City Firm Fears Defence Dry-Up

By Cash, Martin | Winnipeg Free Press, March 18, 2014 | Go to article overview

City Firm Fears Defence Dry-Up


Cash, Martin, Winnipeg Free Press


DND's procurement revamp unlikely to help garment makers

The federal government has a new defence-industry procurement strategy in place that will allow Canadian suppliers more time to ramp up to meet the requirements.

Diane Finley, the minister of public works and government services, was in Winnipeg on Monday detailing the strategy.

But the new process might still be too little, too late for at least one Winnipeg Department of National Defence supplier.

Peerless Garments, a Winnipeg garment manufacturer, has been supplying Canadian Forces as well as RCMP with winter wear and all manner of technical garments for more than 60 years.

Albert El Tassi, president of the company, said Monday he is concerned about reports he's heard that the DND has put a hold on garment acquisitions for the military for the next 11/2 to two years.

"We will be starved," El Tassi said. "When they come back to buy again we will not be around."

The DND has a strict made-in-Canada policy for all uniforms for its service people and the policy has served Peerless well for many years.

But the company, with more than 100 Winnipeg employees, relies on those contracts for close to 85 per cent of its revenue and El Tassi said completion of contracts Peerless already has with the DND are vital to its survival.

The new defence-procurement strategy has a couple of key features, including putting the word out early about upcoming requests for proposals so potential Canadian suppliers can become better prepared to make successful bids.

As well, the new strategy proposes to revamp the manner in which industrial and regional benefits (IRB) are allocated.

In the past, when foreign suppliers won contracts to supply the Canadian military, those suppliers had to agree to spend a specified amount of money with Canadian companies relative to the size of the initial contract. …

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