Power of the Purchase Order – Unlocking the Potential of Public Procurement in Ontario

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released Power of the Purchase Order: Modernizing Public Sector Procurement in Ontario, a report addressing the critical need for transformation in Ontario’s procurement practices.

Ontario spends nearly $30 billion each year procuring goods and services, from pencils to hospitals. When making those purchases, government and the broader public sector have a responsibility to provide value for taxpayers, as well as a unique ability to foster new markets, innovation, improved living standards, and economic development by virtue of their spending power.

However, public procurement outcomes in Ontario are often not met. The process tends to lack collaboration, discourage investment, misallocate risk, and prioritize short-term costs over long-term value. Procurement modernization is a major opportunity to transform health care and other public services, build more resilient supply chains, and create greater social and economic value for Ontarians.

In 2020, the Province announced the establishment of a new Crown agency – Supply Ontario – with a mandate to modernize public procurement in the province. The agency now has an opportunity to build a collaborative procurement process that maximizes long-term outcomes.

This policy brief assesses the current challenges with procurement in Ontario. It offers 23 recommendations to drive better outcomes across the broader public sector, with a particular focus on innovation, attracting investment from a range of businesses, and healthcare procurement.

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