The purpose of this notice is to provide information on the various recourse mechanisms that are available to address any concerns that suppliers may have related to federal procurement processes.
Communications Note to Suppliers: Federal Government Recourse Mechanisms
Suppliers should note that there can be strict deadlines for filing objections or complaints and that time periods vary depending on the particular recourse mechanism.
A potential supplier that has concerns regarding a federal procurement process is encouraged to first contact the appropriate government institution. The fact that an objection is first directed to a government institution does not prevent a potential supplier from seeking recourse elsewhere.
Canadian International Trade Tribunal Procurement Inquiry Regulations indicates:
Subsection 6(2) “A potential supplier who has made an objection regarding a procurement relating to a designated contract to the relevant government institution, and is denied relief by that government institution, may file a complaint with the Tribunal within 10 working days after the day on which the potential supplier has actual or constructive knowledge of the denial of relief, if the objection was made within 10 working days after the day on which its basis became known or reasonably should have become known to the potential supplier.”
The Procurement Ombudsman Regulations indicates:
Subsection 7(3) “If a complainant has previously contacted the contracting department to object to the award of a contract within the period set out in paragraph (1)(a) or (b), as the case may be, a complaint under subsection (1) shall be filed in writing with the Procurement Ombudsman within 30 working days after day on which the contracting department denied the objection.”
The jurisdiction of the procurement complaint body will depend on several factors including the applicability of the trade agreements, the basis of complaint, the dollar value in question, the status of contract award and whether the complaint is filed in time.
A supplier may have recourse with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) provided:
- The procurement is covered by at least one trade agreement;
- There is a perceived breach to a trade agreement obligation; and
- The complaint is filed with the CITT no later than 10 working days after the day on which the basis of the complaint became known or reasonably should have become known.
For more information on CITT and its rules and procedures, please refer to: Canadian International Trade Tribunal.
A supplier may have recourse with the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman provided:
- The contract has been awarded;
- The procurement would have been covered by the Agreement on Internal Trade, however, the procurement value is below the thresholds for that Agreement (i.e., under $25,000 for goods and under $100,000 for services);
- The bid challenge is from a Canadian supplier; and
- The complaint is filed with the Procurement Ombudsman within 30 working days after public notice of the award of contract.
For more information on the Procurement Ombudsman rules and procedures, please refer to: Office of the Procurement Ombudsman.
A supplier may also have recourse to the Federal Court of Canada or the Provincial Superior Courts.
Additional Services of the Procurement Ombudsman
As well as accepting supplier complaints regarding the procurement, the Office of the Procurement has the mandate to review a supplier complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department, provided the complaint is filed by the person who has been awarded the contract to which the complaint relates.
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman may also provide alternative dispute resolution services if requested to do so by a party to a Federal contract and other parties to the contract are in agreement.