Undisclosed federal Accenture contract was worth $146 million

07 April 2023 Consulting.ca 2 min. read
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The federal government’s undisclosed outsourcing contract to Accenture for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) pandemic loan program was worth $146 million, according to figures obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The Globe in February reported that Accenture’s largest pandemic-era contract – for CEBA administration – was not listed on the federal government’s online database for proactive disclosure. The site lists $67 million in contracts for Accenture, but not the CEBA work. Under an access-to-information request, The Globe revealed Accenture’s CEBA contract was worth $61.2 million until August 31, 2021.

Accenture’s responsibilities included website building, running a call centre for applicants, signing up financial institutions, running investigations, and collecting data.

The publication has now received updated figures from Export Development Canada (EDC), which was puzzlingly tasked with administering the massive $49-billion loan program. The crown corporation – whose remit pertains to helping Canadian businesses finance international deals – previously said it had to outsource the CEBA program because it fell outside its core work.

Undisclosed federal Accenture contract was worth $146 million

Indeed, just $12 million of CEBA’s overall $189-million budget was tied to work done by public servants. Accenture was paid $43 million in fiscal year 2020-21, $43 million in 2021-22, and $47 million up to January 31, 2022. EDC projects Accenture fees of $13 million for February and March, bringing the total bill to $146 million.

EDC’s updated financial statements also outline other CEBA outsourcing contracts. The crown corporation paid $2 million to KPMG, $3 million to Gartner, and $4.5 million to unnamed external legal firms.

A House of Commons committee is currently examining the sharp rise in outsourced consulting contracts under the Trudeau government. Outsourcing increased to $14.6 billion in FY21-22, up 74% from 2015.

The recently announced federal budget has pledged to save $7.1 billion over five years through reduced spending on outsourcing and travel.

NDP MP Gord Johns – who successfully lobbied to expand the committee’s study from just McKinsey & Company to also include the Big Four accountancies and Accenture – criticized the present government’s opacity in its outsourcing.

“There’s no transparency,” Johns said. “We have no idea, first, why they chose Accenture.”