Direct Awards

NOTICE: Recent revisions to the Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM) and Trade Agreements mean that information,  including references to Chapter 6 Procurement on this page are out of date, links may not work, and should not be relied upon. This web page is being updated. Please visit Chapter 6 for the latest version of CPPM.

Policy allows ministries to direct award purchase orders and contracts for goods, services or construction without competition under specific circumstances (see the Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM)  6.3.3.a.1)

Ministries may have different, stricter policies and/or procedures specific to direct awards; refer to the links at the right, or contact the ministry's Procurement Specialist.

If a contract is direct awarded, policy (CPPM 6.3.3.a.2) requires ministries to document the rationale that supports this decision for the contract file.

Another Government Organization

Ministries can direct award without competition to other government organizations, such as but not limited to Crown Corporations, municipalities, school districts, public post-secondary institutions, etc.  However, carefully consider whether or not a direct award is the best approach; a cost-benefit analysis may be helpful to determine whether to direct award or conduct a competitive solicitation.

One Qualified and Available Vendor

Direct awards are permitted when the ministry can prove that only one vendor is qualified and available to provide the goods and/or services.  An example of such proof could be maintenance services on equipment when the equipment manufacturer has explicitly stated that only one vendor is authorized for this work in B.C.

However, this level of proof often does not exist.  In this case, ministries may be required to issue a Notice of Intent depending on the value of the contract (see the Core Policy and Procedures Manual sections 6.3.2.b.5 and 6.3.2.c.7).  Refer to Market Research and Notifications for more information.

Unforeseeable Emergency

Core policy outlines when ministries may direct award due to emergency situations and the requirements for emergency purchase orders.  A key element is that the emergency is unforeseen and could not be predicted in advance; the fact that an essential contract is about to expire was not unforeseen.

In addition to the general policy on direct awards (6.3.3.a.1), two other core policies provide guidance on how to manage emergency purchasing:

  • CPPM section 6.3.2.a.4
    • Emergency Purchase Orders (EPOs) must only be used when the unforeseen emergency results in an immediate need that does not allow enough time for the normal solicitation processes;
    • Ministries must limit the authority to issue EPOs to designated positions with appropriate signing authority; and
    • A written explanation of the need for an EPO must be kept on record.
  • CPPM section 6.3.3.e.2 Contracts must be in writing and signed and delivered by all parties before services begin, but where this is not possible due to the nature of the emergency, as soon as possible thereafter.

Security or Order /Confidential or Privileged Nature

A ministry may determine that a competitive process would interfere with their ability to maintain security or protect human, animal or plant life or health.  Alternately, a situation may arise where a public, open solicitation process would compromise government’s confidentiality, cause economic disruption, or negatively impact the public interest.

One or more senior government staff should be responsible for making a decision to direct award under these circumstances.

Additional Circumstances for Shared Cost Arrangements

Shared cost arrangements are contracts whereby the contractor delivers services to third parties.  Most commonly, shared cost arrangements are used for social services delivered to eligible recipients.  Shared Cost Arrangements are dealt with differently in policy from other purchasing arrangements, but remain subject to many of the requirements generally applicable to procurement of goods, services and construction.  The Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM) section 21.3.6 allows direct awards for shared cost arrangements for any of the reasons mentioned above, or where:

  • Financial assistance is provided to a specific target group; or
  • A competitive process is not appropriate.


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