The Government of Canada happens to be one of Canada’s top public consumers of goods and amenities, spending over $22 billion on behalf of federal departments and agencies each year. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) plays an important role as the government’s primary buyer of goods and services (including construction) by assisting federal departments and agencies in defining their requirements or scope of work and obtaining what they require at the best value.
When a federal department or agency makes a request to PWGSC, the demand may be processed by contracting officers at headquarters or in regional offices, depending on the requirements.
In accordance with the Government Contracts Regulations, procurement is carried out through either a competitive procurement procedure (where practicable) or a non-competitive procurement process (only used in certain special circumstances).
What exactly is a competitive procurement process?
The competitive approach seeks to maximise value for Canadians while also improving access, competition, and fairness. The majority of contracts issued to small and medium-sized businesses are competitive, making it the most commonly used mechanism by the government.
What are the supply methods?
PWGSC purchases goods and services through the following channels:
Contracts, standing offers, and supply contracts
Over $25,000 in requirements
Many requirements exceeding $25,000 for commodities and $40,000 for services and construction contracts, including all applicable taxes, are advertised on the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS), which is accessible via the public tender minister. Various databases allow contracting officers to purchase up to $100,000 in professional services and real estate consulting services, as well as up to $100,000 in construction services, without having to publish on the Tenders minisite.
Consult the Register to Provide Services Web page for more information on these database systems.
Minimum requirements of $25,000
Contracting officers may request bids from suppliers directly for requirements of less than $25,000 for commodities and less than $40,000 for services and construction contracts, including all relevant taxes. PWGSC considers these criteria to be low dollar value procurement. In this situation, contracting officers will establish the optimum procurement method for each requirement in order to maximise value while also ensuring the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of each contract. They may utilise a variety of supply strategies to discover and select a supplier on a competitive or non-competitive basis. Suppliers are frequently chosen using the Supplier Registration Information system.
Supply arrangements and standing offers
Standing offers and supply arrangements are two different types of non-binding agreements between the federal government and potential providers of specific goods or services. These agreements spell out the terms and conditions that will apply to future requirements that will be ordered on an as-needed basis.
What exactly is a non-competitive procurement process?
The non-competitive (or solitary source) strategy is only utilised in the following cases:
The need is urgent, and any delay would be detrimental to the public interest.
The expected cost does not exceed:
- $25,000 for commodities or $40,000 for services and construction contracts (contracting officers are still expected to solicit bids below this amount when it is economically effective to do so);
- $100,000 for architectural, engineering, and other services required for the planning, design, preparation, or supervision of a work’s construction, repair, renovation, or restoration;
- $100,000 for service contracts with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) relating to international development assistance initiatives or projects;
When a provider possesses a copyright or a licence, only one person is capable of doing the work.
The nature of the work is such that soliciting bids would not be in the public interest (for example, requirements dealing with national security, such as some military projects).