Understand government processes
What to expect during government procurements. WorkBC offers additional resources on doing business with government.
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Government uses various solicitation processes and templates to purchase goods, services, and construction.
The solicitation phase involves issuing a solicitation, advertising it, and administering the procurement processes related to it. For example, before the closing time of a procurement, suppliers have the opportunity to ask questions about the posted solicitation to help clarify their understanding of what it is they are bidding on.
Any questions about a specific opportunity should be directed to the official contact named in the opportunity details.
After a solicitation has closed, submissions are evaluated against the criteria set out in the solicitation documents.
Though other types of evaluation may be used, two commonly-used types are:
- Lowest price: in a price-based solicitation, such as an Invitation to Quote or Invitation to Tender, the award is made to the lowest compliant bidder; all mandatory requirements and specifications must be met
Scored solicitations: include Requests for Proposal, Short-form Requests for Proposal (highest score desired) and Requests for Qualifications (minimum score required)
Once evaluations are complete, the Province notifies the lead supplier(s), and announces the results to the remaining suppliers, which may occur right away or after a contract is signed with the successful supplier. The Province may notify the remaining suppliers of their own rankings as well.
This phase does not include contract award, and where a contract or purchase order will be issued to the successful supplier, announcements are unofficial until the contract or purchase order is executed.
A successful solicitation process will usually lead to a contract between the Province and the successful supplier.
In the event the Province and the lead supplier are unable to come to finalize a contract, then depending on the terms and conditions of the procurement, the award contract finalization step may be offered to the supplier with the next-highest score or lowest-priced submission.
For contracts that are covered by trade agreements, contract award summaries, Invitations to Quote for goods bid results, and unverified bid results for construction opportunities are posted on BC Bid.
For contracts valued at $100,000 or higher (including all fees, expenses, and options to extend or renew), suppliers must provide a Tax Verification Letter before the contract is signed. Exceptions to this requirement are contracts in response to an unforeseen emergency, or where only one vendor is qualified to provide the goods, services, or construction, or for certain government transfer payments such as grants, entitlements and shared cost arrangements.
Tax Verification Letters can be obtained from the Ministry of Finance’s eTaxBC portal at no cost.
A debrief session is between a supplier and the government office that issued the solicitation. It is an opportunity for the supplier to gain insight into why its submission was not successful and how that submission might be improved in future.
Suppliers and individuals may also request information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA).
Vendor complaint review process
Where a supplier has a concern or complaint about a solicitation issued or a contract awarded by the Province, the supplier may submit a complaint in accordance with Procedure N of the Core Policy and Procedures Manual.
Bid protest mechanism
The Bid Protest Mechanism (BPM) is an administrative review process that provides suppliers with a process to avoid disputes and resolve complaints that a specific procurement by a government entity (e.g. ministries) was not conducted in compliance with the rules of an applicable trade agreement.
The BPM process involves two stages:
- Formal consultations between the supplier and the procuring entity. If the complaint is not resolved through consultations, the process moves to the second stage.
- An arbiter is selected to adjudicate the matter based on written submissions provided by the supplier and the procuring entity.
The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) website contains detailed information about the process.
The information contained in these BC Procurement Resources is provided as general information related to the Province's procurement resources. This information is not exhaustive and may become out of date. This information is not legal, policy, or business advice and users should make such further enquiries they deem necessary with their legal, policy, business or other advisors. The provisions of Chapter 6 of the Province's Core Policy and Procedures Manual and the associated Practice Standard take precedence over any information contained in these resources that may be inconsistent.