Tenders Frequently Asked Questions

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Table of Contents

About Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders

What is GETS?

The Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) is where the Government of Canada posts bid solicitations (or tenders) and allows suppliers to search for bid opportunities on line. As of June 1, 2013, all federal government tenders and related documents, including those previously posted on MERX, are available free of charge on Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders, a Government of Canada Web site.

Government of Canada procurement professionals use Buyandsell.gc.ca’s Tender Management Application (TMA) to create and publish tender notices not currently created through PWGSC’s Automated Buyer Environment (ABE). Buyandsell.gc.ca’s TMA is where other government departments and agencies, who are required to use GETS, post tender notices on Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders. Government procurement professionals can find more information at the Tender Management Application minisite.

Are Government of Canada tenders available on other third party Web sites?

The official site for Government of Canada tenders is Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders. Buyandsell.gc.ca makes all tender information available to everyone as open data. Anyone can re-publish tender information by subscribing to a publicly available syndication feed.

Who is responsible for Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).

Does Buyandsell.gc.ca publish provincial and territorial opportunities?

No. Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders only includes federal tenders. For a list of provincial and territorial Web sites, visit the page Other Government Tender Sites.

Why have Government of Canada tenders moved to Buyandsell.gc.ca?

Building on a global trend, PWGSC is following the international best practice of facilitating procurement through the web. The new Government Electronic Tendering Service (GETS) on Buyandsell.gc.ca is the central access point for federal government procurement information based on the principles of Open Data. Buyandsell.gc.ca makes it easier to find procurement information by enabling the simultaneous searching of multiple datasets such as Tenders, Contract History, and Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements (SOSA). The new GETS will deliver the first Government-of-Canada-wide procurement process service via a trusted and secure web-based platform.

How many contract opportunities does the federal government post annually?

Approximately 10,000 federal government opportunities are posted annually on the Government Electronic Tendering Service.

What is the evolution of Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

PWGSC is pursuing a digital strategy to align with its commitment to conduct procurement in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness. Further, Buyandsell.gc.ca enables PWGSC to align with the Government of Canada’s Open Government initiative. Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is a core part of PWGSC delivering on its Acquisitions Program and a key element in developing an integrated digital strategy.

A brief chronology of activities leading to the evolution of Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders:

  • In 2008, PWGSC held country-wide consultations with suppliers, provincials and territorial jurisdictions and procurement professionals. PWGSC asked stakeholders how GETS and related web-based services could be improved. A key highlight from the recommendations included the development of a single web site to access business opportunities, and obtain all related procurement information.
  • In September 2010, PWGSC in response to stakeholder recommendations, launched the Web site Buyandsell.gc.ca.
  • In the spring of 2011, PWGSC further engaged industry and other interested stakeholders about making business opportunities available via the Internet through a Request for Information (RFI). The RFI was posted on MERX from March 25 to May 6, 2011. Further to the RFI results, PWGSC pursued the option of presenting federal government opportunities on Buyandsell.gc.ca.
  • On March 8, 2013, PWGSC launched Release 2.0 of Buyandsell.gc.ca. In anticipation of the introduction of tenders, PWGSC revamped Buyandsell.gc.ca to incorporate new search capabilities and feature open procurement data.
  • On April 11, 2013, PWGSC released Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders preview minisite informing the public of the new GETS service coming into effect on June 1st, 2013.

No fees and free access

Who can access information on Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

Any visitor can access Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders free of charge and without restrictions, giving them an unprecedented window into Government of Canada procurement. Tenders information is available as open data. Learn more about the Government of Canada Open Canada initiative.

Is there a charge to view and download tenders?

No. Access to Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is completely free.

Do suppliers need to register to download tenders?

No. Access is entirely anonymous. No user account is required. All suppliers need to do is find their opportunity and download it.

Finding opportunities

What are tender notices on Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

Government of Canada tender notices are published in accordance with the Financial Administration Act, all Schedule I, Schedule II and Schedule III of those departments, agencies, Crown corporations, and other entities (unless specifically exempt) who must comply with the Government of Canada trade agreement obligations.

To find out how to access Government of Canada opportunities that are not published on Buyandsell.gc.ca read the Promote Yourself page and Find Opportunities page.

What are the different types of notices?

Find the various types of tender notices that PWGSC and/or other government departments may publish, in the Download Tenders Data page.

How will suppliers find opportunities for their business?

Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders uses simple web search technology and makes it easy to find opportunities that match goods or services using plain language. Read the Get Started page to learn more.

Tenders notices and updates

How will suppliers get the most up-to-date information about tender notices and amendments?

Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is the official and first site suppliers should rely on to find Government of Canada tenders to ensure that they always get the most up-to-date and accurate information about new tender notices or amendments. Buyandsell.gc.ca cannot confirm or endorse the completeness of information that suppliers might find on third-party web sites or received through a notification service. Here are a few ways to stay on top of Government of Canada opportunities:

Find new tender notices

Find active tender notices by selecting from icons “New Today” or “Active” on the Tenders minisite. From the site “Search” box, enter keywords related to your industry and then narrow your result using filters to find tender notices. Read the Get Started page to learn more.

Stay informed of amendments to a tender

Once you have found a tender notice of interest, you can bookmark the web page of the notice. Your bookmark will always point to the most current information for the tender. Return daily to your bookmark to see if any changes were made.

Visit the Follow Opportunities page to learn more.

How can suppliers get notifications about updates to an opportunity or a search results

Buyandsell.gc.ca provides an email notification service and supports web feeds to help keep you informed about updates to an opportunity of interest, or a customized search result. To learn more about email notifications and web feeds, visit the Follow Opportunities page.

Sign up to the email notification service

What is the email notification service?

The email notification service sends you email notifications for updates when you subscribe to a tender notice, a tender notice and its related procurement items, or a search result.

Why was the email notification service created?

The email notification service was created in response to feedback received from the Supplier Action Plan, a result of the Minister’s Supplier Consultation 2014. Based on survey respondents’ comments, users of the Buyandsell.gc.ca site requested the ability to sign up to follow tender opportunities on Buyandsell.gc.ca by way of email notifications.

Is there a fee to sign up to the email notification service?

No. The email notification service is free of charge to all visitors to the Buyandsell.gc.ca website.

Is it mandatory to join the email notification service?

No, subscribing to the email notification service is optional.

How do I sign up for the email notification service?

The email notifications service is available on tender notices as well as the Buyandsell.gc.ca search page. To sign up, simply select the Email icon icon found on the applicable pages, and complete the easy to follow onscreen subscription process.

For full subscription details, please visit the Follow Opportunities page.

What can I receive tender email notifications for?

There are three types of email notification service subscription:

  • Search results: Subscribe to receive notifications whenever results matching your search keywords or filters are published or updated.
  • Tender notice: Subscribe to receive notifications when a specific tender notice is amended or updated.
  • Tender notice and related procurement items: Subscribe to receive the same notifications as a tender notice subscription, as well as when related tender notices, award notices, and SOSA records are published or updated.

There are three type of updates you can receive:

  • Direct changes: Any change made to the specific tender notice you've subscribed to.
  • Newly added: Recently published related tender notices, award notices, and/or SOSA records.
  • Related changes: Any amendments and changes made to the existing related procurement items.

For the Buyandsell.gc.ca email notification service, related procurement items are the tender notices, award notices, and SOSA records that a procurement officer creates based on the results of an initial tendering opportunity.

Can I modify my subscriptions?

Yes, you can modify and manage your email notification subscriptions on your email notification subscription management page. This page is accessible through a link in the email notifications you receive. For additional help, you can visit the Get Help with Managing Subscriptions page.

Can I subscribe for tenders or search results in both English and French?

You are able to subscribe to both English and French tenders and search results pages. You must however build your search in the language that you wish to receive notifications in.

The language of the email notifications is dependent upon the language of the page you are subscribing to. For example, if you are subscribing to a tender notice or a search result in the English language, the subscription form and subsequent email notifications will be in the English language as well. For more information on how to sign up in different languages, visit the Steps to Search and Follow Tenders page.

When will I receive my email notifications?

Tender Notice and related procurement items subscription:

  • Email notifications for changes made to a tender notice through an amendment or change in publication status are sent immediately.
  • Email notifications for newly created and updated related tender notices, award notices, and SOSA records will be sent twice per day: The first email notification is at 06:30 AM Eastern Time (ET). It contains updates or amendments that were made overnight.The second email notification is after 8:30 PM ET. It contains any updates made after 06:30 AM ET.

Search result subscription: Email notifications for updates to custom search results are sent twice per day:

  • The first email notification is at 06:30 AM ET. It contains updates or amendments that were made overnight.
  • The second email notification is after 8:30 PM ET. It contains any updates made after 06:30 AM ET.

Why am I only seeing 250 results in notification emails for search results?

A notification email for a search result subscription will contain a maximum of 250 items. If more than 250 results exists, the email notification will inform you of the number of items displayed in relation to the total. For example, it will read “Displaying 1 – 250 of 750 items”. To view all 750 items, select the email notification subscription link included in the email notification. When selected, you will be redirected to the search page for that subscription on Buyandsell.gc.ca, where all updated results will be displayed.

How can I stop receiving email notifications from a subscription?

There are two ways you can unsubscribe:

  • Click the unsubscribe link in one of the emails you've received for that subscription
  • Check the box for that subscription on the Subscription Management page, and click the Unsubscribe button. You can unsubscribe from multiple subscriptions at the same time on this page.

For more information about the Subscription Management page, you can visit the Get Help with Managing Your Subscriptions page.

Understanding the market

How can I find potential bid partners or better understand my competitors?

Buyandsell.gc.ca provides information that can be used to help you understand your competition or find possible bid partners.

Join a List of Interested Suppliers

Join a List of Interested Suppliers (LIS) to show your interest in an active tender notice or check it out to understand the market interest in a notice. An LIS allows businesses to add their company name and contact information to a publicly available list of parties who have expressed an interest in a particular tender published on Buyandsell.gc.ca.

Access anonymous Web usage statistics

Each tender notice on Buyandsell.gc.ca and Achatsetventes.gc.ca includes "Activity" information. The Web statistics for each tender notice include the number of page views, unique page views, and unique download events. The metrics provide an indication of market interest in the opportunity.

To get a complete accounting of web usage per tender, add the statistics from a tender notice’s English and French page.

Page usage statistics defined

PWGSC on Buyandsell.gc.ca uses Piwik to capture the web usage statistics of each tender notice on Buyandsell.gc.ca and Achatsetventes.gc.ca, respectively. The statistics from Piwik are broadcast on Buyandsell.gc.ca and Achatsetventes.gc.ca in close to real time - there may be a slight delay.

Piwik captures the unique value for page views and downloads based on a user’s visit (i.e. viewing one page multiple times or downloading one file multiple times during the same visit only counts as one unique page view and unique download, respectively).

Read Piwik’s definitions for real-time analytics, downloads, and a visit.

Analyze procurement data

All tender notices are linked using a Goods and Services Identification Number (GSIN) to information about contracts awarded by PWGSC since January 2009 (Contract History) and PWGSC-issued active Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements (SOSA) held by pre-qualified suppliers. The new procurement data, searchable on Buyandsell.gc.ca or downloadable in open data format, can be used by businesses to discover companies doing business with a specific government department in their industry, or region.

Share with one click

From a specific page listing a Government of Canada tender, you can email or post a tender notice directly to your LinkedIn or Twitter account to advertise your interest in collaborating on a Government of Canada opportunity. The tender information will always be current, because the web address URL will point to the latest information.

Use or establish third-party services

The private sector including tender publishing companies, industry associations and others are encouraged to subscribe to Buyandsell.gc.ca’s free of charge syndication feeds. Any refined search, from a specific tender to a collection of goods or services, can be turned into a feed, allowing service providers to add features and capabilities that are tailored to their stakeholder’s needs and interests.

Samples and drawings

Can suppliers get paper, fax, CD, or DVD copies of tenders?

No. In keeping with Canada’s commitment to green procurement, only electronic distribution of tenders and associated documents is available.

Can suppliers get prints of construction drawings from Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

No. In keeping with Canada’s commitment to green procurement, only electronic distribution of construction drawings is available. Suppliers can download the documents and bring them or send them by email to a print shop or other professional printing services.

How does Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders support the distribution of samples?

When physical samples (such as fabric) are required by suppliers, tender notices include a hyperlink to contact information for the contracting authority, who is responsible for shipping any physical samples to bidders.

Procurement open data available

Is information available on past awards?

Yes. Information about contracts awarded by PWGSC on behalf of government departments and agencies is available as open data by searching Contract History. Information about contracts can be retrieved by entering a keyword or by specifying various search criteria including: good or service, client department or agency, supplier, and contract number. Learn more about Contract History.

As well, find all of the tender awards since the launch of Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders in June 2013.

Is information available about current standing offers and supply arrangements?

Yes. Information about active standing offers and supply arrangements for goods and/or services held by pre-qualified suppliers is available by searching Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements (SOSA). This information is publicly available to all users. Learn more about Standing Offers and Supply Arrangements (SOSA).

Publishing tenders using the new Tender Management Application

Government of Canada procurement professionals can find information about TMA at the Tender Management Application minisite.

For more information

Where can suppliers and buyers go for more information about Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders?

You may call the national InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148. The line is staffed Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 17:00 Eastern Standard/Daylight time. You may also send your questions via our Web form found on the Contact Us page.