Keeping the machinery of government running smoothly

My name is Marie-Renée Sirois. I work in the legal services unit that supports the work of Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada. It's a department that does the purchasing for the whole government. If you want chairs, if you want airplanes, if you want to buy pens, everything goes through procurement. I always wanted to be a lawyer. My father is a career lawyer, my grandfather was a judge, so I always knew I wanted to practice law. I studied at the University of Ottawa, in civil law, then did a year of common law in the National Program, and then went into private practice in Ottawa. I practiced in various law firms, which led me to want to do a little more justice for all Canadians – that led me to the Department of Justice, where I can use my practice for the benefit and good of all Canadians. Our job is really to help clients with everything. We are part of the large litigation department of the Department of Justice. So, I act as an advisor for my client, for the specific needs of the client, always following the lead of the head office. On a day-to-day basis, what we do with Procurement: we help a lot with contract reviews, bid requests, contract negotiations. So, it's a little bit more commercial in nature because of the nature of our client who really does the contracts, who buys things for the government. The Department of Justice is really in the business of going out and helping clients. Every lawyer is asked to provide advice that is useful, that adds value for our client.

To keep the machinery of government running smoothly, federal procurement is governed by a myriad of rules relating to contracts. Each purchase of equipment or supplies on behalf of the Government of Canada is made with the assistance of legal experts from the Department of Justice Canada. As one of these experts, legal counsel Marie-Renée Sirois works closely with clients from Public Services and Procurement Canada as well as Shared Services Canada.

In this video, Ms. Sirois explains her journey, from her studies at the University of Ottawa to her current position in the public service, which followed a stint in private practice. Today, she provides legal advice on a myriad of issues such as negotiation processes, contract reviews and bid solicitations from clients who are responsible for all federal procurement requests – be it the acquisition of military aircraft or the purchase of ballpoint pens. A diversified legal practice serving Canadians.

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