The Government of Canada is eager to buy from small businesses. My 2017 post Winning Contracts With the Government of Canada explained how to register as a supplier to this annual $15-billion to $20-billion market. How to Market Your Services to the Feds, meanwhile, suggested ways to continually keep your small firm top-of-mind with federal buyers.
Now let’s take a closer look at ProServices, a mandatory government-wide purchasing tool on which even one-person editing or writing shops should get listed.
ProServices . . .
- is a list of pre-approved suppliers that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has asked more than 100 Government of Canada departments and agencies to use for most professional services contracts worth up to $106,000, the NAFTA threshold as of January 2018
- covers 158 job roles, including:
- Category 4.14, technical writer for information technology (IT)
- Category 10.10, technical writer for non-IT purposes, and
- Category 10.11, communications consultant (the role under which editing falls)
- divides each job role into levels of experience: junior (five years or less), intermediate (five to 10 years) and senior (10 or more years)
- is ideal for small businesses because, unlike other government-wide buying tools, firms don’t need to meet revenue targets for past projects to be eligible
- has easy-to-meet criteria:
- your firm must have been in business for at least one year and
- you need only provide contact details for a client reference who can confirm that you’ve performed services like those in the ProServices categories you’re eyeing
- opens up its supplier list (“refreshes” it, in government lingo) once each quarter to give new firms a chance to apply or existing award holders the opportunity to pursue other job roles
- can sponsor you to get security clearance without having a federal contract in place first — the traditional way of getting clearance (PSPC can also upgrade your existing level of clearance)
- these days, every Government of Canada supplier must be a structured business, such as a sole proprietorship, with separate organizational security clearance for its company and personnel security clearance for staff members
- this policy applies even to independent professionals, including subcontractors working for a bigger company like a temp agency.
Why the Government of Canada needs editors and writers
ProServices’ next refresh period will likely run from April until the last business day in June. Deadlines are still to be confirmed. ProServices tenders are not posted on buyandsell.gc.ca, since contract values do not exceed the NAFTA threshold. Your marketing skills will be pivotal in uncovering opportunities.
Some opportunities will relate to the federal government’s Canada.ca project, a massive effort to reshape 1,500 websites into one clear, simple overarching site. Revising and shortening text to meet the plain-language, web-friendly demands of the new Canada.ca Content Style Guide is key. Luckily, Editors Canada members can download free English and French recordings of an excellent webinar on web writing for the Government of Canada. The December 2017 webinars were presented by then-senior content strategist Julie Dufour of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
One final point: one of the few job roles not covered by ProServices is translation. To supply translation services, apply to become a supplier for the Government of Canada’s Translation Bureau.
Previous post from Marion Soublière: Attending Conferences at Home and Abroad? Aye!
The Editors’ Weekly is the official blog of Editors Canada. Contact us.