Interview with Emilio Franco, Senior Director, Procurement Business Modernization, PSPC

If you are one of the thousands of suppliers or businesses that have been providing products and services to the Government of Canada, you would be familiar with BuyandSell. BuyandSell is a platform that the government has been using for many years to post tender opportunities for interested parties to submit bids for products and services required by the government. 

Over the past few months, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has been transitioning to a new tendering platform after consulting with businesses across Canada. To streamline procurement processes and to move from paper-based to online procurement, PSPC launched CanadaBuys, a new suite of online procurement services, a few months ago. 

CanadaBuys operates on the SAP Ariba platform, a web-based tool that allows businesses to view and bid on opportunities with the Government of Canada. To make the transition from BuyandSell to CanadaBuys seamless, PSPC is rolling out the transition over time and in phases.

Vanguard recently had the opportunity to interview Emilio Franco, Senior Director, Procurement Business Modernization, PSPC about Canada’s new online procurement system – CanadaBuys. Since our interview, Mr. Franco has moved to another Department within the Government of Canada.

To begin, please provide an overview of CanadaBuys and why now is the right time to move to this system? 

Canadian companies have long asked the federal government to improve its relationship with suppliers—to make opportunities easier to find, simpler to navigate and faster to award, with less administrative burden. Government procurement is heavily paper-based and offers limited self-serve options for suppliers

CanadaBuys is a new suite of online procurement services launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). It significantly improves and streamlines how we do business and makes our procurement processes simpler, more efficient, and easier to use and access by moving everything online. 

As part of CanadaBuys, PSPC is using SAP Ariba, a cloud-based procurement solution where suppliers and federal buyers can connect on a single platform. It allows registered businesses to more easily bid on tender opportunities and manage contracts and orders for goods and services from the Government of Canada.

What are the major benefits of using a cloud-based tool like SAP Ariba for online procurement

Transitioning procurement to an automated and online platform is a key element of moving towards a more efficient procurement system. Online procurement will allow more suppliers to connect with the Government, and make government procurement opportunities more accessible to potential suppliers, regardless of their size or geographic location. 

Suppliers will be able to: 

  • access Government of Canada opportunities for free
  • create one company profile; no more resubmitting the same profile with each new bid 
  • work in a safe and secure online environment
  • improve their bid quality by obtaining responses directly in an online form
  • receive notifications for tender or contract expiry dates, amendments, competition extensions and cancellations, and more
  • save time by eliminating the need to drop off paper copies of bids 

What are some of the challenges in transitioning over to this new system? 

The transition from BuyandSell to CanadaBuys is taking place gradually and following a pragmatic, progressive and agile approach. This means taking small steps, while assessing and addressing challenges, if they arise, along the way. In comparison to a more traditional approach to implementation, this approach provides opportunities to take stock of our progress and make adjustments as needed. 

We recognize that the transition from BuyandSell to CanadaBuys may raise questions, and potentially be confusing for some suppliers. We are focused on making available and providing clear information on the transition to suppliers. CanadaBuys will keep suppliers informed and provide resources and support every step of the way to make the transition to online procurement seamless.

What percentage of tender opportunities are now available on CanadaBuys and when do you expect that the full transition will be completed?

The transition to CanadaBuys is occurring in stages, over time. For now, some tender opportunities on Buyandsell will redirect suppliers to SAP Ariba, where businesses will be able to view tender opportunity details as well as bid online. Gradually, more and more tender opportunities will be conducted using SAP Ariba and we expect that all procurements managed by PSPC for the Government of Canada will be in SAP Ariba by end of 2021.

Later this summer, a new Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) is scheduled to launch on CanadaBuys and will replace The new GETS is designed to make it easier for suppliers to find and understand government opportunities. By September 2022, the new tendering service on CanadaBuys will cover all Canadian public sector entities, including provinces, territories, municipalities and public academic, social and health institutions.

The full transition of BuyandSell to CanadaBuys is targeted for Summer 2022.

Since summer 2020, SAP Ariba has been used for some COVID 19 related procurements (gowns, cloth masks, isolation sites, etc.) and more and more procurements, conducted by PSPC to fight the pandemic, are being conducted through it.

What are the steps a company/business need to take to be able to access the SAP Ariba system and how intuitive is it to work with? 

Businesses are invited to visit our Getting Started page on to find out how to prepare for selling to the Government of Canada. From there, suppliers can find a number of resources available to them, including a registration checklist and step-by-step guide that will help suppliers create an account. We encourage businesses to register early so that this step is completed and they can put their focus on preparing a bid when the time comes. 

Millions of companies around the world use SAP Ariba, so some suppliers may already have an account. Suppliers that already have an account will simply need to answer a few additional questions in order to view and bid on Government of Canada tender opportunities. 

PSPC designed CanadaBuys with suppliers to make it easier for them to find and understand government opportunities and our testing with suppliers has shown significant improvements in usability compared to BuyandSell.

Other than the current training modules available with the SAP Ariba software, are you planning to conduct additional training sessions in video or other formats to assist suppliers to make full use of CanadaBuys?

Our CanadaBuys Resource Center includes a number of helpful how-to articles, step-by-step guides, and videos to support suppliers every step of the way and to make the transition to online procurement seamless. Suppliers can also register for one of our Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) business seminars on finding opportunities and supplying goods and services to the Government of Canada.

In cases where suppliers encounter difficulties using SAP Ariba, is there a helpline or online chat that they can request real-time help or direction from? If not, are there plans to implement?

Our goal is to help suppliers in doing business with the Government of Canada. That’s why our new CanadaBuys Service Desk is an important element in supporting companies as they transition to, or register in, CanadaBuys . In addition to finding helpful how-to articles and info in our Resource Centre, suppliers can call us, email us, and yes, even chat with us. We’re proud to be one of the first Government of Canada services to offer live chat, providing a more modern and convenient means for helping businesses. Our support services are available Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm EST.

Will the rest of the information on BuyandSell (for e.g., SACC, Supply Manual, Contract History, etc.) remain on BuyandSell, or will they also be migrated over to CanadaBuys?

As stated earlier, the full transition of BuyandSell to CanadaBuys is targeted for Summer 2022. We are beginning to transition content from the Buyandsell website to CanadaBuys (e.g. procurement information, policies and guidelines, etc.). The transition is expected to take place in stages. As pages go up on, content on will be removed or redirected (thereby ensuring only one source for information). 

For those who are critical about using an online procurement system like SAP Ariba for security reasons or other concerns, what would you say to them?

PSPC is committed to protecting the privacy and security of supplier information. CanadaBuys is a safe and secure online environment – our service providers are contractually obligated to fulfill the same comprehensive security measures and requirements as those of the Government of Canada.

As required in its contract with the Government of Canada, the contractor (Infosys and partners such as SAP), have implemented robust data security measures (including physical, administrative, and technological safeguards) to protect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of personal information collected and used on CanadaBuys.  

In today’s world, more and more business is conducted online. With CanadaBuys, and its new suite of online procurement services, PSPC is proud to be moving to doing business with suppliers online; as millions of them are already doing across the world.

To learn more about CanadaBuys, go to