized that there’s reason to worry.”

“necessary dynamic”

Amanda Clarke, an associate professor at Carlton’s SPPA, told government affairs. Committee .

“The demand for an infallible government makes it very difficult to be creative and innovative in public service,” she said.

The Epoch Times reached out to public policy experts with decades of experience to evaluate Clarke’s assessment. He said there was “a lot of truth and value” in her comments, but decided not to give more details because being named could affect his involvement in his parliamentary work. requested anonymity.

“The current federal government has increased the level of intervention in the management of lower-level decisions.

“Part of this is being done because central authorities and their advisers do not have full trust in public officials. This lack of confidence may or may not be justified. , tend to create an environment that does not rely on regular civil servants or will not be developed to be more reliable in the future.”

The government, sometimes under the influence of the vendors themselves, has layered many “slogans and campaigns” on bureaucrats, experts said. paralyze.

“We have to have endless meetings just to develop ideas about how to respond. This is an area where better development of staff and expertise could help. If the accumulation of slogans and directives wasn’t such a problem, the problem wouldn’t be so serious,” he said.

“There is a solution, but it needs to be implemented in many areas at the same time and in a coordinated manner.

The Epoch Times contacted the Treasury Office and the Canadian Minister of Public Services and Procurement, but did not hear back prior to publication.


The House of Commons passed a motion sponsored by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis on February 7. The motion calls for auditors to investigate funds given to McKinsey.

Coates believes that a cost-effectiveness assessment is essential for any major government contract, and that Congressional committees should receive the necessary reports to assess their merits.

“We are now choosing McKinsey, but Ernst & Young and other major accounting firms, Deloitte, have incredible international connections and the Canadians have that global reach. It presents an amazing and astounding opportunity to benefit from our extensive expertise.

“But the question is who are they reporting to? Can Congress see the work, can they see the reports? Is there bureaucratic oversight? Is it being used properly and is there a follow-up to see if it has been used properly?”