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Public Works and Government Services Canada

4.75. Issuance of the Solicitation

4.75.1 Client Department Review of Elements of a Solicitation

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  1. For sensitive or high-risk procurements, before issuing the solicitation, the contracting officer must clearly explain to the client department their responsibilities with respect to the solicitation and obtain written confirmation from the client department via e-mail, facsimile or mail, the following:
    1. that the Statement of Work, Statement of Requirement and/or the technical specifications, which will be included in the solicitation, accurately represent their requirements; and
    2. that the client department concurs with the evaluation criteria and contractor selection methodology detailed in the solicitation, and that the ratio of percentages with respect to the technical evaluation in relation to the price evaluation represents value for money.
  2. Contracting officers should refer their client departments to any formal agreements between PWGSC and the client department concerning the division of responsibilities relating to the procurement process (see Annex 1.1: Matrix of Responsibilities between PWGSC and Client Departments for the Procurement of Goods and Services (Generic)). The contracting officer must record on file all significant decisions made in consultation with the client department, regarding requirement definition and technical evaluation. For more information on evaluation criteria, see 4.35 Evaluation Criteria.
  3. It is the client department's responsibility to determine the required level of authority of the personnel authorized to provide the client department confirmation detailed above.

4.75.5 Determining the Solicitation Period

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  1. The setting of a solicitation closing date must take into account the level of complexity of the procurement, the extent of subcontracting anticipated. Sufficient time must be allowed for a supplier to obtain the solicitation, and any additional material, if applicable, and to prepare and submit a response.
  2. For procurements that are not subject to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) or the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO-AGP), the solicitation period (whether publicly advertised or not), unless there are pressing circumstances, should not be less than 15 calendar days either from the date the requirement is posted publicly, or, in the case of procurements not publicly advertised, from the date the solicitation is released. Low dollar value procurements below $25,000, including all applicable taxes, may be for less than 15 days, as appropriate for efficiency and cost effectiveness.
  3. For procurements that are subject to NAFTA, CETA and/or WTO-AGP, the following periods apply:
    1. For open tendering procedures, the solicitation period must not be less than 40 calendar days from the date that the Notice of Proposed Procurement (NPP) is published on Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS).
    2. For selective tendering procedures not involving the use of a permanent list of qualified suppliers, an invitation to qualify must be published for a minimum of 25 days on GETS. Following the 25-day period, a NPP can then be published on GETS for a period of no less than 40 days.
    3. When conducting procurement using selective tendering from a permanent list of qualified suppliers, in addition to sending solicitations to the selected suppliers from the list, a NPP must be published. The NPP should be published at the same time as the initial issuance of the solicitations. When this is done, the period for receipt of solicitation must be no less than 40 days from the date of the publication of the NPP.
    4. any time period for publication noted above may be reduced in certain circumstances:
      1. in the case of recurring contracts where the original NPP provided an estimate of when the subsequent notices will be published, the solicitation period for subsequent procurements may be reduced, but not to less than 24 calendar days; and
      2. where a state of urgency can be duly substantiated, the solicitation period may be reduced, but not less than 10 calendar days.
    5. When using electronic tendering, CETA (Article 19.10.5) allows for a reduction of the minimum tendering period by five days for each one of the following circumstances:
      1. the notice of intended procurement is published by electronic means;
      2. all the tender documentation is made available by electronic means from the date of the publication of the notice of intended procurement; and
      3. the entity accepts tenders by electronic means.
  4. NAFTA, CETA and the WTO-AGP specify minimum publication periods. At that point, the contracting officer must make a business decision on how much the solicitation period need to be reduced.
  5. Notices with closing dates only appear as “Expired” on GETS the next business day.. The expired notice and and the associated documents remain available on GETS.

4.75.10 Public Advertisement

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Public advertisement using the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) is Public Works and Government Services Canada's (PWGSC) preferred notification process for competitive procurement.

GETS is where the Government of Canada posts procurement opportunities and allows suppliers to search for them on-line. Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is the official site for Canada to meet its trade agreement obligations and is the authoritative and first source for Government of Canada tenders. For more information about GETS visit the Buyandsell.gc.ca Tenders or contact the InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148.

4.75.15 Notice of Proposed Procurement

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  1. Notification that a solicitation opportunity is available occurs through the posting of a Notice of Proposed Procurement (NPP) on the Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS).
  2. A NPP is a summary of the solicitation that briefly describes the requirement, and provides pertinent information that will assist suppliers to determine their interest in fulfilling the requirement and their ability to successfully meet any key conditions for participating. If applicable, contracting officers must indicate in the NPP which trade agreement or agreements apply or if Canadian content restrictions apply. (For example, solicitations may specify that the requirement has been set aside under the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business or restricted to Canadian-based suppliers as a result of a National Security Exception. In these cases only aboriginal suppliers or Canadian-based suppliers respectively would be eligible to bid.)
  3. The NPP must indicate whether additional material will be posted on GETS or made available separately.
  4. Many procurement units have developed templates to assist contracting officers to develop NPPs. Contracting officers should consult with their managers to determine if templates are routinely used in that procurement unit.
  5. The NPP should advise the suppliers of their option to request a debriefing. For samples of suggested text, refer to the Standard Procurement Templates (Simple, MC, HC, RFSO and RFSA) of the SACC Manual. Any other notices (i.e. newspapers) should contain the same statement.
  6. When entering the point of delivery information on the NPP within the Automated Buyer Environment (ABE) for a standing offer or supply arrangement, the contracting officer must select only those provinces or territories where potential deliveries may occur. The "Canadian flag button" in the NPP must only be selected if it is for a National (Master or Individual) Standing Offer and potential deliveries may take place in all of the provinces and territories.

4.75.15.1 Official Language Policy Applicable to a Notice of Proposed Procurement

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  1. All NPPs must be prepared and posted in both official languages and are to specify the language of service of the issuing office. Suggested wording is:
    "This PWGSC office provides procurement services to the public in their ___(insert one of the following: "official languages"; "English" or "French")".
    Note: This notice is not automatically generated by the system.
  2. Contracting officers who are identified in NPPs issued by bilingual offices, must be able to deal with inquiries equally well in both official languages. This may require identifying different officers in each language version of the NPP. Contracting officers who are identified in NPPs issued by unilingual offices will provide service in the language of that office. Contracting officers identified in the NPP should be familiar with the requirements associated with the NPPs.

4.75.15.5 Language Designation of Offices

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  1. PWGSC offices designated as being bilingual offices:
    • Moncton, N.B.
    • Montreal, Que.
    • Saint John, N.B.
    • Quebec, Que.
    • National Capital Region
    • Bagotville, Que.
  2. PWGSC offices designated as being unilingual offices:
    • St. John's, N.L.
    • Winnipeg, Man.
    • Calgary, Alta.
    • Halifax, N.S.
    • Brandon, Man.
    • Vancouver, B.C.
    • Pembroke, Ont.
    • Saskatoon, Sask.
    • Victoria, B.C.
    • Willowdale, Ont.
    • Regina, Sask.
    • Whitehorse, Y.T.
    • Mississauga, Ont.
    • Edmonton, Alta.

4.75.20 Procedure for Posting of Notice of Proposed Procurement on Government Electronic Tendering Service

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  1. For procurements subject to NAFTA, CETA, WTO-AGP, CFTA and AIT, posting on GETS is required when using:
    1. open tendering; and,
    2. selective tendering:
      1. subject to NAFTA, CETA and WTO-AGP (or these agreements in combination with other agreements, including the CFTA or AIT);
      2. when using a one-time source list, notice must be published to invite suppliers to qualify for inclusion on the list. Notice must also be given to solicit bids/offers/arrangements. This would normally require the publishing of two separate notices;
      3. when using a permanent source list, a notice must be published annually (see CETA Article 19.8.7(b)), identifying the existence of the source list, and how to qualify. Notice must also be published for each bid solicitation, involving the use of the list; and
      4. covered by CFTA or AIT only when using a one-time or permanent source list: a notice must be published annually, identifying the existence of the source list and how to qualify.
  2. Contracting officers can create and transmit NPPs, as well as the solicitation document to GETS, through the Automated Buyer Environment (ABE).
  3. ABE sends the NPP and solicitation documents for posting on GETS
  4. To ensure that solicitation packages are posted to GETS the next business day, contracting officers must issue their ABE-generated notices and solicitation documents no later than 4:00 p.m. (ET). Extra time for posting to GETS is required if there is a Drawings and Specifications Package (DSP) or a native file attachment requirement external to ABE. The required files are attached using the Tender Management Application (TMA) prior to posting on GETS. For more information about file attachment through TMA, please contact the InfoLine at: 1-800-811-1148.
  5. The regular daily posting schedule to ABE is after midnight (ET).
  6. Contracting officers are responsible for preparing and posting procurement notices on GETS, and, in the case of selective tendering procedures, any annual notices, which establish and maintain a permanent list of qualified suppliers.

4.75.25 Procedures for Posting Solicitation Documents on Government Electronic Tendering Service

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  1. PWGSC Contracting officers use ABE or TMA to create their solicitations for each publicly advertised competitive solicitation that are then posted on GETS.
  2. The ABE Support Team - Acquisitions Services Support Desk (ASSD), Business Operations Service Management Directorate, acts as a focal point between GETS and the contracting officers to facilitate corrections.
  3. Contracting officers should check GETS the day after issuing the notice from ABE. If there are discrepancies, or the notice has not been posted, the contracting officer should notify ASSD. The ASSD Team may be contacted either by telephone at 819-956-3325, or by e-mail at: basa-assd@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.
  4. The contracting officer must ensure that the notice and solicitation(s) (including all attachments) are accurate, complete and have been successfully posted on GETS. Corrections required on solicitations remain the responsibility of the contracting officer.

4.75.30 Distribution of Material Not Electronically Available

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  1. When the solicitation or additional material cannot be posted on GETS, contracting officers must ensure the solicitations, in a physical format (such as paper, CD or DVD), or the additional materials (for example, samples, technical drawings and specifications) are available and are distributed to others.
  2. Contracting officers should confirm that documents are not protected by any ownership restrictions and that they can be copied and distributed.
  3. To obtain the required copies of non-electronic solicitations, contracting officers may make the copies themselves or request the required copies from the client department. The client department initiating the requisition will be responsible for the duplication costs associated with ensuring that sufficient copies of a procurement package are available.
  4. When additional materials associated with a solicitation (for example, samples or protected documents) are being sent directly to suppliers, the originating PWGSC office is responsible for selecting an appropriate method to ensure that this documentation or material is sent to each supplier that requests a solicitation.
  5. If technical data must be sent to suppliers from a different source, for example, distributed by the client department), the solicitation should not be posted until the data is available from that source. The solicitation must identify the source.
  6. Suppliers are responsible for obtaining copies of the necessary technical data if they are available to the trade through normal business channels.

4.75.35 Contacting Suppliers Directly During the Solicitation Period

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  1. On occasion, based on commodity/market knowledge, a contracting officer may conclude that suppliers of a good or service will not see or respond to a solicitation if it appears only on the GETS. In such cases, in order to stimulate effective competition and seek best value for Canadian taxpayers, the contracting officer may contact all such known suppliers to inform them that the solicitation opportunity has been posted.
  2. This contact must only take place after the Notice of Proposed Procurement has appeared on the GETS, and it should take place as quickly as possible so that the suppliers contacted do not lose time. To ensure that there will be no question of preferential treatment, this communication should be in writing so that it can be shown that all suppliers had access to the same information at the same time.
  3. The specific purpose of this contact is to ensure that the suppliers know that there is an opportunity available and to direct them to GETS. For that reason, the contact will be limited to giving brief information about the good or service being procured and to providing the appropriate reference (one or more of reference number, Source ID and solicitation number). It must not include any information that will not be available to suppliers who find out about the opportunity directly through GETS.
  4. Contracting officers must document on the file, the date and name of each supplier that was contacted. The recommended method of notification is the provision of a copy of the NPP.

4.75.40 Distribution of Solicitation Material to Invited Suppliers

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  1. When procurement is not going to be advertised on GETS, the contracting officer must ensure the distribution of solicitations to invited suppliers.
  2. For requirements not subject to public advertising, the list of suppliers being invited must be released automatically to all suppliers on that list at the time of solicitation. Lists should be updated as new suppliers request the solicitation.
  3. When the client department is responsible for distributing additional technical documentation that may accompany the solicitation, the contracting officer must forward the name and address of the invited suppliers to the client department. Client departments should be requested to document that the technical material was distributed to the appropriate recipients.
  4. When dealing with sensitive (designated/classified) requirements, the source list or solicitation and contract information are not generally released. Requests for the List of Suppliers should be referred to the Access to Information and Privacy Office at 819-956-1820.

4.75.45 Use of Source Lists

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4.75.45.1 Solicitation by Direct Invitation

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  1. Source lists are generally the basis for requesting suppliers to bid/provide an offer or arrangement when a competitive procurement is not publicly advertised.
  2. Normally, where source lists are used, other than rotational source lists:
    1. Any other supplier making a request may be provided with a bid solicitation and be considered for evaluation.
    2. These lists may be supplemented by a contracting officer's knowledge of potential sources and recommendations made by the client.

4.75.45.5 Requirements subject to trade agreements

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  1. For requirements subject to the international trade agreements and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, source lists may be established for particular goods and services, where it is appropriate to establish a list of pre-qualified suppliers. Such lists should be refreshed at a minimum annually.
  2. Open tendering procedures, using GETS, should be used to invite suppliers to submit their expressions of qualifications for evaluation and placement on the list, if they meet the selection criteria. Suppliers will be allowed to qualify at any time between the refreshment of the list.
  3. Selective tendering procedures can then be used to invite the suppliers on the list to submit bids/offers/arrangements for a particular requirement for the specific good or service for which the list was created. See Article 1010 and Article 1011 of NAFTA in Chapter 10, Article 19.8 of CETA, Article IX of WTO-AGP and Article 508 of the CFTA.

4.75.45.10 Requirements Not Subject to Trade Agreements

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  1. For requirements, which are not subject to the international trade agreements and where open competition is not appropriate, due to the nature of the requirement, bids/offers/arrangements may be solicited directly from a list of suppliers. If a source list for the particular good or service does not exist, contracting officers should consider using the Supplier Registration Information service to identify potential sources of supply, especially for low dollar value goods and services.

    In preparing the source list, the contracting officer may include suppliers suggested by the client department.

  2. Automated Source Lists such as the Automated Vendor Rotation System (AVRS)and SELECT, provide a systematic rotation of vendors in order to ensure equity of opportunity for suppliers, and must be used where they apply.
  3. Whenever a supplier requests an opportunity to submit a bid/offer/arrangement on a specific requirement, that supplier must be given the opportunity, provided that it is not necessary to cancel the existing solicitation and issue a new one. This provision does not generally apply to rotational source lists such as SELECT, which typically limits the solicitation to those suppliers selected for a particular requirement.
  4. Contracting officers are reminded that an effort should be made to ensure best value to Canada in terms of who is invited, and also that the principle of "fairness and access" be displayed in a practical manner by rotating opportunities to submit a bid/offer/arrangement within the suppliers on any given list.