Objecting to Notices of Intent (NOIs)
If the Province intends to direct award a contract without competition because only one vendor is known to be capable and available, a Notice of Intent may be required.
The Province can direct award contracts to vendors without a competition under certain circumstances, including in cases where there is only one vendor being capable and available, but this cannot be strictly proven. Guidance for government buyers can be found under Direct Awards.
You can Browse Directly-Awarded Contracts for a list of contracts that the Province awarded without a competition.
When Is an NOI Used?
The Core Policy and Procedures Manual states that a direct award may be made if one of various exceptional conditions applies, including where it is strictly proven that only one vendor can provide the goods, services or construction needed.
Sometimes, proving that only one vendor exists under the particular circumstances can be easily done. For example, if the Province needs maintenance work done on its equipment, and the equipment manufacturer has authorized only one vendor for this work, a statement from the manufacturer could be considered proof for the direct award.
Sometimes, however, it can’t be strictly proven that only one vendor is capable of supplying the needed goods, services or construction, and none of the other exceptional conditions allowing for direct awards apply. In this situation to assist the government buyer, a Notice of Intent (NOI) process must be used where the goods are valued at $10,000 or more or in the case of services or construction where the value is $50,000 or more.
Purpose of NOIs
NOIs allow the Province to test the marketplace to either find other capable and interested vendors, or confirm that none appear to exist.
If no objections are received, the Province may proceed with the direct award, as described in the NOI.
If you find an NOI for goods, services or construction that you feel you could provide, you could consider submitting an objection to the proposed direct award described in the NOI, by the date and time identified. Objecting to an NOI is an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to the Province. No matter what the outcome, it gives you the opportunity to connect directly with a government buyer who may be interested in what you can offer (either now or in the future).
If you submit an objection to an NOI, be clear on how you meet or exceed the requirements stated. The government buyer will review your objection and determine whether or not it is substantiated (i.e. successful). To help with this decision, they may want to meet to gather more information about your objection and/or to share more about what is required.
Objection is Substantiated
If your objection is substantiated, don’t expect that the Province will now direct award the contract to you. Usually, a substantiated objection results in a solicitation where interested vendors will have the opportunity to compete for these goods, services or construction.
Objection is Not Substantiated
Your objection will not be substantiated if:
- You withdraw your objection (i.e. with more information about the requirement, you feel that you aren’t able to provide what’s needed or wouldn’t be selected in a solicitation); or
- Based on the information you provide, the government buyer disagrees that you can meet the requirements outlined. In such situations you will generally receive an explanation of the decision.
If your objection is not substantiated and you don’t agree with the rationale provided, you may wish to consider whether initiating a vendor complaint is appropriate.
More information on Notices of Intent can be found at Notice of Intent FAQs