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Public Services and Procurement 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. Suppliers must always be provided a reasonable amount of time to prepare and submit responsive tenders, regardless of any prescribed minimum solicitation periods. The setting of a solicitation closing date must take into account the level of complexity of the procurement and 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.

    Except for low dollar value procurements (i.e. below $25,000 for goods and $40,000 for construction and services, including all applicable taxes), solicitation periods should be a minimum of 15 calendar days, unless there is a state of urgency.

  2. For procurements that are not subject to any trade agreements, the solicitation period (whether publicly advertised or not), should be a minimum of 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, unless there is an urgency. The solicitation period for low dollar value procurements (i.e. below $25,000 for goods and $40,000 for construction and services, including all applicable taxes) may be less than 15 calendar days, as appropriate for efficiency and cost effectiveness.
  3. For procurements subject to only the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), the solicitation period (whether publicly advertised or not), should be a minimum of 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, unless there is an urgency. If there is an urgency, then the solicitation period may be less than 15 calendar days.
  4. For procurements subject to one or more international trade agreements:
    1. In general:
      1. The minimum solicitation period is 40 calendar days, which can be reduced by five (5) days, to a minimum of 25 calendar days, for each of the following conditions:
        1. The notice of proposed procurement (NPP) is published by electronic means;
        2. All the tender documentation is made available by electronic means from the date of publication of the NPP;
        3. The procuring entity accepts tenders by electronic means.
      2. This minimum solicitation period may be further reduced to:
        1. A minimum of 15 calendar days, if at least 40 days and not more than 12 months in advance of the publication of the NPP, the procuring entity has published a notice of planned procurement which contains:
          1. a description of the procurement;
          2. the approximate final dates for the submission of tenders or requests for participation;
          3. a statement that interested suppliers should express their interest in the procurement to the procuring entity;
          4. the address from which documents relating to the procurement may be obtained; and
          5. as much of the information that is required for the NPP, as is available;
        2. A minimum of 15 calendar days, where limited tendering is used.
    2. For procurements of commercial goods and services, provided that the Notice of Proposed Procurement (NPP) and tender documentation are published at the same time by electronic means, the solicitation period should be a minimum of 15 calendar days. Commercial goods and services are generally “off-the-shelf” requirements that include little to no customization and for which a price could be quoted from a catalogue or a standard service charge would apply. Where 15 calendar days is impracticable, the solicitation period may be reduced to a minimum of 13 calendar days, or, if tenders are accepted electronically, to a minimum of 10 calendar days.

      If the NPP and tender documentation are not published at the same time by electronic means, then the general rules regarding minimum solicitation periods for procurements subject to one or more international trade agreements, described above, apply.

    3. If there is an urgency that renders the normal solicitation period (established in accordance with the above) impracticable, the solicitation period may be reduced to:
      1. A minimum of 10 calendar days, provided that the state of urgency can be duly substantiated by the procuring entity; or
      2. To less than 10 calendar days, where limited tendering is used.
  5. When establishing a one-time or permanent list of qualified suppliers, the prequalification period must always be a reasonable period of time for suppliers to prepare and submit their qualifications. If one or more international trade agreements apply, the Invitation to Qualify or the Request for Supply Arrangement (RFSA) must be posted for at least 25 calendar days before any resulting bid solicitation(s) can close. If a state of urgency that is duly substantiated by the procuring entity renders this time impracticable, this time period may be reduced to no less than 10 days.

    For procurements done under a one-time list of prequalified suppliers or Supply Arrangement, the solicitation period is to be determined pursuant to obligations outlined above.

    Further information on trade agreement obligations for lists of prequalified suppliers can be found in Section 3.25 Trade agreements tendering approaches.

  6. Notices with closing dates only appear as “Expired” on GETS the next business day. The expired notice and the associated documents remain available on GETS.
  7. A summary of the guidance on minimum solicitation periods can be found in Annex 4.10.

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 any trade agreements, posting on GETS is required when using:
    1. open tendering; and,
    2. selective tendering:
      1. If subject to the CFTA only, only an invitation to qualify/request for supply arrangement must be posted on GETS. For further information on requirements related to prequalification, see 4.10.25.15 Canadian Free Trade Agreement and use of supply arrangements and 4.10.25.20 Ongoing qualification process.
      2. If subject to one or more international trade agreements, both the invitation to qualify/request for supply arrangement and the NPPs must be posted on GETS. For further information, see 4.10.25.5 International Trade Agreements and Use of Supply Arrangements.

    It is not required to post on GETS if using limited tendering, though posting on GETS is still recommended.

  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 see the Electronic attachments section of the Tender Management Application (TMA) Frequently Asked Questions page.
  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.

    Open tendering procedures, using GETS, must 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 must be allowed to qualify at any time, and all qualified suppliers must be included on the list.

  2. For bid solicitations that are subject to the CFTA only, all suppliers on the source list must be invited to bid, unless the invitation to qualify stated a limitation on the number of suppliers that will be permitted to tender and included the criteria for selecting the limited number of suppliers, in which case a limited number of qualified suppliers may be invited to tender. It is not required to post a NPP on GETS. For further information, see 3.25 Trade agreements tendering approaches, 3.50.5 Applicability of trade agreements to standing offers and supply arrangements, and 4.10.25.15 Canadian Free Trade Agreement and use of supply arrangements.
  3. For bid solicitations that are subject to one or more international trade agreements, a Notice of Proposed Procurement (NPP) must be published on the GETS. All suppliers on the source list must be able to bid. Further, if a supplier that is not included on the source list requests to participate in the bid solicitation, they must be able to apply for qualification. If qualified, the supplier must be included in the SA within a reasonable period of time and be allowed to participate in the procurement in question. For further information, see 3.25 Trade agreements tendering approaches, 3.50.5 Applicability of trade agreements to standing offers and supply arrangements, and 4.10.25.5 International Trade Agreements and Use of Supply Arrangements.

4.75.45.10 Requirements not subject to trade agreements

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  1. For requirements which are not subject to 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.