Supplier Complaint Process

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Table of Contents

Before submitting a complaint

There are several mechanisms available for suppliers to address complaints they may have related to federal government procurement. Before submitting a complaint, suppliers should ensure that they do the following:

Maintain good records

Suppliers should document their files and be prepared to provide as much detail as possible to support complaints. Good records will make it easier to review their complaint and to determine who is responsible for addressing their complaint.

Know complaint submission deadlines

Suppliers should note that there are strict deadlines for bringing complaints forward and that the time periods vary depending on the procurement complaint body responsible for reviewing the complaint. The procurement complaint body having jurisdiction will depend on several factors including the dollar value in question.

Submitting a complaint

First point of contact - Contracting officer and supervisor

The first step in any complaint process is to contact the contracting officer in the relevant department or agency and discuss your concern. If the complaint is related to a matter that occurs during or after the bid solicitation stage, the contact information for the department and the contracting officer should appear on the first page of the solicitation or contractual document.

If there is no response to your concern, ask to speak to the contracting officer’s supervisor. You can also obtain the name of the supervisor from the GCdirectory by searching for the contracting officer’s name. GCdirectory provides a directory of federal public servants for all regions across Canada.

Additional contacts - Procurement complaint bodies

You may contact the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) to make them aware of any concerns you have at any phase of the procurement process.

In addition to contacting OPO, there are other complaint bodies you can contact such as the:

The procurement complaint body you contact will depend on the type of complaint, which stage the procurement is at, and whether the procurement is subject to a trade agreement.

Examples of complaints at various stages of the procurement process and procurement complaint bodies to consider

Before the bid solicitation period

We believe that there has been bias in the bid solicitation development process and would like to raise our concerns.

  • For complaints concerning an anti-competitive behaviour, contact the Competition Bureau.

During the bid solicitation period

The evaluation criteria are not clear, are unnecessary, favour a particular supplier (for example, use of brand names), or do not comply with trade agreements.

Work completed without a written contract

Our company started the work without a written contract and believes that we are entitled to payment based on a verbal agreement.

  • Important: Suppliers should never begin work for the Government of Canada without a written agreement.
  • Find general contact information for all federal departments or agencies on the Government of Canada Web site, then contact the appropriate department or agency and request to be connected to the claims and ex gratia contact.
  • For more information, consult Treasury Board of Canada’s Directive on Claims and Ex Gratia Payments. The purpose of this directive is to ensure the efficient and effective resolution of claims by and against a federal department or agency.

After notification of bid evaluation results or at contract award notification

The awarded contract is inconsistent with the Request for Proposal (RFP) because it has deliverables that were not part of the original project or our bid solicitation submission.


There is a problem with the supplier debriefing.

  • After notification of the bid evaluation results or that a contract has been awarded to someone else, request a debriefing with the contracting officer, preferably within 15 working days of receiving the results. For more information, visit Supplier Debriefings.
  • If the complaint is concerning an anti-competitive behaviour, contact the Competition Bureau.
  • For a contract covered by a trade agreement, contact the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).
  • For a contract not covered by a trade agreement, contact the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO). OPO can review complaints concerning the award of a contract for goods below the value of $25,300, and for services below the value of $101,100.

During the contract administration

The contract is not being administered appropriately.


The terms and conditions of the contract are not being respected.

  • Contact the appropriate department or agency to obtain information on their contract dispute services.
  • Contact the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO). OPO can review complaints regarding the administration of a contract for goods or services to which you are a party, regardless of dollar value. If the complaint pertains to the interpretation or application of the contract’s terms and conditions, OPO offers alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services upon agreement of both parties.