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After the Trudeau Liberals formed government in late 2015, contracting spending with the McKinsey and Company consulting firm climbed steadily each year, reaching $17.2-million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked two of his cabinet ministers to take a closer look at the federal government’s increasing use of the McKinsey and Company consulting firm after opposition parties called this week for an investigation.

On Parliament Hill Tuesday, the three main opposition parties announced they would be seeking a committee review of federal outsourcing with McKinsey, including approving orders to obtain documents such as contracts.

Mr. Trudeau told reporters he has asked Public Services and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek and Treasury Board President Mona Fortier to look into the spending.

“I’ve asked Minister Jaczek and Minister Fortier to review the matter, to take a close look at the numbers and to look into the circumstances,” he said in French. “Public servants have always sought out expert advice to improve service delivery for Canadians, to modernize what they are doing. But we will look into this to ensure that everything was done in the right way, or whether we need to change or adjust any rules.”

Mr. Trudeau made the comments Wednesday in Mexico City, where he was meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. A day earlier, the two leaders joined U.S. President Joe Biden for a summit of North American leaders.

The Globe and Mail first reported in January, 2022, that the value of outsourcing contracts to McKinsey has climbed steadily under the Liberals. Contract spending with McKinsey had declined to zero in the final two fiscal years of the Conservative government. After the Trudeau Liberals formed government in late 2015, contracting spending with the firm climbed steadily each year, reaching $17.2-million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

After new figures were released, The Globe reported in November that McKinsey received $32.5-million in contract work in the 2021-22 fiscal year, an 89-per-cent increase over the year before. In total, the firm has received $66.1-million over six years.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held separate news conferences Tuesday announcing that they, along with the NDP, would be supporting motions at the government operations committee to investigate federal spending with McKinsey.

The NDP confirmed its support, while noting that McKinsey also received some contract work under prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

McKinsey released a statement Tuesday saying that its work is entirely non-partisan and that it “welcomes the opportunity” to provide MPs with additional information.

The New York-based consulting firm has connections to the Liberals via Dominic Barton, who in the early years of the Trudeau government served as both the head of the company and as the volunteer chair of former finance minister Bill Morneau’s advisory council on economic growth. The council made several policy recommendations, many of which were at least partly adopted, such as the creation of a federal infrastructure bank and boosting Canada’s annual immigration levels.

Mr. Barton left the company in 2018 and was appointed as Canada’s ambassador to China from 2019 until December, 2021.

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