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3.22. Emergency requirements (Public Works and Government Services Canada as contracting authority)

  1. A pressing emergency is defined in accordance with the Treasury Board notice CPN 2007-4 - Non-Competitive Contracting and includes:
    1. an actual/imminent life-threatening situation;
    2. a disaster endangering quality of life or safety of Canadians;
    3. a disaster resulting in the loss of life; or
    4. a disaster resulting in significant loss/damage to Crown Property.
  2. Part III Emergency Contracting Limits of the Treasury Board Contracts Directive allows that any department or agency may enter into and amend a contract up to a total value of $1 million (including amendments and all applicable taxes including GST or HST) in response to a pressing emergency requirement. The most senior official available should approve such contracts. It is important to verify each department’s internal delegation and implementation policies before applying these instructions.
  3. Additionally, Part III of the Treasury Board Contracts Directive contains an exceptional emergency contracting authority, which allows that the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (as a contracting authority) may enter into a non-competitive contract up to a total value of $15 million without Treasury Board approval in response to pressing emergencies by departments where there is significant human and/or financial risks. Note: The Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) has delegated this authority to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Acquisitions Branch and the Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Acquisitions Branch.
  4. PWGSC’s Acquisitions Branch emergency contracting authority for client departments can be used only if all of the following criteria are met:
    1. the National Security Exception or extreme urgency provision of each applicable trade agreement has been invoked;
    2. the requirement cannot be satisfied by normal contracting procedures due to the urgency of the situation; and
    3. the applicable client department provides their Minister’s approval of the initiation of the emergency requirement by PWGSC to the Minister of PWGSC.
  5. Contracts for emergency requirements must be approved by the most senior official available. PWGSC contracting officers must provide a procurement plan or a briefing note describing the reasons for requesting the emergency requirement, and identifying the extreme urgency provision of the applicable trade agreements being invoked and the proposed procurement strategy.
  6. In some emergency cases, Canada may have to consider limiting a contractor’s liability or may have to provide indemnification. It is the obligation of the client department to get their Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) approval for Limitation of Liability, even when PWGSC is acting as the contracting authority. Table B.1 of Section B.2 of the Directive on the Management of Procurement requires that:
    When an emergency arises where a limitation of liability or indemnification of the contractor is justified, and where a delay to seek approval of the limitation or indemnification would be injurious to the public interest, the contracting authority is to obtain, at a minimum, a preliminary approval from its departmental senior financial officer, or his or her delegate, before entering into the contract. Departments are to include the financial assessment as well as all the limitation or indemnification details in the report that is sent to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) within 60 days of the authorization or beginning of the work. The departmental senior financial officer or his or her delegate is to approve this report.
  7. Contracting officers must report on the details of the use of the emergency contracting authority to the TB Secretariat (Executive Director, Procurement Policy Division) within 60 calendar days of the use of the authorization or beginning of the work. Appendix C, Part III of the Treasury Board Contracts Directive requires that the report should contain the following:
    1. detailed information about the circumstances of the emergency situation;
    2. the type and total value of the awarded contract;
    3. the reason(s) why the bidding requirements were not practical or permissible;
    4. the department or agency’s delegated contracting authority level at which the emergency contract entry was approved.
  8. Ratification of emergency contracts
    Treasury Board approval is required for any emergency contract over $15 million. If an emergency contract exceeding $15 million is entered into, ratification of the contract must be sought from the Treasury Board as soon as possible. If a contracting authority uses the emergency contracting authority in error, ratification would also be required when the contract value exceeds the departmental basic or exceptional limits. The Treasury Board submission for ratification is to be submitted in addition to the report detailing the emergency contract.
  9. For emergency procurements subject to Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements (CLCAs), contracting officers should contact Indigenous Procurement Advisory Services Division (IPASD) by email at tpsgc.rcndgaertgsaea-ncrabclcapsab.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca for assistance with determining how a CLCA may affect the overall procurement strategy. See section 9.35 Modern Treaties for additional information.

3.22.5 Exceptions to Processes when an Emergency

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  1. With respect to the Vendor Performance Corrective Measure Policy (VPCMP), an exception may be made in accordance with section 8.180.25 Exceptions.
  2. With respect to the Integrity Provisions (see section 3.51 Integrity Overview), contracting officers must verify with the Registrar of ineligibility and suspension (the Registrar) that the supplier is not ineligible to be awarded a contract. Where the emergency is occurring after hours and the Registrar is not available, contracting officers should make reasonable effort to consult the public Ineligibility and Suspension List prior to awarding the contract and complete the verification process the following day. If a contract has been awarded to an ineligible supplier as a result of an emergency, contracting officers must contact the Acquisitions Program Integrity Secretariat at TPSGC.DGAIntegrite-ABIntegrity.PWGSC@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca for instructions on how to notify the Departmental Oversight Branch (DOB) that a contract was awarded to an ineligible supplier.

3.22.10 Emergency Requirements (Government Departments and Agencies)

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  1. Part III of the Treasury Board Contracts Directive allows that any department or agency may enter into and amend a contract up to a total value of $1 million (including amendments and all applicable taxes including GST or HST) in response to a pressing emergency requirement. The most senior official available should approve such contracts. It is important to verify each department’s internal delegation and implementation policies before applying these instructions.
  2. The Treasury Board Contracts Directive also contains the following exceptional emergency contracting authorities:
    1. the Minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) - $4 million for an international assistance program or project;
    2. the Minister of the Department of National Defence (DND) - $5 million for fuel, food, water and transportation services during urgent deployments of Canadian Forces units, under authorized operational orders, in situations where there will be significant human and/or financial risk; and
    3. the Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) - $15 million for services contracts related to Chanceries in response to a pressing emergency and/or national security related to threats to Canadian missions abroad and where there is significant human and/or financial risk.
    4. the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans - $10 million in response to pressing emergencies caused by oil spills, in situations where there will be significant human and/or financial risk.
  3. The emergency contracting authority listed under paragraphs b. ii., iii., and vi. can be used only if all of the following criteria are met:
    1. the national security exception or extreme urgency provision of each applicable trade agreement has been invoked;
    2. the requirement cannot be satisfied by normal contracting procedures due to the urgency of the situation; and
    3. the Minister of the applicable department approves the use of the special authorities.
  4. If the requirement is covered under a Standing Offer (SO) the client may issue a call-up only in accordance with call-up limitations specified in the SO. If the requirement exceeds the call-up limitations, the client should contact PWGSC to handle the call-up on its behalf.
  5. If the requirement is not covered under an SO, then the procurement may be handled by the client department if it is within their emergency contracting authority. For a procurement that falls outside of the client's emergency contracting authority, the client should immediately contact PWGSC and then send a requisition to PWGSC for the procurement. The client must clearly specify the technical requirement and should provide, as soon as possible, the sourcing and availability information if they know it, and substantiation for the emergency requirement as per subsection 3.22 e.
  6. Details of the use of emergency contracting authority must be reported by the client departments to the TB Secretatriat within 60 calendar days of the use of the authorization or beginning of the work, as per instructions found at subsection 3.22 g. This applies to all client departments issuing contracts under their emergency delegated authority and all PWGSC Branches that issue contracts under the PWGSC Minister’s $1 million emergency delegation.
  7. For ratification of contracts see subsection 3.22 h.
  8. For emergency procurements subject to Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements (CLCAs), see subsection 3.22 i.

3.22.15 Additional Considerations on Managing Emergency Requirements

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It is important to understand that one should not be too restrictive during an emergency and should let the requirement and timeline dictate the process to some degree. The following should be considered by contracting officers before an emergency occurs to help mitigate risk and loss during what may be a very stressful time, and to facilitate procurement when it is critical to be quick, calm and flexible.

  1. Remain calm and focused on the issue. Refer to any departmental procedures established to facilitate emergency contracting.
  2. Create a dedicated team for emergency contracting requirements, either on an "as needed" basis or on a more permanent scale.
  3. To facilitate a speedy response, assign a liaison officer who will be the point of contact for assisting and coordinating an organization’s resources.
  4. Ensure that your team is equipped to handle an emergency by ensuring that they have the tools in place to facilitate their duties.
  5. Be available and ensure that all the key players are at all critical meetings and briefings.
  6. Engage PWGSC early in the process (client departments).
  7. Maintain an open line of communication with all stakeholders.
  8. Immediately identify the most senior official available to approve a contract when using the department’s own $1 million emergency authority (client departments).
  9. Brief senior management often and document any decisions and deviations to the process.
  10. Identify specialists within your department who may be useful such as legal services, policy advisors, financial analysts, risk management advisors, commodity experts, etc.
  11. Establish and collaborate with contacts in other government departments and other levels of government such as provincial and territorial.
  12. Establish a process for quick buys including fast tracking approvals.
  13. Consider new and innovative solutions.
  14. Reduce the risk and be prepared.