Dear Minister Tassi:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Public Services and Procurement, you will continue to prioritize the procurement of the critical supplies necessary to respond to COVID-19. You will also leverage the government's purchasing power to increase access to economic opportunity for a greater diversity of Canadians. In addition, you will ensure federal procurement practices support Canada’s transition to a green economy, including through ongoing greening of government operations and procurement of Canadian clean technology.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Continue to procure COVID-19 therapeutics, tests and vaccines, for adults and children, to ensure all Canadians have access to free booster shots and second-generation vaccines as needed.
- Continue the modernization of procurement practices so they support Canada’s economic policy goals, including balanced procurement opportunities with Canada’s trading partners, provide value for money, are open and transparent and require suppliers of goods and services to apply the highest ethical and sustainability standards across their supply chains.
- To ensure that a whole-of-government approach is taken, support the Minister of Labour in introducing legislation to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses.
- Continue to advance government-wide initiatives to increase the diversity of bidders on government contracts, including small businesses and businesses led by Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, women, LGBTQ2 Canadians and other under-represented groups.
- Lead the implementation of the requirement for federal departments and agencies to ensure a minimum of 5 per cent of the total value of federal contracts are held by Indigenous businesses.
- Strengthen federal procurement practices to prioritize reusable and recyclable products in support of our goal of zero plastic waste and work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to support procurement of Canadian clean technology.
- Continue working with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and the Minister of National Defence, with the support of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, to renew the fleets of the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy, advance the shipbuilding industry, including the process to add a third Canadian shipyard as a strategic partner to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, create middle class jobs and ensure Canada has the modern ships needed.
- Continue to improve crossings in the National Capital Region, moving forward with Budget 2019 commitments to replace the Alexandra Bridge, addressing the demonstrated need for an additional National Capital Region crossing with the Long-Term Integrated Interprovincial Crossings Plan led by the National Capital Commission (NCC), and investing to rehabilitate and maintain existing crossings, including the Chaudière and Macdonald-Cartier bridges.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board to resolve outstanding Phoenix Pay System issues for public servants once and for all, while advancing work through Shared Services Canada on the Next Generation Pay and Human Resources System.
- Ensure that Canada Post provides the high-quality service that Canadians expect at a reasonable price and better reaches Canadians in rural and remote areas. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Rural Economic Development.
- Advance work to rehabilitate and reinvigorate places and buildings of national significance under the responsibility of the NCC and Public Services and Procurement Canada.
- Ensure the ongoing delivery of defence procurements in support of Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.
- Work with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Natural Resources to introduce a new Buy Clean Strategy to support and prioritize the use of made-in-Canada low-carbon products in Canadian infrastructure projects.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and to turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada