Prepare Solicitation Documents
Vendors want to do business with the Province, but they can be discouraged if the Province is vague on what is required or how a vendor would be successful. Clear and concise solicitation documents are more likely to result in vendors responding with relevant information that meets the requirements. This, in turn, assists the Province to achieve its goals and outcomes.
Once the appropriate solicitation method has been chosen (see Select a Solicitation Process and Template Guidelines), what happens next? The answer depends on what process has been chosen, but all have one thing in common – vendors need to understand what is required and how the ministry will decide who is successful or next steps.
Solicitation documents should always include the following at a minimum:
- An explanation of the ministry's requirements;
- All relevant information a vendor would need to decide whether or not to participate;
- Instructions on what vendors should submit;
- Clear information on what the ministry will do with the information submitted;
- The intended outcome of the solicitation (e.g. a contract, a list, an offer, etc.); and
- Where applicable, what form of contract the successful bidder / proponent will be expected to sign.
There are three categories of solicitation documents:
- Lowest-price competitions, where the successful bidder submits the lowest priced compliant bid;
- Highest-scoring competitions, where the successful proponent / respondent (or multiple successful proponents / respondents if more than one award will be made) has met all mandatory requirements and achieved the highest score; and
- Requests for Qualifications (RFQs), where one or more subsequent opportunities will be restricted to those vendors that qualify through the RFQ.
The first two categories may result in an award for a service contract, a purchase order, a standing agreement, or an offer to government to provide goods and/or services. The last category is intended to create a pre-qualification list, through which contract awards may be restricted to qualified suppliers as either direct awards or one or more subsequent solicitations.
Note that the titles used for various types of solicitation documents are specific to the corporate templates and processes. Ministries may have their own templates approved by Legal Services that are called the same but are used differently, or that are named something not listed here. In this case, the advice provided here will still apply, although the name of the ministry-specific template used may differ. For information on ministry-specific templates, refer to Templates and Tools or contact the ministry’s Procurement Specialist.