Whitehorse business says federal streamlining unfair to locals

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Whitehorse business says federal streamlining unfair to locals

The general manager of Klondike Business Solutions in Whitehorse is meeting with federal politicians later this week in Ottawa over changes to federal contracts for printing and copier services.

Paul Scholz is part of a delegation organized in part by Canon Canada.

The group is scheduled to meet Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement and her parliamentary secretary Steve MacKinnon, said Scholz. He said they'll also be talking to Conservative MPs Tony Clement and Pierre Poilievre.

The meetings are set for Wednesday and Thursday.

Scholz said the federal government currently lets about a dozen corporations compete for contracts.

When Canon gets a national contract, Klondike Business Solutions in Whitehorse gets the Yukon work. It's a significant part of the locally-owned business's revenue, he said.

But Scholz said Ottawa is consolidating the competition to just a couple of companies. If Canon is shut out, so is Klondike Business Solutions.

"They didn't consult or didn't take into consideration that many of these photocopiers are serviced by local businesses," he said.

Scholz said he can't see how reducing competition will benefit taxpayers or anybody else.

"Decrease the amount of competition, for the government, and typically when that happens it allows to prices to be raised by the people bidding on these when there's so few people," he said.

"But this would directly impact our business," said Scholz.

The federal Shared Services agency which manages the contracts says in an email to CBC that three companies will be chosen to bid on printing and copier service contracts. It says this change was widely supported within the industry.

It says small businesses are not losing out since they'll continue to do the work at the local level.

The changes are part of the agency's work to "improve the delivery of services, strengthen security and reduce costs," it says.

The federal government owns or leases about 90,000 printing devices, according to the agency.