Before a formal solicitation is issued, solicitations for information such as Price and Availability (P&A) enquiries and Requests for Information or Letters of Interest may be issued.
A Price and Availability (P&A) enquiry is a request sent to suppliers for information concerning approximate prices and availability of specific goods or services. It is used when such information is needed by Public Works and Government Services Canada ( PWGSC) or by a client department for program planning or budgetary purposes. A P&A enquiry could be made directly to selected suppliers, or it may be publicly posted on Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS). P&A enquiries must clearly indicate that the request is not a solicitation and that there are no commitments with respect to future purchases or contracts.
- A Request for Information (RFI) or Letter of Interest (LOI) is used when detailed information and feedback are required from suppliers. Such requests might outline a potential requirement and request suppliers to describe their ability to satisfy the requirement and to provide ideas and suggestions on how the eventual solicitation might be structured. Responses are used to assist the client department and PWGSC in finalizing their plans for the requirement and in developing achievable objectives and deliverables. RFIs/ LOIs would normally be posted on GETS in order to obtain replies from a wide audience. If a source list is to be used, the RFI or LOI may be sent only to those on the list. RFIs/ LOIs must clearly indicate that they are not solicitations and that there are no commitments with respect to future purchases or contracts.
- RFIs/ LOIs identify the client department's potential requirement and its business objectives.
- The main objectives of an RFI/ LOI are to:
- allow suppliers time to:
- assess and comment on the adequacy and clarity of the requirements as currently expressed;
- offer suggestions regarding potential alternative solutions that would meet requirements, such as solution with a lower environmental impact;
- comment on the procurement strategy, preliminary basis of payment elements, and timelines for the project, and
- comment on the draft solicitation when included with the RFI/ LOI.
- provide information to assist the client department to:
- determine whether to proceed with requirements/strategy as planned, and if so, further developing internal planning, approval and solicitation documents that may potentially lead to a solicitation;
- refine the procurement strategy, project structure, cost estimate, timelines, requirements definition, and other aspects of the requirement;
- become a more "informed buyer" with an enhanced understanding of industry goods and service offerings in the areas of interest; and
- assess potential alternative solution concepts that would meet its requirement, such as environmentally preferable solutions.
- allow suppliers time to: