How to Prepare a Bid

Attention! CanadaBuys is the new official source for Government of Canada tender and award notices. This means you can now search for and bid on tender opportunities posted on CanadaBuys.

Suppliers register in SAP Ariba today!

Register now to ensure you transition to doing business with the new Government of Canada procurement service. Find out how to get started.

Table of Contents

What do I need to know before I start?

Every bid solicitation is unique, so read it very carefully.

If you have questions, follow the process specified in the bid solicitations. To ensure the integrity of the competitive bidding process, enquiries and other communications regarding the solicitation must be directed only to the contracting officer identified in the solicitation, not to the client department or other government officials. Generally, you will be asked to submit your questions in writing. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your bid being declared non-responsive.

Do not make any assumptions about what is required. If you need clarification or think you have found an error, let the contracting officer know as soon as possible. The bid must be evaluated against the criteria as they are written so changes cannot be made by the contracting officer after bid closing date.

The buyer will compile all questions and answers and issue an amendment to the solicitation document (if the opportunity was published on the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS), the amendment will be published there). This ensures that all bidders have the same information. Pay attention to the timelines specified in the solicitation document, as questions may need to be received before a certain deadline.

If you think the deadline is unreasonable, call the contracting officer and see if the closing date can be extended. If you do this early in the process, it may be possible. However, it is not possible to extend the date within three working days of the bid closing, as it may be too late to notify bidders who may have already sent in their bid.

How do I prepare my bid?

The solicitation document will explain to you exactly how to lay out your bid and how it will be evaluated. Make sure you follow the instructions provided and address each and every point completely. You may be asked to provide your bid in various separately bound sections such as: a technical section, management section, financial section and certifications, if required.

Carefully review and make sure you understand the clauses, general conditions and standard instructions. These are normally included in each solicitation document in “full text” or by “reference”. Refer to the Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions (SACC) Manual.

Before you start writing, figure out which criteria are mandatory, that is the “must haves”. Mandatory criteria are usually evaluated on a simple pass/fail basis. If your bid fails to meet any of the mandatory criteria, such as a surety bond, it will be considered non-responsive.

NOTE: A surety bond is issued by an insurance company who assures that the enterprise performing the work can do it. When a surety bond is required, you must include in your solicitation document a list of acceptable bonding companies together with the applicable surety bond form.

Ensure that you fill out all the certifications requested, such as “Education and Experience” or the “Federal Contractors Program”. Depending on the size of your business you will be required to certify, by filling out the Agreement to Implement Employment Equity form, that you have made a formal commitment to implement employment equity in order to bid for some federal government contracts.

Ensure that you submit the certifications by the time and date specified in the solicitation document (some may be submitted later than the stated bid closing date but be sure to verify).

Ensure that you bid meets the conditions to bid, such as submitting it on time. This is especially important since only responsive bids will be evaluated, regardless of the quality of the document.

Top of Page

Security clearance requirements

A security clearance is necessary when your personnel, under contract, will require access to classified or protected information, assets or sensitive federal work sites. If this is the case, the contracting officer or project manager may, through their directorate/department’s security office (as required), complete a request for registration that will propose a security clearance for your business and your personnel. The solicitation document will specify what level of security clearance your business will need. Obtaining a security clearance can be a lengthy process; therefore, if the bid solicitation you are interested in requires a security clearance and you do not have one, speak to the contracting officer as soon as possible to get the process started.

For more information about security clearance, contact the Contract Security Program, or contact the Call Centre at 1-866-368-4646, or send an email to:

Technical section

This is where you usually provide the most details. It is your chance to show the evaluation team that you understand the requirements. Use your own words to describe what and how you would do the work if you were awarded the contract.

Start with a short introduction that includes an evaluation of the current situation and the need for the project, the objectives of the proposed work, the reasons for carrying it out as proposed and the benefits that will be derived.

Indicate and substantiate the work plan, methodology and techniques that you are proposing. Discuss feasibility, the degree of success expected, identify any problems anticipated and contingency plans in the event that problems arise.

Identify specific tasks and deliverables and the schedule for completion or delivery. Provide information about how many people you will assign to the various tasks, their levels (give their title, not salary) and how many hours or days they will be assigned to the tasks. Do not include any pricing information in this section. (Note: this may or may not be a requirement of every solicitation.)

Ensure that you satisfy all requirements, and clearly detail how you meet each and every one of them.

If you would like to propose an alternate solution, you should respond to the specific request made in the solicitation document first. Do no offer it as a substitute for what is being requested or your bid could be considered non-responsive. If you still would like to offer an alternative solution, submit it as a separate bid along with your main bid.

Management section

Introduce your team and demonstrate how they meet the required qualifications. Include any corroborating information required, such as resumes.

If you will be subcontracting part of the work, the same information should be provided for each subcontractor.

Do not assume contracting officers know your organization and skills because you have dealt with them before. Each bid is evaluated solely on its content and members of the evaluation team are prohibited from using prior knowledge to award points or meet mandatory criteria.

Financial section

Provide a detailed breakdown of the quoted price in terms of its cost elements. The solicitation document will tell you what cost items will be considered in the financial evaluation. No other costs will be considered. Prices must appear in the financial bid only.

For more information

Procurement Assistance Canada can help you to better understand how the government buys goods and services, and how you can navigate the process to find and bid on opportunities. Call the National InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148 for help understanding the federal procurement process or registering for a procurement business number. The line is staffed Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.