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9.40.50. Audits of the Bidder/Offeror/Supplier Certification

  1. A bidder/offeror/supplier is required to certify in its bid/offer/arrangement that it is an Aboriginal business, as defined under PSAB (see Annex 9.4: Requirements for the Set-aside Program for Aboriginal Business.) The certification includes an undertaking that the business will continue to meet the criteria, which define it as Aboriginal throughout the performance of the contract. A bidder/offeror/supplier's certification that it is Aboriginal is subject to audit, both before and after contract award.
  2. pre-award audit is mandatory for requirements valued at $2M or more. To ensure that the mandatory requirement for pre-auditing is met, it is essential that the contracting officer properly notify AANDC of such requirements, as per 9.40.30(b) above, and that the two best-assessed bids/offers/arrangements be submitted to AANDC as per 9.40.50(f). The contracting officer must not award contracts of $2M or more until AANDC has confirmed eligibility of the proposed contractor.
  3. Pre-award audits of suppliers' certifications will be conducted on a random basis for requirements under $2M. AANDC will advise the contracting officer whether a requirement is subject to pre-award audit no later than the date of solicitation closing (see 9.40.30(a)). Audits of suppliers' certifications are expected to require approximately 10 working days to be completed. When timing of contract award is an issue, this should be indicated in the notification to AANDC, so that it may determine whether the auditing process can be expedited or the procurement excluded from the random selection.
  4. Pre-award audits may be requested either by the requisitioning authority, the contracting officer, or AANDC, whenever there is a doubt regarding the validity of bidders/offerors/suppliers' certifications, regardless of the total estimated expenditure of the procurement.
  5. When AANDC has advised that the requirement will be subject to a pre-award audit, the evaluation of bids/offers/arrangements will continue up to the point that the two "best assessed" bids/offers/arrangements have been identified. This information must be provided to AANDC, minus any pricing information to undertake the pre-award audit of the bidders/offerors/suppliers' certification. Upon receipt of the results of the audit, AANDC will advise the contracting officer. If the audit confirms the validity of the bidders/offerors/suppliers' certifications, award of the contract may proceed. If the audit determines that one or more of the certificates are invalid, the subject bidders/offerors/supplier(s) whose certifications have been declared invalid must be declared non-responsive, and the next-ranked bidder/offeror/supplier becomes the "recommended bidder/offeror/supplier". If the audit reveals that both certifications are invalid, the next-ranked supplier's certification must be referred to AANDC for audit until either a bid/offer/arrangement with a valid certificate is obtained, or no bidders/offerors/suppliers remain. In the event that all bidders/offerors/suppliers are eliminated on the basis of invalid certifications, the solicitation must be reissued, either as a set-aside once again, or not set aside, after consultation with the client department. Whether the contract should be awarded to the next-ranked bidder/offeror/supplier, or the solicitation reissued, is a decision that must be made on a case-by-case basis, in keeping with sound contracting principles.
  6. After contract award, the contractor's certification is subject to audit to confirm its status as an Aboriginal business as well as to confirm that required Aboriginal content is met during the life of the contract. (For more information on Aboriginal content, please refer to AANDC’s interpretation bulletin.) Audits following contract award will normally be performed on a random basis, however where contracting officers believe it to be necessary, audit of the contractor's continued status as an Aboriginal business may be requested of AANDC.
  7. If the Aboriginal business certificate is declared invalid, or if the contractor has not completed its undertaking to continue to qualify as an Aboriginal business, it may be necessary to implement civil or contractual remedies. Contracting officers should consult with Legal Services and Aboriginal Procurement and Business Promotion Directorate, AANDC, in determining the appropriate action to be taken.