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Public Services and Procurement Canada

1.10. PWGSC Procurement Process

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There is one over-arching principle for all PWGSC procurement activities: Integrity. Subordinate to this are guiding principles, which provide the framework for PWGSC procurement process. Contracting officers must always respect these principles, regardless of whether or not the actions are clearly set out in this manual.

1.10.1 Integrity


PWGSC procurement processes will be open, fair and honest.

1.10.5 Guiding Principles


All those involved in the procurement process must apply prudence, probity and transparency at each stage of the process.

  1. Client Service
    PWGSC will make every reasonable effort to satisfy the operational requirements of its clients, while obtaining the best value in each procurement process.
  2. National Objectives
    PWGSC procurement activities will advance established government policies, within the limits imposed by international trade obligations.
  3. Competition
    PWGSC procurement will be competitive, with specific exceptions.
  4. Equal Treatment
    PWGSC will ensure that all potential bidders of a particular requirement are subject to the same conditions.
  5. Accountability
    PWGSC is accountable for the integrity of the contracting process. Clients are responsible for ensuring that all information relating to their requirements, which is provided to PWGSC, is complete and accurate. (See Annex 1.1: Matrix of Responsibilities between PWGSC and Client Departments for the Procurement of Goods and Services (Generic).)

1.10.10 Procurement best practices


  1. Ensure integrity
    Contracting officers must ensure the integrity of the procurement process. If there is any doubt that what is being done (or asked by the client to be done) might bring the integrity of the process into question, the contracting officer should consider suspending the procurement process until the issue is resolved. Issues that cannot be resolved satisfactorily at the contracting officer level must be referred to a higher authority within PWGSC.
  2. Get involved early
    The procurement process can be facilitated by advance work being done with clients. This includes helping with needs identification and requirement definition, procurement strategy development, and drafting of solicitation documents before a requisition is actually received. Facilitating the process also includes ensuring that accessibility has been considered by clients and, where appropriate or necessary, is incorporated into the procurement process, including in the requirement definition and solicitation documents. This can be accomplished through ongoing liaison with the client or a review of procurement patterns. These methods can be initiated by a client request for assistance, or by a more formal process of regular consultation.
  3. Consult with peers
    Contracting officers should consult with colleagues, particularly when working with an unfamiliar situation, such as a new commodity, or incorporating accessibility into procurement requirements or solicitation documents. Their experience and advice may help to arrive at a sound decision. Referring to previous files can also be instructive, particularly for estimating things like business volume under a new contract where there is a current contract covering substantially the same activities.
  4. Liaise with the client
    The contracting officer should keep clients informed and involved, and in order to develop responsive, creative and flexible procurement strategies, their departmental needs must be understood, as well as their specific technical and accessibility requirements. When consulting the client, make the purpose plain, so that if there is a problem with a proposed approach a solution that achieves the purpose can be developed. The contracting officer must work with the client towards their operational objectives.
  5. Use specialists
    The contracting officer should seek advice from the following specialists: Legal Services, policy advisors, Access to Information and Privacy officers, quality control officers, cost analysts and risk management advisors. Specialists are available to provide guidance and recommendations in their areas of expertise. The mandatory or discretionary use of cost and price analysis specialists is detailed in the Acquisitions Program Policy SuiteThe information is only accessible to federal government department and agency employees..
  6. Communicate effectively
    Contracting officers should be very clear in communications. Written instructions accompanying each bid solicitation, for example, should be clear with no ambiguity, and be easily understood by all parties.
  7. Maintain confidentiality
    The contracting officer must treat all information of a confidential or personal nature, including bid information, in a secure and confidential manner. This ensures the integrity of the contracting process, and protects the interests of suppliers and clients.
  8. Obtain confirmation
    The contracting officer should obtain written confirmation of significant information, agreements and discussions, such as confirmation of an unusually low price, or extension of a bid validity period by the bidder.
  9. Select the appropriate contracting method
    1. Depending on which commodity is being procured, the appropriate contracting method may be a standing offer, a supply arrangement, a government-wide or multi-departmental contract, or a normal contract. See 3.15 Non-competitive Contracting Process for details on the usage of the different methods.
    2. Some commodities are available via mandatory standing offers, and these must be used unless there is a valid reason to deviate.
  10. Commodity knowledge
    Contracting officers should develop their understanding of their commodity's industry, the market conditions, opportunities, accessibility standards and options, and other pertinent factors of each commodity, which then affects the choices made by contracting officers in determining, for example, such things as the basis of payment and the selection methodology. Clients should also use their understanding of the commodity, including relevant standards or best practices, when defining their technical and accessibility requirements and scope. This would include any market analysis of capacity when the procurement is subject to a Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement.
    Contracting officers should also keep themselves informed about such things as the proposed contractor's performance history, financial situation and practices, before recommending a contract award. It also means keeping up to date with a contractor during the performance of a contract.
  11. Life Cycle Management of Assets
    Life Cycle Management of Assets (LCMA) is an integrated approach to materiel management that looks at the process as a complete system rather than separate activities. While this process is primarily the responsibility of materiel managers within client departments, procurement and disposal are a part of this process so contracting officers should discuss with the client the implications of the life cycle management process for each procurement.
  12. Maintain records
    Contracting officers must keep procurement files up to date for reasons of good management, access to information requests as well as for audit purposes. Current files should be kept up to date for anyone who may have to consult the file or assume responsibility for it at a later date. For further details, please refer to section 1.80 Information management and file documentation in the procurement process, Annex 1.4: Guidelines on paper file documentation for procurement and Annex 1.5: Guidelines on electronic file documentation for procurement.
  13. Use standard documents
    For every solicitation process (with the exception of construction and architecture and engineering services), whether for competitive or non-competitive requirements, contracting officers must only use the departmental standard procurement templates and the clauses of the Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions (SACC) Manual. Contracting officers should obtain from their supervisor the most current standard documents that have been developed in accordance with these templates within their respective areas. Directorates requiring assistance in developing documents based on these templates should contact the Strategic Policy Development and Integration Directorate of the Strategic Policy Sector by email at: For more information, see section 4.15.1 Departmental Standard Procurement Templates.