Audit at a Glance—Chapter 2—Integrated Relocation Services

Audit at a Glance

Chapter 2—Procuring Relocation Services

What we examined (see Focus of the audit)

Our audit examined whether Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) fulfilled their responsibilities in awarding the 2009 contract for the Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) in accordance with the Treasury Board Contracting Policy, Government Contracts Regulations, and the PWGSC Supply Manual. We examined whether the decisions and actions of the organizations facilitated access and encouraged competition.

What we found

A series of decisions did not facilitate access and encourage competition (see paragraph 2.19)

We found that, for the most part, Public Works and Government Services Canada followed established processes in the awarding of the 2009 contract for relocation services for the Integrated Relocation Program. However, decisions and actions by officials were reactive and taken cumulatively, did not facilitate access and encourage competition, which resulted in limiting the response to one service provider. We found no evidence to suggest that this was done intentionally.

There was no procurement plan to guide the process (see paragraphs 2.20-2.24)

We found that, for this procurement, PWGSC did not follow its usual processes for establishing and documenting its procurement strategy in a formal procurement plan. PWGSC’s procurement plan was approved on 21 May 2009, three weeks after the request for proposals (RFP) had been issued and all the key decisions required to support the RFP had been made. We also found that, despite the lack of a formal plan, some planning elements occurred at the appropriate times.

This finding is important because the procurement plan was written to reflect earlier decisions and actions taken, and could not have been used to guide the procurement process and proactively identify and manage risks.  

Using a single contract did not facilitate access and encourage competition (see paragraphs 2.25-2.33)

This finding is important because, while the decision to award a single contract was in compliance with procurement policy and guidelines,the client organizations were aware that there was only one Canadian company that had the systems, regional representation, and infrastructure needed to meet the range and scope of services that one large contract for the IRP  would require. Given the likelihood that there would be little domestic competition, officials were of the view that a single contract could attract some interest from international firms and elicit more than one bid. While the client organizations’ view had been that one large contract could attract international competitors, they knew that there was a real possibility that this would not happen. In our opinion, this was an important decision that influenced the rest of the competition.

Missed milestones meant the RFP was issued late (see paragraphs 2.34-2.36)

This finding is important because meeting the dates agreed to by both the client organizations and PWGSC ensures that sufficient time is allocated to the production and review of key documents before their approval and release, and that sufficient time remains after contract award for a smooth transition to the new contract. We found that key milestones dates were not met.

The request for proposal did not reduce barriers to competition (see paragraphs 2.37-2.44)

This finding is important because the organizations realized that, as a result of their delays, a new contractor would not have enough time to establish operations. In addition, while small and medium enterprises could meet the mandatory requirement of providing relocation services for a minimum of 500 moves, they would be at a disadvantage compared to the incumbent, which had been delivering relocations on a large scale.

The organizations certified business volumes (see paragraphs 2.45-2.48)

We found that PWGSC sought and received individual verification and certification of historical relocation business volumes from Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the RCMP, and National Defence. We asked the organizations how they had verified and certified the historical business volumes. We found that, while the RCMP had a clear and reasonable statement of its methodology, it did not complete some of its verification process. National Defence and TBS were unable to provide us with evidence of the steps they took to verify business volumes.

This finding is important because the subject of inaccurate business volumes in the previous IRP procurements was a significant factor in the Superior Court of Ontario judgment against the Crown.

The evaluation team did not follow established processes (see paragraph 2.49-2.52)

We found that the rating criteria did not provide the bidders with the details that would allow them to determine whether their proposals would meet or exceed the requirements.  Moreover, we found that the evaluators did not follow the evaluation plan’s requirement that they write down their comments or rationales justifying the scores they assigned for each criterion and for how they arrived at the final aggregate score.

PWGSC did not follow through on its decision to determine whether the cost of the bid received was reasonable (see paragraphs 2.53-2.57)

This finding is important because PWGSC’s overall rationale for not following through on price justification was that the bid’s pricing was fair and reasonable and represented good value to Canada. This rationale was based on the fact that the price per file in the 2009 bid had decreased by about 18 percent from the 2004 contract price. However, we found no analysis to compare the reduction in price with changes in the levels of service.

The combined effects of actions and decisions did not facilitate access and encourage competition (see paragraphs 2.58-2.61)

We found that, while rules were followed for the most part, the combined impact of actions and decisions did not facilitate access and encourage competition.

What we recommended

Recommendation. For future Integrated Relocation Program procurements, Public Works and Government Services Canada, in collaboration with National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, should manage the procurement process as a project of significant complexity and risk, and manage it with sufficient oversight and accountability.


Public Works and Government Services Canada agrees with our recommendation, and has responded (see List of recommendations).

Why we did this audit

It is the policy of the federal government that employees and their families be relocated in the most efficient fashion, at the most reasonable cost to the public, while having a minimum detrimental effect on the employees, and departmental operations. To meet these goals, the Integrated Relocation Program began as a pilot program in April 1999 and became a permanent program in June 2002 for the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the federal public service.

Our 2006 audit concluded that the 2004 contracts had not been tendered in a fair and equitable manner. In May 2007, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts accepted our overall conclusions, stating that the Committee was profoundly dissatisfied with the manner in which the contracts had been issued and the way in which the departments involved had responded to the subsequent problems.

Details of the audit

Report of the

Auditor General of Canada

Type of product

Performance audit


  • Financial Management and Government Spending
  • Government Purchasing

Audited entities

  • Department of National Defence
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Completion date

31 January 2014

Tabling date

6 May 2014

Related audits

Chapter 5—Relocating Members of the Canadian Forces, RCMP, and Federal Public Service, 2006 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada

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