Procurement Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic stated this week dozens of whistleblowers have reported instances of unethical federal contracting in the past year.In his Annual Report to Parliament, the Ombudsman noted complaints regarding sweetheart contracting had become increasingly common, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.“This year, stakeholders contacted my office 30 times with concerns about the behaviour of federal officials being inconsistent with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector,” wrote Jeglic. “Concerns about questionable federal procurement activities have negatively impacted public trust.”“I remain concerned regarding negative trends related to the lack of competitive processes and deficient documentation practices that continue to pose problems and undermine transparency in federal procurement,” wrote Jeglic.He said federal contracting, at best, was “unnecessarily complex” and secretive. “We often encounter difficulties gaining access to procurement documentation or reliable contracting data,” wrote Jeglic.To date, no parliamentary committee has investigated COVID-19 contracting by lobbyists. In 2021, members of the Liberal and Bloc Québécois parties on the Commons Ethics committee rejected a probe by a 6-4 vote.“It would just be stirring the pot,” Liberal MP Greg Fergus (Hull-Aylmer, QC), then-parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, said at the time. Piecemeal disclosures at the time showed questionable contracts awarded.Former Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds-Dollard, QC) saw his company, Baylis Medical, benefit from a $237.4 million sole-sourced contract for ventilators that were not licensed at the time of the contract.SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. was awarded a $150 million contract for field hospitals that had not been requested by any health manager.Kevin Bosch, a former deputy director of the Liberal Research Bureau, bragged about “getting things done” in assisting the 3M Company in securing a $23.3 million grant and a $118.6 million contract for masks.Former Liberal chief of staff Elly Alboim emailed a cabinet aide requesting a contract for his son. In the email, the chief of staff to the Minister of Public Works wrote "I vouch for Elly."Spartan Bioscience Inc., a test kit supplier that has since gone bankrupt, was awarded a $149 million contract after reportedly having "a couple of good meetings" in the prime minister's office. However, it was later discovered the test kits provided by Spartan Bioscience failed clinical trials.“We know there’s been $500 billion in pandemic spending that has occurred,” Conservative MP John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil, ON) told the ethics committee earlier. “I think it’s important for Canadians and indeed important for this committee to have the confidence pandemic spending has been done in an open, transparent and accountable manner.”A follow-up spot audit conducted in 2023 by the Procurement Ombudsman revealed that more than 10% of the COVID-19 contracts approved by the Department of Health did not adhere to the established rules and regulations. The department had issued a total of 17,000 contracts.