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Public Works and Government Services Canada

Standard Instructions - Request for Standing Offers - Goods or Services - Competitive Requirements

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General information

One method of supply used by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to satisfy the requirements of departments and agencies is to arrange with suppliers to submit a standing offer to provide goods, services or both during a specified period. Specific departments and agencies are then authorized by PWGSC to make call-ups against the standing offer detailing the exact quantities of goods or level of services they wish to order at a particular time, during the effective period of the standing offer in accordance with the predetermined conditions.

The process normally starts with a Request for Standing Offers (RFSO) that suppliers may obtain through the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS). A RFSO is an invitation to suppliers to provide PWGSC with a standing offer. The quantity of goods, level of services and estimated expenditure specified in the RFSO are only an approximation of requirements given in good faith. A RFSO does not commit PWGSC to authorize the utilization of a standing offer or to procure or contract for any goods, services or both. A standing offer is not a contract. The issuance by PWGSC of a Standing Offer and Call-up Authority to successful suppliers and to departments and agencies authorized to make call-ups does not constitute an agreement by Canada to order any or all of the goods, services or both offered. Departments and agencies may make one or several call-ups against a standing offer.

01 (2016-04-04) Integrity Provisions—offer

  1. The Ineligibility and Suspension Policy (the “Policy”) in effect on the date the Request for Standing Offers (RFSO) is issued, and all related Directives in effect on that date, are incorporated by reference into, and form a binding part of the RFSO. The Offeror must comply with the Policy and Directives, which can be found at Ineligibility and Suspension Policy.
  2. Under the Policy, charges and convictions of certain offences against a Supplier, its affiliates or first tier subcontractors, and other circumstances, will or may result in a determination by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) that the Supplier is ineligible to be issued or is suspended from being issued a standing offer and to enter into a contract with Canada. The list of ineligible and suspended Suppliers is contained in PWGSC's Integrity Database. The Policy describes how enquiries can be made regarding the ineligibility or suspension of Suppliers.
  3. In addition to all other information required in the Request for Standing Offers, the Offeror must provide the following:
    1. by the time stated in the Policy, all information required by the Policy described under the heading “Information to be Provided when Bidding, Contracting or Entering into a Real Property Agreement”; and
    2. with its offer, a complete list of all foreign criminal charges and convictions pertaining to itself, its affiliates and its proposed first tier subcontractors that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, may be similar to one of the listed offences in the Policy. The list of foreign criminal charges and convictions must be submitted using an Integrity Declaration Form, which can be found at Declaration form for procurement.
  4. Subject to subsection 5, by submitting an offer in response to this Request for Standing Offers, the Offeror certifies that:
    1. it has read and understands the Ineligibility and Suspension Policy;
    2. it understands that certain domestic and foreign criminal charges and convictions, and other circumstances, as described in the Policy, will or may result in a determination of ineligibility or suspension under the Policy;
    3. it is aware that Canada may request additional information, certifications, and validations from the Offeror or a third party for purposes of making a determination of ineligibility or suspension;
    4. it has provided with its offer a complete list of all foreign criminal charges and convictions pertaining to itself, its affiliates and its proposed first tier subcontractors that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, may be similar to one of the listed offences in the Policy;
    5. none of the domestic criminal offences, and other circumstances, described in the Policy that will or may result in a determination of ineligibility or suspension, apply to it, its affiliates and its proposed first tier subcontractors; and
    6. it is not aware of a determination of ineligibility or suspension issued by PWGSC that applies to it.
  5. Where an Offeror is unable to provide any of the certifications required by subsection 4, it must submit with its offer a completed Integrity Declaration Form, which can be found at Declaration form for procurement.
  6. Canada will declare non-responsive any offer in respect of which the information requested is incomplete or inaccurate, or in respect of which the information contained in a certification or declaration is found by Canada to be false or misleading in any respect. If Canada establishes after issuance of the Standing Offer that the Offeror provided a false or misleading certification or declaration, Canada may set aside the Standing Offer and terminate for default any resulting contracts. Pursuant to the Policy, Canada may also determine the Offeror to be ineligible for issuance of a standing offer for providing a false or misleading certification or declaration.

02 (2020-05-28) Procurement Business Number

Suppliers are required to have a Procurement Business Number (PBN) before issuance of a standing offer. Suppliers may register for a PBN on line at Supplier Registration Information.

03 (2008-05-12) Standard instructions, clauses and conditions

Pursuant to the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act ( S.C. 1996, c. 16), the instructions, clauses and conditions identified in the RFSO, standing offer and resulting contract(s) by number, date and title are incorporated by reference into and form part of the RFSO, standing offer and resulting contract(s) as though expressly set out in the RFSO, the standing offer and the resulting contract(s).

04 (2008-12-12) Definition of Offeror

"Offeror" means the person or entity (or, in the case of a joint venture, the persons or entities) submitting an offer to provide goods, services or both under a call-up resulting from a standing offer. It does not include the parent, subsidiaries or other affiliates of the Offeror, or its subcontractors.

05 (2018-05-22) Submission of offers

  1. Canada requires that each offer, at RFSO closing date and time or upon request from the Standing Offer Authority, be signed by the Offeror or by an authorized representative of the Offeror. If an offer is submitted by a joint venture, it must be in accordance with section 17.
  2. It is the Offeror's responsibility to:
    1. obtain clarification of the requirements contained in the RFSO, if necessary, before submitting an offer;
    2. prepare its offer in accordance with the instructions contained in the RFSO;
    3. submit by the RFSO closing date and time a complete offer;
    4. send its offer only to the specified Bid Receiving Unit of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) specified in the RFSO or, to the address specified in the RFSO, as applicable;
    5. ensure that the Offeror's name, return address, RFSO number, and RFSO closing date and time are clearly visible on the offer; and,
    6. provide a comprehensible and sufficiently detailed offer, including all requested pricing details, that will permit a complete evaluation in accordance with the criteria set out in the RFSO.
  3. Canada will make available Notices of Proposed Procurement (NPP), RFSO's and related documents for download through the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS). Canada is not responsible and will not assume any liabilities whatsoever for the information found on websites of third parties. In the event an NPP, RFSO or related documentation would be amended, Canada will not be sending notifications. Canada will post all amendments, including significant enquiries received and their replies, using GETS. It is the sole responsibility of the Offeror to regularly consult GETS for the most up-to-date information. Canada will not be liable for any oversight on the Offeror's part nor for notification services offered by a third party.
  4. Offers will remain open for acceptance for a period of not less than 60 days from the closing date of the RFSO, unless specified otherwise in the RFSO. Canada reserves the right to seek an extension of the offer validity period from all responsive offerors in writing, within a minimum of 3 days before the end of the offer validity period. If the extension is accepted by all responsive offerors, Canada will continue with the evaluation of the offers. If the extension is not accepted by all responsive offerors, Canada will, at its sole discretion, either continue with the evaluation of the offers of those who have accepted the extension or cancel the RFSO.
  5. Offers and supporting information may be submitted in either English or French.
  6. Offers received on or before the stipulated RFSO closing date and time will become the property of Canada and will not be returned. All offers will be treated as confidential, subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act ( R.S., 1985, c. A-1) and the Privacy Act ( R.S., 1985, c. P-21).
  7. Unless specified otherwise in the RFSO, Canada will evaluate only the documentation provided with an offeror's offer. Canada will not evaluate information such as references to Web site addresses where additional information can be found, or technical manuals or brochures not submitted with the offer.
  8. An offer cannot be assigned or transferred in whole or in part.

06 (2018-05-22) Late offers

PWGSC will return or delete offers delivered after the stipulated RFSO closing date and time, unless they qualify as a delayed offer as described in section 07.

For late offers submitted using means other than the Canada Post Corporation's epost Connect service, the physical offer will be returned.

For offers submitted electronically, the late offers will be deleted. As an example, offers submitted using Canada Post Corporation's epost Connect service, conversations initiated by the Bid Receiving Unit via the epost Connect service pertaining to a late offer will be deleted. Records will be kept documenting the transaction history of all late offers submitted using epost Connect.

07 (2018-05-22) Delayed offers

  1. An offer delivered to the specified Bid Receiving Unit after the RFSO closing date and time but before the standing offer issuance date may be considered, provided the offeror can prove the delay is due solely to a delay in delivery that can be attributed to the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) (or national equivalent of a foreign country). Private courier (Purolator Inc., Fedex Inc., etc.) is not considered to be part of CPC for the purposes of delayed offers.
    1. The only pieces of evidence relating to a delay in the CPC system that are acceptable to PWGSC are:
      1. a CPC cancellation date stamp;
      2. a CPC Priority Courier bill of lading;
      3. a CPC Xpresspost label;

      that clearly indicates that the offer was sent before the RFSO closing date.

    2. The only piece of evidence relating to a delay in the epost Connect service provided by CPC system that is acceptable to PWGSC is a CPC epost Connect service date and time record indicated in the epost Connect conversation history that clearly indicates that the offer was sent before the RFSO closing date and time.
  2. Misrouting, traffic volume, weather disturbances, labour disputes or any other causes for the late delivery of offers are not acceptable reasons for the offer to be accepted by PWGSC.
  3. Postage meter imprints, whether imprinted by the Offeror, the CPC or the postal authority outside Canada, are not acceptable as proof of timely mailing.

08 (2019-03-04) Transmission by facsimile or by epost Connect

  1. Facsimile
    1. Unless specified otherwise in the RFSO, offers may be submitted by facsimile.
      1. PWGSC, National Capital Region: The only acceptable facsimile number for responses to RFSOs issued by PWGSC headquarters is 819-997-9776 or, if applicable, the facsimile number identified in the RFSO.
      2. PWGSC regional offices: The facsimile number for responses to RFSOs issued by PWGSC regional offices is identified in the RFSO.
    2. For offers transmitted by facsimile, Canada will not be responsible for any failure attributable to the transmission or receipt of the faxed offer including, but not limited to, the following:
      1. receipt of garbled, corrupted or incomplete offer;
      2. availability or condition of the receiving facsimile equipment;
      3. incompatibility between the sending and receiving equipment;
      4. delay in transmission or receipt of the offer;
      5. failure of the Offeror to properly identify the offer;
      6. illegibility of the offer; or
      7. security of offer data.
    3. An offer transmitted by facsimile will constitute the formal offer of the Offeror and must be submitted in accordance with section 05.
  2. epost Connect
    1. Unless specified otherwise in the RFSO, offers may be submitted by using the epost Connect service provided by Canada Post Corporation.
      1. PWGSC, National Capital Region: The only acceptable email address to use with epost Connect for responses to RFSOs issued by PWGSC headquarters is: tpsgc.dgareceptiondessoumissions-abbidreceiving.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca, or if applicable, the email address identified in the RFSO.
      2. PWGSC regional offices: The only acceptable email address to use with epost Connect for responses to RFSOs issued by PWGSC regional offices is identified in the RFSO.
    2. To submit an offer using epost Connect service, the Offeror must either:
      1. send directly its offer only to the specified PWGSC Bid Receiving Unit using its own licensing agreement for epost Connect provided by Canada Post Corporation; or
      2. send as early as possible, and in any case, at least six business days prior to the RFSO closing date and time, (in order to ensure a response), an email that includes the RFSO number to the specified PWGSC Bid Receiving Unit requesting to open an epost Connect conversation. Requests to open an epost Connect conversation received after that time may not be answered.
    3. If the Offeror sends an email requesting epost Connect service to the specified Bid Receiving Unit in the RFSO, an officer of the Bid Receiving Unit will then initiate an epost Connect conversation. The epost Connect conversation will create an email notification from Canada Post Corporation prompting the Offeror to access and action the message within the conversation. The Offeror will then be able to transmit its offer afterward at any time prior to the RFSO closing date and time.
    4. If the Offeror is using its own licensing agreement to send its offer, the Offeror must keep the epost Connect conversation open until at least 30 business days after the RFSO closing date and time.
    5. The RFSO number should be identified in the epost Connect message field of all electronic transfers.
    6. It should be noted that the use of epost Connect service requires a Canadian mailing address. Should an offeror not have a Canadian mailing address, they may use the Bid Receiving Unit address specified in the RFSO in order to register for the epost Connect service.
    7. For offers transmitted by epost Connect service, Canada will not be responsible for any failure attributable to the transmission or receipt of the offer including, but not limited to, the following:
      1. receipt of a garbled, corrupted or incomplete offer;
      2. availability or condition of the epost Connect service;
      3. incompatibility between the sending and receiving equipment;
      4. delay in transmission or receipt of the offer;
      5. failure of the Offeror to properly identify the offer;
      6. illegibility of the offer;
      7. security of offer data; or,
      8. inability to create an electronic conversation through the epost Connect service.
    8. The Bid Receiving Unit will send an acknowledgement of the receipt of offer document(s) via the epost Connect conversation, regardless of whether the conversation was initiated by the supplier using its own license or the Bid Receiving Unit. This acknowledgement will confirm only the receipt of offer document(s) and will not confirm if the attachments may be opened nor if the content is readable.
    9. Offerors must ensure that that they are using the correct email address for the Bid Receiving Unit when initiating a conversation in epost Connect or communicating with the Bid Receiving Unit and should not rely on the accuracy of copying and pasting the email address into the epost Connect system.
    10. An offer transmitted by epost Connect service constitutes the formal offer of the Offeror and must be submitted in accordance with section 05.

09 (2010-10-07) Customs clearance

It is the responsibility of the Offeror to allow sufficient time to obtain Customs clearance, where required, before the RFSO closing date and time. Delays related to the obtaining of Customs clearance cannot be construed as "undue delay in the mail" and will not be accepted as a delayed offer under section 07.

The Offeror must have the legal capacity to contract. If the Offeror is a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporate body, the Offeror must provide, if requested by the Standing Offer Authority, a statement and any requested supporting documentation indicating the laws under which it is registered or incorporated together with the registered or corporate name and place of business. This also applies to offerors submitting an offer as a joint venture.

11 (2007-11-30) Rights of Canada

Canada reserves the right to:

  1. reject any or all offers received in response to the RFSO;
  2. enter into negotiations with offerors on any or all aspects of their offers;
  3. authorize for utilization any offer in whole or in part without negotiations;
  4. cancel the RFSO at any time;
  5. reissue the RFSO;
  6. if no responsive offers are received and the requirement is not substantially modified, reissue the RFSO by inviting only the offerors who submitted an offer to resubmit offers within a period designated by Canada; and,
  7. negotiate with the sole responsive offeror to ensure best value to Canada.

12 (2014-09-25) Rejection of offer

  1. Canada may reject an offer where any of the following circumstances is present:
    1. the Offeror is subject to a Vendor Performance Corrective Measure, under the Vendor Performance Corrective Measure Policy, which renders the Offeror ineligible to submit an offer for the requirement;
    2. an employee, or subcontractor included as part of the offer, is subject to a Vendor Performance Corrective Measure, under the Vendor Performance Corrective Measure Policy, which would render that employee or subcontractor ineligible to submit an offer for the requirement, or the portion of the requirement the employee or subcontractor is to perform;
    3. the Offeror is bankrupt or where, for whatever reason, its activities are rendered inoperable for an extended period;
    4. evidence, satisfactory to Canada, of fraud, bribery, fraudulent misrepresentation or failure to comply with any law protecting individuals against any manner of discrimination, has been received with respect to the Offeror, any of its employees or any subcontractor included as part of the offer;
    5. evidence satisfactory to Canada that based on past conduct or behavior, the Offeror, a subcontractor or a person who is to perform the Work is unsuitable or has conducted himself/herself improperly;
    6. with respect to current or prior transactions with the Government of Canada:
      1. Canada has exercised its contractual remedies of suspension or termination for default with respect to a contract with the Offeror, any of its employees or any subcontractor included as part of the offer;
      2. Canada determines that the Offeror's performance on other contracts, including the efficiency and workmanship as well as the extent to which the Offeror performed the Work in accordance with contractual clauses and conditions, is sufficiently poor to jeopardize the successful completion of the requirement being bid on.
  2. Where Canada intends to reject an offer pursuant to a provision of subsection 1. (f), the Standing Offer Authority will so inform the Offeror and provide the Offeror 10 days within which to make representations, before making a final decision on the offer rejection.
  3. Canada reserves the right to apply additional scrutiny, in particular, when multiple offers are received in response to a request for standing offers from a single offeror or a joint venture. Canada reserves the right to:
    1. reject any or all of the offers submitted by a single offeror or joint venture if their inclusion in the evaluation has the effect of prejudicing the integrity and fairness of the process, or;
    2. reject any or all of the offers submitted by a single offeror or joint venture if their inclusion in the procurement process would distort the solicitation evaluation, and would cause a result that would not reasonably have been expected under prevailing market conditions and/or would not provide good value to Canada.

13 (2014-03-01) Communications—solicitation period

To ensure the integrity of the competitive RFSO process, enquiries and other communications regarding the RFSO must be directed only to the Standing Offer Authority identified in the RFSO. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the offer being declared non-responsive.

To ensure consistency and quality of information provided to offerors, significant enquiries received and their replies will be posted on the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS). For further information, refer to subsection 3 of the Submission of offers section.

14 (2007-11-30) Price justification

In the event that the Offeror's offer is the sole responsive offer received, the Offeror must provide, on Canada's request, one or more of the following price justification:

  1. a current published price list indicating the percentage discount available to Canada; or
  2. a copy of paid invoices for the like quality and quantity of the goods, services or both sold to other customers; or
  3. a price breakdown showing the cost of direct labour, direct materials, purchased items, engineering and plant overheads, general and administrative overhead, transportation, etc., and profit; or
  4. price or rate certifications; or
  5. any other supporting documentation as requested by Canada.

15 (2007-05-25) Offer costs

No payment will be made for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an offer in response to the RFSO. Costs associated with preparing and submitting an offer, as well as any costs incurred by the Offeror associated with the evaluation of the offer, are the sole responsibility of the Offeror.

16 (2008-12-12) Conduct of evaluation

  1. In conducting its evaluation of the offers, Canada may, but will have no obligation to, do the following:
    1. seek clarification or verification from offerors regarding any or all information provided by them with respect to the RFSO;
    2. contact any or all references supplied by offerors to verify and validate any information submitted by them;
    3. request, before issuance of any standing offer, specific information with respect to offerors' legal status;
    4. conduct a survey of offerors' facilities and/or examine their technical, managerial, and financial capabilities to determine if they are adequate to meet the requirements of the RFSO;
    5. correct any error in the extended pricing of offers by using unit pricing and any error in quantities in offers to reflect the quantities stated in the RFSO; in the case of error in the extension of prices, the unit price will govern.
    6. verify any information provided by offerors through independent research, use of any government resources or by contacting third parties;
    7. interview, at the sole costs of offerors, any offeror and/or any or all of the resources proposed by offerors to fulfill the requirement of the RFSO.
  2. Offerors will have the number of days specified in the request by the Standing Offer Authority to comply with any request related to any of the above items. Failure to comply with the request may result in the offer being declared non-responsive.

17 (2007-11-30) Joint venture

  1. A joint venture is an association of two or more parties who combine their money, property, knowledge, expertise or other resources in a single joint business enterprise, sometimes referred as a consortium, to submit an offer together on a requirement. Offerors who submit an offer as a joint venture must indicate clearly that it is a joint venture and provide the following information:
    1. the name of each member of the joint venture;
    2. the Procurement Business Number of each member of the joint venture;
    3. the name of the representative of the joint venture, i.e. the member chosen by the other members to act on their behalf, if applicable;
    4. the name of the joint venture, if applicable.
  2. If the information is not clearly provided in the offer, the Offeror must provide the information on request from the Standing Offer Authority.
  3. The offer and any resulting standing offer must be signed by all the members of the joint venture unless one member has been appointed to act on behalf of all members of the joint venture. The Standing Offer Authority may, at any time, require each member of the joint venture to confirm that the representative has been appointed with full authority to act as its representative for the purposes of the RFSO and any resulting standing offer. If a standing offer is issued to a joint venture, all members of the joint venture will be jointly and severally or solidarily liable for the performance of any contract resulting from a call-up against the standing offer.

18 (2012-03-02) Conflict of interest—unfair advantage

  1. In order to protect the integrity of the procurement process, offerors are advised that Canada may reject an offer in the following circumstances:
    1. if the Offeror, any of its subcontractors, any of their respective employees or former employees was involved in any manner in the preparation of the RFSO or in any situation of conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest;
    2. if the Offeror, any of its subcontractors, any of their respective employees or former employees had access to information related to the RFSO that was not available to other offerors and that would, in Canada's opinion, give or appear to give the Offeror an unfair advantage.
  2. The experience acquired by an offeror who is providing or has provided the goods and services described in the RFSO (or similar goods or services) will not, in itself, be considered by Canada as conferring an unfair advantage or creating a conflict of interest. This offeror remains however subject to the criteria established above.
  3. Where Canada intends to reject an offer under this section, the Standing Offer Authority will inform the Offeror and provide the Offeror an opportunity to make representations before making a final decision. Offerors who are in doubt about a particular situation should contact the Standing Offer Authority before the RFSO closing. By submitting an offer, the Offeror represents that it does not consider itself to be in conflict of interest nor to have an unfair advantage. The Offeror acknowledges that it is within Canada's sole discretion to determine whether a conflict of interest, unfair advantage or an appearance of conflict of interest or unfair advantage exists.

19 (2008-12-12) Entire requirement

The RFSO contains all the requirements relating to the request for offers. Any other information or documentation provided to or obtained by an offeror from any source are not relevant. Offerors should not assume that practices used under previous contracts will continue, unless they are described in the RFSO. Offerors should also not assume that their existing capabilities meet the requirements of the RFSO simply because they have met previous requirements.

20 (2017-04-27) Further information

  1. For further information, offerors may contact the Standing Offer Authority identified in the RFSO.
  2. For RFSOs issued out of PWGSC headquarters, enquiries concerning receipt of offers may be addressed to the Bid Receiving Unit, Procurement Operational Support Division, telephone 819-420-7200. For RFSOs issued out of PWGSC regional offices, enquiries concerning receipt of offers may be addressed to the Standing Offer Authority identified in the RFSO.

21 (2016-04-04) Code of Conduct for Procurement—offer

The Code of Conduct for Procurement provides that Offerors must respond to Requests for Standing Offers (RFSO) in an honest, fair and comprehensive manner, accurately reflect their capacity to satisfy the requirements set out in the RFSO and resulting contract, submit offers and enter into contracts only if they will fulfill all obligations of the Contract. By submitting an offer, the Offeror is certifying that it is complying with the Code of Conduct for Procurement. Failure to comply with the Code of Conduct for Procurement, may render the offer non-responsive.