GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT IN CANADA
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (the “OECD”), the government of Canada’s public procurement expenditures, for goods and services, accounts for close to 33% of federal government expenditures, or slightly more than 13% of Canada’s GDP.
ONTARIO'S PROCUREMENT PROCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES
International companies can search for information on bidding opportunities in the Ontario Tenders Portal (“OTP”), which is an online bidding portal within the Ontario government and BPS entities. The OTP portal simplifies the process, reduces cycle times and provides advanced tools and
processes based on Jaggaer's eTendering platform to provide more transparency and process compliance. Companies can search and download documents and submit bidding proposals online without incurring costs, but must register with OTP to access information.
The OTP portal covers all procurement opportunities for Ontario government ministries with procurement values at or above $25,000 for goods or $100,000 or more for goods for BPS, and at or above $100,000 for services and construction.
Ontario agencies and departments are not obligated to adhere to OTP, therefore International Companies are encouraged to check other sources and eTendering service providers. Road construction Vendors for instance, are currently using the Ministry of Transportation RAQS system.
In order to facilitate the process of searching for procurement opportunities, Ontario adopted the United Nations Standard Products an Services Codes ("UNSPSC") system. By registering with OTP and categorizing their profile with their respective UNSPSC code, International companies can receive alerts when new opportunities are available and OTP will send relevant procurement opportunity notices in an expedited manner. Similarly, companies receive an alert if amendments are made in a procurement opportunity. In order to keep up-to-date with any change in the opportunity, companies have to make sure they provide accurate and complete information when registering with OTP.
All other relevant information and instructions will be provided in procurement documents for each opportunity. The opportunities may vary and each opportunity has its own requirements. Companies must carefully read the procurement terms and be fully responsive to be successful.
UNDERSTANDING VENDORS OPTIONS
There are many ways in which the Ontario government can contract with Vendors:
Ontario ministries must use an open competitive procurement process for goods valued at $25,000 or more and all consulting services, regardless of the value. Under this option, there is the possibility of a large or complex project being divided into several smaller parts and specifications, and it could be awarded to the same vendor provided it complies with mandatory requirements in each stage. All required information is provided in the tendering documents.
invitations under this category can be made for goods valued under $25,000 and services valued under $100,000. At least three qualified Vendors must be invited to submit a written proposal in response to the ministry’s invitation.
Vendor of record arrangements:
in this category, requests for bids are posted on OTP and vendors that successfully meet all bid requirements are entitled to sign a master agreement with the government of Ontario and are awarded a Vendor of Record (“VOR”) status. Once a vendor is considered a VOR, Ontario ministries may obtain commonly procured goods and services in a shorter timeframe. VOR arrangements are the following:
Enterprise-wide VOR of record arrangements: helps with the reduction of procurement costs by providing ministries with access to one or more
contracted vendors of goods and services common to more than one ministry.
One ministry requires a particular good/service but there is insufficient Multi-ministry VOR arrangements: this category is used when more than
demand for an enterprise-wide arrangement.
Ministry specific VOR arrangements: this category is established by individual ministries for their exclusive use.
BECOME A VENDOR
For all procurements over $25,000, a vendor is required to:
Comply with contractor tax compliance verification requirements;
Obtain a 9-digit CRA number; and
Potentially go through a security screening.
PREPARING THE BID
All requirements and necessary information are provided in the procurement documents. Information such as the lay-out of the bid, the evaluation process, mandatory and desirable requirements can vary, so Vendors are advised to carefully read all the information provided for the bid.
The proposal should include detailed information on the quoted price and a complete description of how the Vendor will achieve the goals and objectives of the ministry in accordance with the priorities and requirements. Any alternative solution that is allowed should also be part of the
A proposal in response to a bid solicitation is submitted online and is usually divided into 3 sections: qualifications, technical and commercial. The Ontario Government is encouraged to buy green goods and services that help or, at least, do not harm the environment, therefore this information should be mentioned in a proposal to a contracting authority.
BID EVALUATION & SUCCESSFUL BIDS
The evaluation of a bid is normally conducted by the ministry staff team, procurement officers and potential users of the goods and services.
The successful vendor is notified to execute the contract award. Award notifications are published on OTP. The Ontario government may require that vendors comply with the tax statutes, security screening and reference checks.
The next step is a contractual one. The contract contains standard provisions that establishes vendors and governmental responsibilities, vendors' performance and evaluation and termination clauses.