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BC Sessional Papers

PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Fourth Annual Report of the Purchasing Commission January 1st, 1946, to… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly [1947]

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Fourth Annual Report of the
Purchasing Commission
January 1st, 1946, to December 31st, 1946
Printed by Don McDiaemid, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
1947.  Victoria, B.C., January 10th, 1947.
To His Honour C. A. Banks,
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia.
May it please Your Honour :
Herewith I beg respectfully to submit the Annual Report of the Purchasing Commission of the Department of Finance for the period January 1st, 1946, to December
31st, 1946.
Minister of Finance.
The Honourable Herbert Anscomb,
Minister of Finance, Victoria, B.C.
SIR,—We have the honour to submit the Fourth Annual Report of the Purchasing
Commission, covering the period January 1st, 1946, to December 31st, 1946.
Member.  Fourth Annual Report of the Purchasing Commission
for the Period January 1st, 1946, to December 31st, 1946.
It has been necessary each year, when presenting the annual report of the Purchasing Commission, to refer to the conditions governing the purchase of supplies,
especially those influenced by war-time scarcity. In the Annual Report, 1945, although
the war was over, reference was made to the unusual conditions and restrictions under
which operations were conducted, and many of these still prevail. Federal control of
price and supply still persists; and, in certain instances, even on contracts, the Commission has found it necessary to allow an increase to agree with the Federal ceiling
price. At various times throughout the year the Wartime Prices and Trade Board
. allowed increases in prices affecting contracts of Government institutions, notably for
coal-supplies, clothing, etc.
A considerable amount of material and equipment, which has been in short supply,
continues to be made available to us through War Assets Corporation, from whom daily
lists are received as various supplies are declared surplus. Full advantage is being
taken of the opportunities thus afforded for making such purchases on favourable
terms. The Commission gratefully acknowledges the co-operation received from all
officials of War Assets Corporation.
In an endeavour to prevent an undue proportion of the business of the Government
falling into the hands of a few, special instructions were issued at the first meeting held
in 1946 to so distribute the business that smaller firms might receive greater consideration, provided their prices were reasonable. Special study was given to the distribution
of lubricating-oil orders, and, in view of the large volume of business enjoyed by the
oil companies in the way of gasoline, etc., instructions were given to distribute
lubricating-oil orders to other firms where their products were acceptable and the
prices in line.
The policy of purchasing supplies in the locality where they are to be used has been
continued, although each case is treated on its own merits. In purchasing crockery for
Government institutions, for which large quantities are required, it was found difficult,
if not impossible, to obtain the usual English-manufactured china which had been
supplied in the past. Therefore an order was placed with a Western Canadian manufacturer with very good results.
It has been said above that Federal control restricts the activities in the competitive field, and, in one instance at least, it defeated our policy of distributing business
where prices were the same. The quotas of flour-mills having been reduced, the firms
were compelled to refuse new customers, thus making it necessary to award the
contracts to the same firms as the year before.
The reserves of coal built up two years ago, both on the Mainland and on the Island,
for supply to Government buildings and institutions have been drawn upon to a considerable extent, and it is the intention of the Commission to now use up the remainder,
having in mind possible deterioration due to weathering. A certain amount of difficulty
in obtaining supplies is still encountered.
During the year 1946 the difficulties of obtaining the necessary replacements and
additions to the fleet of Government-owned automobiles and trucks still persisted.
While the Commission has been successful in obtaining many of the units on order,
there is still a backlog of both cars and trucks which may or may not be delivered
within the fiscal year. New cars contracted for, 131 (approximately 60 per cent,
received); new trucks contracted for, 95 (approximately 50 per cent, received).
Automotive production has not regained its normal output since the war, but the outlook
for 1947 seems brighter.
5   ' BB 6
During this past year the situation in regard to the supply of automotive parts has
been difficult, and, in a few isolated instances, vehicles have been laid up for want of
parts. It has been the policy of the Commission during this period to accept parts
where available, waiving the discount, where small dealers were concerned, in favour of
obtaining immediate delivery of the parts at the local source. This has also been the
case with tires, owing to the scarcity brought about through strikes in the rubber
industry. The Commission has found it necessary to accept tires where and when
available at retail price from local dealers, although obtaining the discount when tires
were purchased through wholesale outlets. This procedure was necessary, otherwise
our fleet operations would have suffered to the extent of having many vehicles idle from
want of tires. This situation was brought about by the fact that many local tire-dealers
declined to supply the Commission with tires owing to the deductions to which the
Government is normally entitled. This attitude was understandable in view of the
exceptionally heavy demand at full price for any available tires.
Cost data of the operation of all Government cars in service have been maintained.
During the year the Commission disposed of, by auction or advertised sale, forty-
two pieces of worn-out automotive equipment for the sum of $14,801. As the ceiling
prices fixed by the Wartime Prices and Trade Board were at all times strictly adhered
to, the bidding for these vehicles was keen, and a large number of tenders were
invariably received—over a hundred in one instance.
The control over stores, which was established two years ago in the case of the
Provincial Police and the institutions at Essondale, New Westminster, and Colquitz, has
been maintained and is now being extended to include the Langford warehouse of the
Department of Public Works.
During 1946 fifty-eight meetings of the Commission were held.
Statistical  records  were  maintained  under  the  following  headings  which,  for
information, are recited herewith:—
A. Competitive.—On contract, quotation (written or verbal), or prices awarded
on, and governed by, previous quotation.
B. Restrictive.—Specified commodities sold exclusively by a particular manu
facturer, wholesaler, jobber, or agent.
C. Controlled.—Includes set prices where no advantage accrues in calling for
competitive tenders on commodities sold at controlled prices.
D. Non-competitive.—Requisitions issued without stated prices and controlled
by checking or test-checking prices when invoices submitted.
E. Retail.—Includes semi-retail, or where prices are greater than might be
secured from manufacturer or wholesaler.    (Local purchases.)
F. Emergency.— (1.) Retail.   (2.) Other than retail.
Comparative figures for the fiscal years 1943-44, 1944-45, and 1945-46 are set
forth hereunder:—
1943-44.                          1944-45.
SK78.KRK.07         1         S 1.097.175 70
B. Restrictive ) 	
C. Controlled   f
f 668,411.90
I 359,531.68
590 814 43
E. Retail	
F. Emergency	
War Assets Corporation	
The foregoing figures reflect a true picture of present-day conditions governing the
purchase of supplies. An analysis reveals that the increase of 50 per cent, over last
year in the volume of purchases is due not only to additional supplies and equipment
purchased but also to increased prices. A decrease is shown in the " competitive "
column of the foregoing figures, due to commodities being increasingly short and competitive prices being difficult to obtain. An increase in the " restrictive " column is
shown, being due to the fact that, in many instances, there was only one source of
supply. Similar reasons might be given for the large increase in the " non-competitive."
The increase in retail purchases reflects the efforts of the Purchasing Commission staff
to carry out the policy of the Commission in dealing with smaller firms. The increase
in emergency requisitions is due to the authority given to obtain supplies locally when
they were available.
Many articles of office furniture and equipment are still in short supply, and more
furniture is in demand owing to increase in staff in all Departments.
The services of the cabinetmaker and his assistant in Vancouver have been utilized
to the fullest extent, although difficulty has been experienced in obtaining lumber and
supplies. A great many calls have been made upon their services, not only in the repair
of office furniture, but in the construction of cabinets, etc., to the specifications of the
Departments concerned.
The price of office furniture and equipment has increased between 40 and 50
per cent., with prices still rising. Inventory records show that the value of office
furniture in Government offices is now $1,154,971. A quantity of furniture and
equipment has been purchased from War Assets Corporation at a considerable saving
to the Government.
The typewriter repair and maintenance service, which in the past has only served
the Mainland, has been extended to include Victoria and Vancouver Island. Two extra
typewriter mechanics are now employed servicing machines on the Island, as well as
three employed on the Mainland. The personnel of this service may have to be
increased, as there are now approximately 2,200 machines to be serviced.
Printed by Don MoDiarmid, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.


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