Seminar Notes: Finding Opportunities and Supplying Goods and Services to the Government of Canada During COVID-19

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Objectives

  • Understanding the federal procurement process
  • Contracting under National Security Exception (NSE)
  • Finding opportunities on Buyandsell.gc.ca
  • Other sources of information for companies interested in selling to the federal government

Procurement Assistance Canada

  • Supports smaller and diverse businesses through the federal procurement process
  • Engages, assists and informs businesses on how to sell goods and services to the Government of Canada
  • Works to reduce barriers to ensure fairness in the process

Contracting with the Government of Canada

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is the main procurement arm of the federal government
  • It is important that all procurement activities be conducted in an open, fair and transparent manner, and that all suppliers have an equal chance at doing business with us
  • Federal laws and regulations as well as Treasury Board of Canada policies guide the Government of Canada’s procurement process

Note: Any contracted personnel accessing a federal government workplace must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of November 15, 2021. For more information, visit COVID-19 vaccination requirement for supplier personnel.

Registering in the Supplier Registration Information System

  • You will require a Procurement Business Number (PBN) in order to receive payment from PSPC
  • A PBN will be supplied to you through the registration process in the Supplier Registration Information (SRI) System
  • Before you begin, you will want to make sure you have your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business number handy. Your business number is the first 9 numbers of your GST/HST number. If you don’t have one, you can register for one on the CRA business registration website.
  • It is also extremely important to enter into SRI the legal name of your business exactly as it appears on your CRA registration. Once you have your CRA Business number and legal business name handy, you can start the registration process.
  • There are two steps to registering in SRI. The first is entering your business information, and the second is selecting your commodities.
  • Refer to information on how to Register as a Supplier.
  • For detailed instructions, refer to the Registering in SRI reference sheet.

The non-competitive and competitive approach

Non-competitive

  • According to Canadian Government Contract Regulations, sole source purchasing can only be undertaken under the following four circumstances.
    • Pressing Emergency: delays could be injurious to public interest
    • Low-dollar value: not considered cost effective to compete
    • Not in Public Interest: Example: national security
    • One Known Supplier: Examples: copyright, license or patent

Competitive

  • Procurement over $25,000 for goods and $40,000 for services awarded through the solicitation of bids and quotes from potential suppliers

National Security Exception

  • The NSE has been invoked (for procurement conducted by PSPC)
    • Trade agreements do not apply to procurements for the acquisition of goods and services required in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • These procurements can be sourced through limited tendering, if justified
  • If the contract is for goods and services that the Government of Canada needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, then it is covered by the NSE invocation.
  • The invocation is for a defined period of time which is until the World Health Organization no longer declares the COVID-19 pandemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
  • Goods or Services need to be obtained in time to meet the Government of Canada’s need for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importing Goods for Emergency Use

Starting work

  • It is essential to remember that without a contract in place, there is no mechanism for payment by the Government
  • Under no circumstance should a supplier begin work until an agreement is in place and signed by the contracting authority
  • The Government of Canada is not accountable for paying for any work that has been done prior to the signature of an agreement

Payment

  • The government has 30 days following receipt of an invoice or receipt of the goods or services, whichever is later, to issue payment before interest accrues
  • Government acquisition cards are issued to eligible procurement and administrative officers to permit them to buy very low dollar value goods or services
  • The government uses a direct deposit method of payment. Register with individual departments and agencies

Buyandsell.gc.ca Website

  • The authoritative source for government procurement information
  • One of the online resources that will be of great importance and help to you

Buyandsell.gc.ca Demonstration

Other menu items

  • Goods and Services
    • Most popular goods and services – find links to a variety of supplier databases and links to information related to some specialized goods and services. Find information on Goods and Services Identification Numbers (GSINs), and links to online resources.
  • Procurement Data - Do research or look for some business intelligence, and find everything that has to do with procurement data here. So:
    • Tenders
    • What is a GSIN and how they work
    • Data related to Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements
    • Contract History
    • United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes, and
    • Information on the Government of Canada’s Open Data initiative.

Tenders Launch and Landing Page Demonstration

  • Find opportunities with Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders
    • The site provides a quick search function so that you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing detailed searching. Click on the icons to find out:
      • What has been posted today
      • Tenders that have been amended today
      • What’s active today
      • Tenders closing in 24 hours
      • Expired tenders notices
      • Contracts that have been awarded.
    • On the bottom row, you can search by the following commodity category:
      • Goods
      • Services
      • Services related to goods
      • Construction
  • Each search result contains basic information, including:
    • The notice name
    • The link to the tender notice page itself
    • Its status, publication date, update date, closing date, GSIN description, and
    • The type of notice
    • It may also include information on bidders’ conferences and site visits – which are also a very useful source of information on a procurement project.
  • Click on the Notice Name, it will bring you to the tender notice page. Here you will find further details, in addition to the tombstone information that was on the search results page, including:
    • Days to closing
    • Reference and solicitation numbers
    • Region of delivery, and
    • The level of activity this notice has had
  • Click the GSIN link, you are brought to a page that shows all of the activity related to that GSIN, such as:
    • Details about this GSIN Code
    • Related Tender Notices
    • The contact for this GSIN Code and
    • Related Award Notices
    • This is a great way to find out about the related good or service that the government has bought.
  • Once you have found an opportunity that you are interested in, download the solicitation documents. These documents, as well as any additional supporting documents, are available in English and French.
  • Download the documents simply by clicking on the link. Each document must be downloaded individually. There is currently no way to download multiple documents with one click.

Following Notices Demonstration and Disclaimer on Third Party Sites

Buyandsell.gc.ca allows you to keep track of any changes to a notice (such as amendments).

  • To get email notifications about a tender, click on the email notifications icon under the Activity section. This will bring you to a new page where you have to add your email and can customize the name of your email notifications.
  • You can also get notifications for related procurement items by clicking the checkbox.
  • Later on, you can manage or unsubscribe from your email notifications.

Using the Search and Filters Functions Demonstration

  • If you want to refine your search, use the search box at the top of the page.
  • Simply enter a search term, a date, word, location, etc. and the results will be refined based on the search criteria.
  • Note that the word searched on may not appear in the title, but it will appear somewhere in the tender notice. You can also enter “AND”, “OR” to further refine the search. Note: Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS
  • Refine the results of a search by using the filters on the left-hand side of the page, and filter based on the:
    • Type of procurement data,
    • Publication date;
    • Amendment date;
    • Tender notices by Closing date;
    • Tender notice status;
    • Type of goods or service; and
    • Location.
  • Filters can be used either in conjunction with the Search function or alone.
  • The more filters clicked within a category, the broader search results will be since they will include all items selected within that category (e.g. Active, Ontario AND Quebec AND Manitoba). You can expand or collapse each of the filter categories.
  • However, the more categories chosen, the more limited the search will become, since it will limit the scope of the search to the selected items within the selected categories (e.g. selecting Goods, Active, Ontario, will return results of only active notices in Ontario related to goods).
  • Notice at the top, the Selected filters section will show what filters you have chosen.
  • To change the filter selections, simply “unclick” them by clicking on the “X” beside the name of each filter on the left.
  • Alternatively, search using Goods and Services Identification Numbers (GSINs) and United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes (UNSPSC).
  • To find a GSIN code, click on “Goods and Services” in the main menu, click on Browse GSIN codes.
  • Once you find your GSIN codes, it’s a good idea to write the number down for future reference.
  • In the search box at the top of the page, enter your relevant codes to find opportunities.
    • You can search multiple codes at the same time by separating them using the word “OR”. (E.g. TPP4KA OR N7030). This is the best way to search for opportunities, as it produces the best results.
    • Avoid using a combination of codes and key words in the same search, as it restricts your results.
  • Tip: When searching for opportunities and subscribing to notifications, search by keywords and note down the GSIN and UNSPSC codes listed in tender notices that correspond to your goods and services. You can subscribe to notifications on all three (keyword search, GSIN codes, UNSPSC codes) to make sure you can find opportunities that are relevant to your business.

Procurement-related news

Submitting your bid through epost Connect

  • One way to submit bids against some PSPC tenders: Canada Post’s epost Connect online service
  • What is epost Connect
    • epost Connect is a secure, online service that allows users to share large, confidential files. Some features include:
    • large file transfers, users can attach multiple 1 GB files (any file type) in a single message
    • the ability to track your electronic activity history
    • privacy and security capabilities to process Protected B documents (which meet Government of Canada requirements)
  • There is no fee to use the epost Connect service to submit your bid submission files electronically.
  • Important
    • Read bid submission instructions to verify method of submission is accepted and if epost Connect is offered
    • Create your epost Connect account in advance so you’re ready to bid on time!
  • Benefits
    • Faster and more efficient
    • Greener
    • A time and date stamp record

Building networks

  • Connect with departments and agencies to understand the appropriate programs and support that is available.
  • Promote your business, and share information regarding your capabilities and areas of delivery.
  • Ensure that your website contains information on what good/services you provide and where you can provide them.

Finding Government Support

The Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19: Call to action: Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19

  • Direct support for businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19

National Research Council (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program and Innovative Solutions Canada

  • The COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program
    • Post challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) that need financial support to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19 related need.
  • The Pandemic Response Challenges Program
    • Build team to address challenges requiring further research and development for solutions to meet COVID-10 related needs
    • The program is currently structured around three main research areas:
        • Rapid detection and diagnosis,
        • Therapeutics and vaccine development and
        • Digital health.
  • Researchers at Canadian and international universities, government departments, colleges, and highly innovative firms with relevant expertise can apply. Funding is available to help cover the costs of research for academic institutions, small and medium-sized businesses, and other eligible recipients. There is an Expression of Interest portal online
  • NRC COVID-19 response
  • Use the Canada Business App to see how easy it is to navigate government services, get recommendations tailored to your business, set up personalized notifications and find the answers you need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
  • Find Specific COVID-related programs and services for business (Innovation.Canada.ca)

Next Steps

  • Register as supplier in SRI
  • Create your epost Connect account
  • Search for opportunities
  • Subscribe to Email Notification Service

Tip: You can subscribe to email notifications using “COVID-19” as your search keyword in order to follow all opportunities related to COVID-19.

Request assistance

If you need help understanding the federal procurement process or registering for a procurement business number: