Ottawa Citizen Published Editorial: Consultants Offer Genuine Services

A version of this editorial appeared in the Ottawa Citizen and sister publications on February 11, 2023. It was written in response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates proceedings; in particular, the questions being raised about the propriety of the government’s procurement process, the government’s use of consultants generally, and whether consultants seeking government contracts are concerned with protecting the public’s interest. Read CMC-Canada's own response here


By: John Herzog, FCMC

RE: Contracts for McKinsey a drop in the bucket of billions spent on government outsourcing, Jan. 21.

During the past weeks, we have learned much about the use of management consultants in the public service. Politicians and pundits were quick to point out the "excessive use of highly paid consultants," particularly during the past three unimaginable pandemic years when speed was of the essence to implement urgent federal programs for the benefit Canadians.

The price tag for their services was particularly a sore point. All kinds of sinister scenarios were conjured on how they were contracted as they fell from the sky onto cushy assignments.

I accept that the role of the opposition in Parliament is to shine a light on the governing party, which seems to have opened the treasury to these management consultants.

However, I would think that this profession would have long expired if there were no benefit to the clients from their existence.

You can and should question the cost / benefit results of the work of management consultants on particular assignments without disgracing the profession itself.

Yes, I am a proud retired management consultant after serving my clients for 37 years.


About the Author – John Herzog, FCMC

During a thirty-seven year management consulting career, John Herzog focused his consulting services on the public sector, assisting major Federal Government departments and agencies in large-scale transformation projects and specifically in organizing and managing such projects and the related human change management implications. John retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers after being a Partner for over 20 years. He is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), served on the National Board of CMC-Canada and completed a two-year term as National Chair.  He received its highest honour of Fellowship.