Procurement and Contract Management Terminology and Definitions

Following are definitions for commonly used words and terms specific to the full procurement lifecycle.  These definitions are for provided as an aid to understanding corporate resources only and are not legal definitions.  Individual ministries may have additional and/or differing definitions from what is presented here.

List of definitions from: A to E , F to J , K to O , P to T , U to Z

A to E


Addendum (Addenda)

This is the form of document used to officially change, add and/or delete information contained within a Solicitation.  By issuing an Addendum, the Solicitation itself changes to incorporate the Addendum.  Modification Agreements for Contracts are also sometimes referred to as Addenda.


Administration and Monitoring

Administration and Monitoring refers to all activities associated with administering a Contract (e.g. ensuring payments are accurate and timely, maintaining the integrity of the Contract files, Corporate Reporting) and monitoring the Contractor’s performance (e.g. confirming that Deliverables meet the Specifications and any quality standards identified).  See related term Contract Monitoring.


Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)

See the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.



This document is a written change (i.e. a correction, deletion or addition) to a Solicitation document or to an executed Contract.  Typically, an Amendment to a Solicitation would take the form of an Addendum, whereas an Amendment to a Contract would be a Modification Agreement. Amendments may also be referred to as a Contract Amendment.



The process for Awards includes all activities from the time a Vendor is selected to the time that the Contract or Purchase Order is executed.  Vendors can be selected through a Solicitation process (i.e. the lowest-priced Bidder or highest-scoring Proponent), a Corporate Supply Arrangement, a Standing Offer, a Pre-Qualification List, or a Direct Award process.



This is the original approved plan (for a project, Contract or an activity) plus or minus approved changes. There can be different Baselines such as a cost Baseline, schedule Baseline or Performance Measurement Baseline.


BC Bid

BC Bid is the Procurement website that advertises opportunities to provide goods and services to ministries and the Broader Public Sector. These organizations can use BC Bid to post Procurement opportunities, including receiving on-line e-Bids directly from Vendors. Vendors can use BC Bid to access Procurement opportunities, and can take advantage of value-added e-Notification and e-Bidding services.


BC Public Service Agency (BCPSA)

Refer to the BC Public Service Agency website for information on their role within the Province.   



Benchmarking is a process of comparing an organization's services, processes, products and performance standards against other recognized and accepted organizational, industry or public sector standards.



A Bid is submitted in response to an Invitation to Quote (ITQ) or an Invitation to Tender (ITT). It is based on detailed Specifications or plans provided by the purchaser, who wants specific prices or costs for the delivery of a particular good or service or construction project.


Bid Bond

Bid Bonds are used for construction projects. In a Bid Bond, a surety company agrees to pay to the purchaser the lesser of the value of the bond or the difference between a successful Bidder’s Bid and the next lowest Bid if the successful Bidder withdraws from the process for any reason other than those permitted in the Solicitation document. A Bid Bond provides security that a project can be undertaken if the successful Bidder elects not to do the work. The standard Bid Bond value is 5 or 10 percent of the Bid value.


Bid Rigging

Bid Rigging is an indictable criminal offence under the federal Competition Act. Bid Rigging occurs when there is collusion among Bidders / Proponents or potential Bidders / Proponents in the submission of Bids or Proposals.



A Bidder is a Vendor who submits or intends to submit a Bid to a price-based Solicitation (i.e. an Invitation to Tender or Invitation to Quote).


Broader Public Sector

The Broader Public Sector is any ‘government organization’ and any ‘local public body’ as those expressions are defined in the British Columbia Procurement Services Act.  Ministries of the Province are not part of the Broader Public Sector.



This is a project's detailed, time-based estimate of the costs of all of the project's resources.


Business Case

A Business Case is a document used to justify the commitment of resources to a project. It can include an analysis of business process performance and associated needs or problems, proposed alternative solutions, Assumptions, Constraints, and a Risk-adjusted Cost / Benefit Analysis.


Buyer Flyer

The Buyer Flyer is a quarterly publication offered through the Procurement Community of Practice that contains articles of interest for anyone working in public Procurement.


Canadian Free Trade Agreement – CFTA (replaces the Agreement on Internal Trade - AIT)

This is the agreement between the federal, provincial and territorial governments to reduce trade barriers within Canada.  The original agreement (the AIT) was signed in 1995,and implemented effective in 1996; it was replaced with the CFTA in 2017. One of the objectives of the CFTA is to bring its provisions more in line with the Province’s international trade obligations under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the WTO-GPA and to reduce and eliminate public sector Procurement barriers within Canada for goods, construction and services that are in scope for this agreement.


Community of Practice

These are groups who share a concern or a set of problems and a passion for something that they know how to do and who interact regularly to learn how to do it better.  The Province has a Procurement Community of Practice.


Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – CETA

This is a progressive trade agreement that upholds and promotes the values that Canada shares with the European Union (EU). CETA covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade in order to eliminate or reduce barriers. CETA addresses everything from tariffs to product standards, investment, professional certification and many other areas of activity. The agreement’s scope includes improved access to EU markets for goods and services; greater certainty, transparency, and protection for investments; and new opportunities in EU procurement markets.



This refers to a project restriction that may limit the extent of a project's success. Limitations could include time, cost, Scope complexity, qualified resources, and performance / quality measures.


Continuing Service Agreement

This is a Contract between the Province and a Contractor for the delivery of applicable community health and social services.  Continuing Service Agreements do not have an end date, but rather are renewed each year, subject to the Province’s continuing need for the services and Budget availability.



This is a legal agreement between a buyer and a seller whereby the buyer agrees to pay for or contribute to the cost of services and / or goods delivered by the seller.  For the Province, standard contracts where the Province is the buyer can take various forms, including but not limited to the General Services Agreements, Continuing Agreements, Shared Cost Arrangements, and Standing Agreements.  Contracts may also be referred to as agreements or service agreements.


Contract "A" or "Bid Contract"

This is the Solicitation or Bid Contract established between the owner of the Solicitation (the “buyer”) and each of the Vendors who submit a compliant Bid or Proposal. The Solicitation document (e.g. Invitation to Tender, Request for Proposals, etc.) is viewed as an invitation by the buyer for interested Vendors to submit a Bid or Proposal and an offer by the buyer to enter into a Contract “A” (or Bid Contract) with any Vendor that submits a Bid or Proposal. The submitted Bid or Proposal is the Vendor's acceptance of the buyer’s offer to enter into Contract “A” and also an offer by the Vendor to enter into Contract “B” (see defined term) with the buyer.  The formation of a Contract "A" occurs with each Vendor whose Bid or Proposal is compliant (i.e. meets all Mandatory Criteria of the Solicitation).  By submitting a compliant Bid or proposal, the Vendor agrees to be bound by all terms and conditions of the Solicitation as established by the buyer (e.g. conditions of tender or the Solicitation rules of process). 


Contract "B"

This is the actual performance Contract. A submitted Bid or Proposal is normally viewed as a Vendor's offer to enter into Contract “B” with the buyer. Once the buyer has evaluated the Bids or Proposals, accepts one of these offers and executes a Contract, Contract “B” is formed between the parties.

Contract “B” usually specifies the actual work to be performed by the Contractor in delivering the goods, services and/or construction, and the buyer's obligations to pay for the goods, services and/or construction if provided according to the terms of the Contract.


Contract Ceiling Price

This is the maximum total cost of a Contract, including related expenses, agreed to by both parties, based on specified Terms of Reference for the work to be performed. The Core Policy and Procedures Manual (section 6.3.3.d.1) states that every contract must include a maximum contract ceiling price.


Contract Closeout

Contract Closeout refers to all activities to close a Contract once all Deliverables have been received and payment has been issued.  Contract Closeout includes, but is not limited to, final reporting, file close-out (including in electronic systems), evaluation of the Contractor’s performance, and evaluation of the government staff involved.  May also be referred to as Contract Discharge.


Contract Management

Contract Management is the phase of the Procurement lifecycle when a Contract is in place, and the Contractor and buyer work together to meet the requirements of the Contract.  Contract Management can include quality and quantity measures, performance measures, communication, reporting, and monitoring activities.


Contract Management Plan

This document provides the framework and Planning elements that are required to successfully plan the project Scope. The project Scope includes the work (with associated costs) that is to be performed to deliver a product, service or result with specific features and functions to a recognized quality standard.

The Contract Management Plan incorporates the Solicitation and Contract Award processes, and project implementation processes, including Contract Monitoring and reporting requirements. It is sometimes referred to as the Terms of Reference.


Contract Monitoring

Contract Monitoring is a process of overseeing, reviewing, testing and confirming work in progress to agreed upon Performance Measurements, according to a predetermined and evolving project or work plan. Contract Monitoring is a management function that reviews and assesses the relationships between planned and actual activities, Deliverables and results.  See related term Administration and Monitoring.



A Contractor is the legal entity (organization or individual) who has entered into a Contract with the buyer to deliver goods and / or services, as described in the Contract.  A Vendor becomes a Contractor after the Contract is fully executed by all parties.  If a Contract includes Subcontractors, the Contractor may be called the Prime Contractor.  See the related terms Independent Contractor and Prime Contractor.


Core Policy

Ministries are expected to adhere to the Core Policies found in the Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM). The CPPM combines government-wide Treasury Board financial and general management policy and financial administration procedures, organized primarily by activity.

Chapter 6 of the CPPM provides policies and procedures specific to the Procurement and Contract Management. 

Ministries may develop their own policies and procedures, specific to their lines of business; however, the expectation is that these policies and procedures align with CPPM.  Broader Public Sector organizations are not subject to the policies and procedures of CPPM; they are instead expected to follow the spirit and intent of these policies and procedures, and thus, they may have differing policies.   


Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM)

The CPPM contains the Core Policies that ministries are expected to follow.


Corporate Reporting

Corporate Reporting refers to all activities associated with the Province and the Broader Public Sector reporting internally on their Contracts. 


Corporate Supply Arrangements (CSAs)

CSAs are supply arrangements that are available to the Province, the Broader Public Sector, and other eligible entities.  Ministries must order from CSAs where one exists that meets their needs.  CSAs can be internal – where a government entity directly provides or arranges for others to access the applicable goods and/or services – or external, where orders can be placed directly with Vendors who have CSAs.  Usually, Vendors are successful in a Solicitation in order to be eligible to offer their goods and / or services through a CSA.


Cost / Benefit Analysis (Justification)

A Cost / Benefit Analysis is a comparative assessment of the project's expected benefits to the projected costs for implementing a project.


Critical Path

This is a sequence of expected events in a (Contract-related) project that estimates the duration of the project. The Critical Path illustrates the relationships and dependencies between specific activities or tasks and their timings.


Critical Success Factors

These are strategic factors based on complex project or program Planning (e.g. the development of a Business Case) that include political, economic, social and environmental considerations that may affect a potential initiative's success. These strategic factors are usually closely related to strategic Risks.

These are also operational factors specific to Scope, time, cost, quality and environment that are considered critical to the success of a potential project. Critical Success Factors when identified (in the project Planning phase) can also be tied into a project's Risk Management analysis and Scope Management Plan throughout the life of a project.



A Debrief is a private meeting between the “owner” of a Solicitation (i.e. the buyer) and a Proponent or Respondent to that Solicitation.  The purpose of a Debrief is to provide the Proponent or Respondent with information on the strengths and weaknesses of their Proposal or Response in order to improve their understanding of the process and enhance their chances of success in future Solicitations. 

Debriefs are not generally offered for price-based Solicitations (e.g. Invitation to Tender or Invitation to Quote) as the only deciding factor is price.


Decision Point

This is a Milestone separating the various stages of a project (e.g. a design process). Decision Points allow decision-makers (e.g. senior management, Procurement Specialists and project and program managers) an opportunity to review completed work, receive recommendations and provide direction. A Decision Point may require a formal meeting or it could be based on an informal discussion or telephone call (supported by a follow-up memo, email or signed approval form). See similar term - Milestone.



This is the relationship between activities in which one activity must finish before the next one starts.



A Deliverable is a measurable, tangible and verifiable Output that is produced to complete a Procurement project or a significant part of a project. Deliverables can be described as being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound (Acronym SMART). At a minimum, they should be Measurable and Time-Bound (MT).  Deliverables are usually associated with the Outputs a Contractor is responsible to provide as part of their Contract.


Direct Award

A Direct Award results when a Contract is awarded to a single eligible and qualified Contractor for specified goods or services. There is no competitive process being used for a Direct Award.  Core Policy states the allowable circumstances for a Direct Award.  See similar term – Sole Source Award.


Direct Costs

These are the costs incurred directly by a Procurement project, such as project team member wages, specific travel costs, special equipment and out-sourcing costs (project specific Contracts).


e-Bidding and e-Bids

e-Bids are Bids, Proposals or Responses received through the BC Bid website, using the e-Bidding functionality.  Vendors who sign up for e-Bidding receive an e-Bidding key that is considered the equivalent to a signature when submitting e-Bids.  In order to accept e-Bids, the applicable Solicitations must be posted on BC Bid and e-Bidding must be permitted.


Eligibility List

See Pre-Qualification List.



Vendors may register for this service on the BC Bid website.  Vendors who have e-Notification receive an email notifying them of opportunities posted on the BC Bid website that fits the profile they have established.  e-Notification assists Vendors in finding opportunities of interest.


Expense Authority

Expense Authority is granted to specific ministry officials to approve expenditures and accounts. It includes, but is not limited to, the authorization of the purchase of goods and services, approval of transfers and entitlements, and approval of financing transactions.



This is a modification to extend the term of a Contract for a reasonable period of time to complete all Deliverables, allowable when an unforeseen event has delayed the delivery of specific Contract Outputs or Deliverables. An Extension is separate from a Contract Renewal. A Modification Agreement to the Contract is required, signed by both parties. A Contract Modification must not substantially change the nature and intent of the original Contract. If the nature and intent of the original Contract is substantially changed, a new procurement is required. 


F to J


Financial Review and Assurance Services Agreement

This is a type of General Services Agreement for assurance services requesting a financial opinion, including financial audits and review engagements, provided by people with a recognized professional accounting designation. Application of these terms and conditions are restricted to situations where the review and assurance work is: a) done by Internal Audit and Advisory Services either directly or by a Contractor hired by them; or b) done by a Contractor hired by a ministry that has an audit provision in their legislation.


Fixed Price Contract

This is a Contract where the method of pricing is to pay the total amount as a fixed lump sum (all fees and expenses) without regard to the units of work to be performed.  Fixed Price Contracts are sometimes referred to as lump sum or firm fixed price Contracts.


Gantt Chart

This is a graph, named after Henry Gantt, that consists of bars on a timeline that illustrates when each project activity starts, its duration and when it ends.  Gantt Charts are sometimes referred to as bar charts.


General Service Agreement (GSA)

The GSA consists of three approved corporate Contract templates (general services, Information Technology & Management Consulting Professional Services, and Financial Review and Assurance Services) available for use by the ministries for those Contracts that fit within the applicable GSA’s scope.  These templates can be found at the General Service Agreement website. See also Financial Review and Assurance Services Agreement; Information Technology & Management Consulting Professional Services Agreement; and Professional Service Contracts.


Goods and Services Catalogue

The Goods and Services Catalogue lists unique supply arrangements put in place by corporate purchasing groups that are available to ministries of the Province and the Broader Public Sector.



A Holdback is a portion of a payment(s) under Contract that is withheld until certain conditions relating to satisfactory performance and / or liability (i.e. third party liability), as determined by the Contract, have been met.


Independent Contractor

An Independent Contractor is a Contractor who is not controlled by the contracting agency in terms of hours of work or how the Contract is performed. The Independent Contractor takes the risk of profit or loss, and supplies his/her own office space, equipment, secretarial or other support services within the contracted price. In contrast, an employee provides services as part of an integrated work force, is supervised and directed by his / her employer, and gets paid regardless of profit or loss.


Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs are overhead costs that are allocated to the Procurement project by the organization as a cost of doing business (e.g. the costs associated with the building, offices, heating, lighting, etc. that would be incurred whether the project or Contract was being performed or not). Indirect Costs are usually calculated as a percentage of Direct Costs.


Information Technology & Management Consulting Professional Services Agreement

This is a type of General Services Agreement for information technology services, human resources benefits services, accounting services, and management consulting services.


Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) is a legal term that refers to creations of the mind. Examples of Intellectual Property that may apply in a government context include, but are not limited to, software, graphic designs, course curriculum and materials, reports, guidance documents, etc.  Under Intellectual Property laws, owners of Intellectual Property are granted certain exclusive rights. Some common types of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) are copyright, patents, and industrial design rights; and the rights that protect trademarks, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets. Intellectual Property rights are themselves a form of property, called intangible property.


Intellectual Property Program

The Intellectual Property Program offers Intellectual Property management services and solutions to the Province, specific to consulting and advisory services, and Intellectual Property disposals.


Internal Audit and Advisory Services (IAAS)

Internal Audit and Advisory Services, part of the Ministry of Finance, provides internal audit and consulting services to the Province.


Invitation to Quote (ITQ)

The ITQ is used to obtain goods and services when the requirement is well defined, including any delivery Constraints. The Contract resulting from the ITQ must be awarded to the lowest priced Bidder offering a compliant Bid (i.e. one that meets all defined Specifications and the ITQ terms and conditions).

The ITQ process is typically less formal than an Invitation to Tender (certain formalities are waived such as sealed Bids, public openings or fax restrictions).  The ITQ process creates Contract “A” obligations.

Some ministries or other organizations may refer to an ITQ as a Request for Quotation or RFQ. Do not confuse the Request for Quotation with a Request for Qualifications.


Invitation to Tender (ITT)

The ITT is a formal process for soliciting competitive Bids that usually includes a public opening (i.e. where Bids are opened and the Bidder name and price is read aloud.). ITTs are used for construction projects and, for some ministries, other routine services and on rare occasions goods, where the requirements can be adequately defined to permit the evaluation of Bids against pass / fail selection criteria.  The primary focus of an ITT is price. The Contract is awarded to the lowest priced Bidder offering a compliant Bid (i.e. one that meets all the defined Specifications and the ITT terms and conditions).  The ITT process creates Contract “A” obligations.



IT/IM is the acronym for information technology / information management.


Joint Solutions Request for Proposals (JSRFP)

This is a formal Procurement methodology (also known as Joint Solutions Procurement or JSP) used in systems integration and other complex projects. The method is designed for selection of a Vendor based on demonstrated capability and expertise to solve a problem or to present new creative ideas and solutions to a particular business or governmental program opportunity.

The JSRFP allows both the Vendor and ministry to work together in developing a joint solution that meets the government's business needs. A description of the tentative project Scope (functional or detailed) of the business or program opportunity or problem is provided in the Solicitation document and the process as stated must be followed to determine the Successful Proponent.


K to O 


Key Performance Indicator

A Key Performance Indicator is a qualitative or quantitative factor that can be measured to assist in determining whether or not a project, program or Contract is on track and meeting its Objectives.  Key Performance Indicators should be regularly and systematically reviewed in order to identify any issues or concerns as early as possible.


Labour and Material Bond

It is standard construction industry practice to require Labour and Material Bonds in association with large dollar value construction Contracts. While the amount of the bond is typically 50% of the Contract value, higher limits may be required where the labour and subcontracted component of the project is higher than usual.

A Labour and Material Bond guarantees that the Contractor will pay their employees and their direct Subcontractors and suppliers for labour and material used in the Contract. These parties, rather than government, are the potential claimants under this bond; however it enables the Province to take possession of a project free of problems or complaints from unpaid workers, Subcontractors, or suppliers.

It is easier and less expensive for workers and suppliers to obtain payment through the bond than it is through the Builders Lien Act or by lawsuit, especially when the majority of government construction works take place on Crown land that is not lien-able.


Legal Services

Legal Services refers to the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General, the department operating under the mandate of the Attorney General Act that is responsible for providing advice to the Province.


Life Cycle Costs

These are the total costs of a project, including those incurred in the Planning phase through to the future operating and maintenance costs for the entire anticipated life of the project.


Mandatory Criteria

Mandatory Criteria are those requirements that a Bidder, Proponent or Respondent must meet in order to be considered for the Solicitation.  Each Mandatory Criterion should be clearly written as a pass / fail condition for participation in the Solicitation.  Mandatory Criteria cannot apply to something in the future that the Contractor is expected to do, but rather must be something that a Bidder, Proponent or Respondent can prove they have or have done as of the closing of the Solicitation.


MASH Sector

This refers to the following Broader Public Sector entities:  municipalities, academia, social services, and health. 



A Milestone represents a significant event at a particular time period in a Procurement project usually in the form of a completed Deliverable or key activity.


Modification Agreement

Sometimes referred to as a Contract Amendment, the Modification Agreement is the standard form of agreement that ministries use to modify a Contract. Unless Legal Services has approved an alternate modification process or form, ministries must use the standard Province’s form for Modification Agreements.


Needs Assessment

A Needs Assessment is either a stand-alone document or part of a larger Business Case.  It describes in detail why particular goods and/or services should be purchases by the Province.


Negotiated Request for Proposals (NRFP)

The NRFP is a Solicitation methodology that excludes itself from the Contract “A” and Contract “B” obligations found in most Solicitations.  This enables the buyer and the Successful Proponent the ability to negotiate details of service delivery, as described in the NRFP.  The NRFP process is generally restricted to complex, high value service Contracts.


Network (Logic) Diagram

Also known as a Dependency diagram, a Network Diagram is a flow chart that illustrates a logical relationship of project / Procurement activities that are to be performed in chronological order.  This forms the first part of the Critical Path schedule; the second step being the creation of the Gantt Chart.


New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA)

The New West Partnership Trade Agreement is an accord between the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba that is intended to create a barrier-free, interprovincial market.  It came into effect on July 1, 2010 and was fully implemented on July 1, 2013.


Notice of Intent (NOI)

When a Contract is intended to be awarded on the basis that there is only one Vendor that can provide the required goods or services, but this cannot be strictly proven as required in policy, a Notice of Intent must be posted on BC Bid.

All objections received by the indicated response date must be reviewed and if any are substantiated a competitive process must be undertaken. If no objections are received, or the objections received are not substantiated, a Direct Award may be made.

A Notice of Intent is not required if it is determined that the Direct Award meets one or more of the allowable exceptions specified in policy.

The Core Policy and Procedures Manual (sections 6.3.2.b.5 and 6.3.2.c.7) identifies the "value" restrictions covering the use of a Notice of Intent (NOI), and for the Direct Award allowable exceptions. Also refer to frequently asked questions on the NOI



This is an Outcome or result that a project or Contract is intended to produce. It is comprised of a statement, Key Performance Indicators and / or performance targets.  An Objective usually improves or reduces something in a manner that is measurable (quantity and quality).



Outcomes are the expected results flowing from the achievement contracted services. Outcomes are separate from the required Deliverables or services (Outputs) specified in the Contract. While the contracting party (the Province) may anticipate or wish to see certain expectations as a result of achieving required Contract Deliverables, the Contractor may not be held to account for the achievement (or lack of) of those Outcomes.



The Deliverables or the services purchased and required by the Contract.  Outputs include a delivery schedule, formats, quantity and specific or technical requirements.


P - T  

Performance Bond

Performance Bonds are usually associated with construction Contracts. The form and amount must be specified in the Contract. Performance Bonds should be received before work commences.

A Performance Bond is used to pay for the costs for another Contractor to rectify and/or complete the services required in the event that of a default by the Contractor (i.e., if the original Contractor breaches the terms and Specifications of the original Contract). 


Performance Measurement

This is a quality assurance indicator or final result that determines the status, success or failure of an Objective, Deliverable or a particular activity.



Planning includes all those activities required to plan to acquire goods and / or services, including all approvals, exploring options for a solution, and developing planning materials such as administration and Contract Management plans to articulate the proposed project in measurable terms.  Planning may include a Needs Assessment, Business Case, Cost / Benefit Analysis and / or a Contract Management Plan. 


Post-Contract Evaluation

Post-Contract Evaluations include all those activities required at the end of a Contract to evaluate its success.  These activities should address both the performance of the Contractor as well as the Province, and should determine whether or not the Contract’s Objectives were ultimately met.


Posting Period

The timeframe between the date when a Solicitation is released and the date when it closes.   A Solicitation is released when it is either posted on the BC Bid website, or directed to Qualified Suppliers or to three or more selected Vendors.



The Pre-Award phase includes all those activities required to select a Contractor, including selection of the Solicitation process that will be used to select the lowest-priced Bidder / highest-scoring Proponent, the Qualified Suppliers, or the Vendors offered a Corporate Supply Arrangement or Standing Offer.  Alternatively, the Pre-Award phase includes the rationale for a Direct Award.  


Pre-Qualification List

This is a list of Vendors who have been identified as being capable of providing a particular type of good or service by going through a formal pre-qualification process, such as a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). A Pre-Qualification List can also be referred to as a Qualified Suppliers’ List, or an Eligibility List.


Prime Contractor

A Prime Contractor is the entity that enters into a Contract that includes Subcontractors.  Refer to the definition of Contractor.



Procurement is the systematic process of purchasing and selling goods and services that involves specific phases and associated activities including: Planning, Pre-Award, Award, Administration and Monitoring, Post-Contract Evaluation, and Vendor Relationship Management.


Procurement and Contract Management Program (PCMP)

The PCMP consists of a series of on-line and classroom-style courses designed to address all aspects of the Procurement lifecycle.  These courses have been designed for the Province, although staff from Broader Public Sector entities can also benefit.  The BC Public Service Agency is responsible to develop and deliver the PCMP.


Procurement Community of Practice (PCOP)

The PCoP is a Community of Practice that offers Procurement-related information and training materials for Procurement staff of the Province, Broader Public Sector and Canadian federal government.  


Procurement Governance Office (PGO)

On behalf of the Comptroller General, the Procurement Governance Office (PGO) is responsible for establishing and directing a strategic governance framework for government Procurement and Contract Management including, for example:  the development and revision of government’s Procurement and Contract Administration and Monitoring policies and procedures; providing official communications, advice and interpretations of Procurement policies and procedures; and, managing corporate policy and procedures for a formal government Vendor complaints resolution process and administering an independent review process for escalated complaints.


Procurement Services

Procurement Services refers to the Procurement Services Branch of Shared Services British Columbia.


Procurement Specialist

A Procurement Specialist is an individual who provides advice and services to the Province and/or the Broader Public Sector related to Procurement practices.  A Procurement Specialist can be a ministry employee, or a corporate resource available to all ministries and/or the Broader Public Sector.  Procurement Specialists are sometimes referred to as Procurement advisors.


Professional Service Contracts

These are Contracts specific to information technology services; human resources benefits services; accounting services; and management consulting services as defined on the General Service Agreement website.


Progressive Elaboration

This is a Planning process used in the continuing development of steps, phases or stages of a typical project plan. Usually at the beginning of a project, the Scope is functionally described in broad terms until more information is acquired and learned (this is especially true in a design project such as information technology).

As the project progresses, the Scope will become more explicit and detailed which will establish clearer and more defined Deliverables and key activities. Progressive Elaboration should not become confused with Scope Creep.

Progressive Elaboration of a project's Specifications needs to be carefully coordinated with the Scope Definition and the approved Scope change process.


Project Charter

This is a short and concise document, signed and issued by senior management. It should contain the project Scope Statement including Background, project Objectives, anticipated Deliverables, project Constraints and potential Risks and project Assumptions.

The Project Charter provides the project manager with the authority to request and allocate resources to the project. The Project Charter could be used to initiate the development of the Solicitation or it could be established as part of the Contract Statement of Work. The Project Charter could also follow a specific Needs Assessment or be part of a Business Case that has recommended a particular project be initiated.


Project Management

Project Management is the systematic process that brings together people and resources to conceive and define, plan, implement, complete and evaluate a project according to a pre-established Objective. Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to forecast activities to meet project Objectives.


Project Management Plan

This is a formal, approved document that defines how the project is to implemented, monitored and controlled. It may be in summary or detail and may be composed of one or more related Planning documents such as technical Specifications, quality and Performance Measurement plan, the Risk Management plan and the Contract Management Plan (if appropriate) and other related documents dependent on the type of project.



A Proponent is a Vendor who submits, or intends to submit, a Proposal to a Request for Proposals, Short-form Request for Proposals, Joint Solutions Procurement, or Negotiated Request for Proposals.



A Proposal is the Proponent’s submission to a Request for Proposals, Short-form Request for Proposals, Joint Solutions Procurement, or Negotiated Request for Proposals.  The buyer evaluates all Proposals and awards one or more Contracts, in accordance with the process described in the applicable Solicitation.



Province means Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of British Columbia and includes all ministries.  The Broader Public Sector is not part of this definition of Province.


Public Private Partnership (P3)

P3s are arrangements that result from a Solicitation (normally a Joint Solutions Request for Proposals or a Negotiated Request for Proposals) between government and private sector organizations for the purpose of providing public infrastructure and related services. The partnerships are categorized by sharing of investment, Risk, responsibility and reward between the partners.


Purchase Order (PO)

A PO is the purchaser's written offer to a Vendor formally stating all terms and conditions of a proposed transaction.  POs are usually used to purchase goods. By accepting the PO, the Vendor agrees to supply the specified goods at the price and by the delivery date indicated.


Purchasing Card

A Purchasing Card is a charge card (a payment instrument) that allows government staff to pay for small-dollar goods and services.  The Purchasing Card is a payment mechanism only, and does not take the place of any Solicitation activities that may be required to ensure value-for-money when making these small-dollar purchases.  It is also known as a p-card.


Qualified Supplier

A Qualified Supplier is a Vendor who has responded to a Request for Qualifications and, having met the qualification requirements, has been included in the Pre-Qualification List.


Qualified Receiver

Definition to come


Qualified Suppliers’ List

See Pre-Qualification List.



Where it has been explicitly included in the Solicitation, a Contract may be renewed for an additional period of time using a Modification Agreement. The number of potential Renewal options permitted for a given Contract must be established in the Solicitation, and the nature and intent of the original Contract must not be substantially changed. If the nature and intent of the original Contract is substantially changed, a new Procurement process is required.


Request for an Expression of Interest (RFEI)

An RFEI can be used to solicit and establish Vendor interest in competing for a particular project. For larger or unusual Procurement projects, the RFEI provides advance notice to interested parties, and allows them time to organize bidding groups, to prepare teaming agreements, and/or to arrange financing. The RFEI process does not rank or pre-qualify Vendors, and is not a firm commitment to issue a Solicitation. No Contract Awards are made directly from an RFEI.


Request for Information (RFI)

This is a document issued before a formal Solicitation, where Vendors are provided with a general or preliminary description or need, and are requested to provide the buyer / owner with additional information that may assist in preparing a subsequent Solicitation document. The buyer / owner can use the information provided through the RFI to make decisions on what to buy, to determine an appropriate Budget, and / or to select an appropriate Solicitation process.  No Contract Awards are made directly from an RFI.


Request for Proposals (RFP)

This is a request for Vendors to submit Proposals that include information on their relevant qualifications or experience, their proposed approach or methodology, and usually the price they would charge to provide a good or service in response to an identified problem, requirement or Objective.  RFPs include pre­defined criteria against which Proposals will be evaluated. Subject to the express terms of the Request for Proposals, the Contract is normally awarded to the Proponent whose Proposal meets all RFP Mandatory Criteria, terms and conditions, and achieves the highest overall rating of all Weighted Criteria specified in the Solicitation.  The Province's standard RFP process creates Contract “A” obligations.


Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

This is a process to establish a Pre-Qualification List for a period of time for frequent purchases, or to pre-qualify Vendors for a subsequent Solicitation (e.g. an ITT  or RFP). Ministries are to use the standard Request for Qualifications template unless an alternate form is approved by Legal Services.

The process includes an evaluation of the Responses to the RFQ to determine which Respondents will be placed on the Pre-Qualification List. The method of selecting a Contractor from the Pre-Qualification List should be specified in the RFQ document and this selection method must be followed.

RFQ Weighted Criteria might include Respondent experience, personnel resumes, technology and equipment capabilities, and financial stability. The evaluation process would award points based on abilities, capabilities and proven performance. The evaluation process could also establish a pass / fail or minimum score requirement.


Request for Quotation (RFQ) (referred to as an Invitation to Quote (ITQ) by the Province)

This is a request, verbal or written, provided to Vendors to submit a Bid for goods or services desired by the purchaser / buyer. The selection of the Successful Bidder is usually based on the lowest qualified Bid that meets specific Mandatory Criteria as stipulated by the Request for Quotation.

Caution: For the Province, an RFQ usually means a Request for Qualifications. Be careful to avoid confusion with acronym usage.


Request for Standing Offer (RSO)

This is a process to seek and qualify Vendors to supply specified goods or services directly on an "as and when" requested basis at a predetermined price. There is no acceptance or implementation of this offer until the Province or a Broader Public Sector entity uses the Standing Offer by submitting an order for the supply of specified goods or services.



A Respondent is a Vendor or individual who submits or intends to submit a Response to a Request for Qualifications, Request for Standing Offer, Request for Corporate Supply Arrangement, Request for Information, or Request for Expression of Interest.



A Response is a submission to an opportunity that does not result directly in a Contract.  These opportunities may be competitive – where some Respondents are expected to be successful and some or not – or it may be specific to information gathering only.  Examples of opportunities where Responses would apply include the Request for Corporate Supply Arrangement (RCSA), Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI), Request for Information (RFI), Request for Qualifications (RFQ), and Request for Standing Offer (RSO).



Risk is the chance of something happening that will have an impact upon the achievement of Objectives, including but not limited to those that may affect timelines, quality and price. It includes both opportunities and threats.


Risk Management

Risk Management is the culture, processes and structures that are directed towards the effective management of potential opportunities and adverse effects.


Risk Management Branch and Government Security Office (RMB)

The Risk Management Branch and Government Security Office, Ministry of Finance, is accountable for the effective management of Risk to which the Province is exposed by virtue of its assets, programs and operations.  In delivering its mandate, RMB has four major roles: central Risk Management agency within the Province, Risk Management advisor/consultant, Risk Management program development and delivery, and claims and litigation management. 



This is a clear and concise written description (functional or detailed) of the work to be done in a project or a Contract. The (initial) Scope is one of the key elements included in a typical Statement of Work. Scope consists of various related documents that make up the detailed Procurement project plan as shown below:

  • Scope Statement

(could be included as part of a Project Charter, Needs Assessment or Business Case) This is a document that provides the project justification, identifies the sponsor and key Stakeholders, describes the project's Objectives or Outcomes (results), and briefly describes the service or product that is to be provided (high level or macro), including the projected costs involved, an overview of the project's anticipated Deliverables and the process for project decision-making including Scope changes. It is the WHAT of a project.

  • Scope Management Plan

The Scope Management Plan describes how the project Scope will be managed and how any Scope changes will be identified (if possible), processed and integrated into the project plan (as defined in the Scope Statement). It could also be referred to as the Scope change management process.

  • Scope Definition

This is the primary part of the project plan that provides the Work Breakdown Structure and the project's detailed activities. The Scope Definition describes the expected or anticipated Deliverables including the related sub-components (the logical relationships of the key activities).

Scope Definition also identifies the materials and resources required to implement the project; it establishes detailed schedules, including time durations for key activities, identifies Performance Measurements and control mechanisms, and assigns qualified personnel to specific tasks. This forms the project or Procurement plan; it is the HOW of a project.

  • Scope Creep

Scope Creep is the adding of new requirements, features or functions to an already approved Contract or Solicitation without analyzing the effects to costs, resources and time, and without the approval of the designated approving authority. Scope Creep tends to be reactive in nature without any approved process.

Do NOT get this term confused with Progressive Elaboration which establishes an "approved" proactive process in refining (and elaborating on) the Scope Definition.

  • Out of Scope

These are specific features, requirements or functions that are NOT required as part of a particular project. It is essential that all project managers (internal and external, e.g. a Contractor) recognize this very common problem for Scope Definition.

The function or feature may appear to be related or part of the Scope Definition, but it is not required due to it being assigned elsewhere (e.g. to internal resources, another part of government or another Contractor), or the extra costs and resources associated with incorporating it are not available, or the feature or function is, in reality, "all flash but no substance".


Service Plan

This is a plan that describes a ministry's purpose or mission, its direction or vision, its goals and Objectives, the operational strategies and resources it intends to use to achieve those Objectives, and how it will know if it has been successful (through the use of performance measures and targets).


Shared Cost Arrangement (SCA)

A Shared Cost Arrangement is a Contract or formal written agreement between the Province and a Contractor to provide services to a third party on behalf of the Province.  They are referred to as non-exchange transactions meaning that government is not the direct beneficiary of the goods or services. Shared Cost Arrangements are usually for social services delivered to eligible participants; examples include job training programs, services for victims of crime, parenting programs, residential care services, new immigrant services, etc.  Shared Cost Arrangements may be paid fully by the Province, or may include funding from other sources.  Shared Cost Arrangements may also be referred to as Transfers Under Agreement (TUA) or Contribution Agreements.


Shared Services British Columbia (SSBC)

SSBC is a collection of divisions within the Ministry of Citizens’ Services that provide support to the Province and, as requested, to the Broader Public Sector regarding space, technology and procurement and supply.  It is the lead agency for procuring and supplying the technology, accommodation, products and services required by the Province and the Broader Public Sector. 


Short-form Request for Proposals (SRFP)

The SRFP is a type of Request for Proposals designed for Contracts valued at less than $250,000 that fit within its Scope.  The SRFP itself is restricted to no more than two pages, plus appendices.


Short List

This is a list of Respondents, Proponents, or Bidders, arrived at through an evaluated competitive process, who will proceed to a subsequent phase/step in a Solicitation.


Sole Source Award

A Sole Source Award is similar to a Direct Award, exercised under specific circumstances.  It applies when one Contractor has been selected from a Pre-Qualification List (perhaps due to specific experience or immediate availability, or in instances as specified in a particular Solicitation), or when it has been confirmed that only one Vendor is known who meets all of the requirements for a specific Contract. Refer to the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 6 for the exceptional conditions that are required for a Direct Award.  See similar term – Direct Award.



A Solicitation is any competitive process whereby one or more Vendors compete for a Contract, Purchase Order, Standing Offer or Pre-Qualification List.  Solicitations that are commonly used by the Province include the Invitation to Quote (ITQ), Invitation to Tender (ITT), Joint Solutions Request for Proposals (JSRFP), Negotiated Request for Proposals (NRFP), Request for Corporate Supply Arrangement (RCSA), Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Qualifications (RFQ), Request for Standing Offer (RSO), and Short-form Request for Proposals (SRFP). 



This is a concise statement of requirements for the services, product or material that are being purchased. It should include the procedure by which the Specification will be measured to ensure a particular quality standard or condition.



A Stakeholder is a person or group who either has an impact on the success (or failure) of a project, or who can be positively or negatively affected by the Outcome of a project. Stakeholders may be influential to the project's success or failure.


Standards of Conduct

The Province has a Standards of Conduct policy that applies to all provincial employees covered by the Public Service Act.  Employees’ conduct must instill confidence and trust; the impartiality of employees in the conduct of their duties. 

In addition to the Standards of Conduct policy noted above, employees of the Province who are involved in Procurement are expected to also comply with the Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees Engaged in Government Procurement Processes.  Adherence to these additional Standards of Conduct is essential to maintain and enhance the public's trust and confidence in the Procurement processes conducted by the Province. 


Standing Agreement (SA)

A Standing Agreement is a contract that creates a binding obligation to buy only from the Contractor holding the agreement but on an as, if and when requested basis, with generally no minimum volume guarantees. They are used when the government intends to purchase the goods and/or services from the Contractor holding the agreement, but the quantities and delivery dates are not yet known.  Standing Agreements can also be referred to as a Master Standing Agreement or a Master Services Agreement


Standing Offer (SO)

This is an offer from a Vendor to provide specified goods and / or services directly from the Vendor on an 'as and when' requested basis, at a pre-determined price. There is no acceptance of this offer on the part of the Province or the Broader Public Sector until an order is placed against the Standing Offer.  Unlike Standing Agreements, there is no obligation to order anything from a Standing Offer.


Statement of Work (SOW)

The SOW is a narrative description of the services or products to be supplied under Contract. In the General Services Agreement, the SOW is incorporated into Schedule "A"  It usually consists of the Project Plan or Work Plan (detailed or functional) including:

  • Project Objectives / Outcomes.
  • Schedule / Milestones — expected Deliverables.
  • Performance Measurement and quality assurance plan / process.
  • Monitoring and reporting plan / process.
  • Risk Management plan / process.
  • Project / Contract personnel, including Subcontractors.

Note that the payment / pricing portion of a Contract is normally a separate schedule (e.g. Schedule B of the General Service Agreement).



This is a person or company that enters into a contract with a Contractor (e.g. the Prime Contractor) to do work specified in the Contractor's original Contract. The buyer (e.g. the Province or a Broader Public Sector entity) does not have a direct relationship with its Contractors’ Subcontractors, as the Contractor is responsible for all Deliverables, including those provided by any Subcontractors.  The list of approved Subcontractors is typically attached to a Contract (e.g. Schedule C of the General Service Agreement). Any changes to this list must be approved by the Province’s or Broader Public Sector’s contract manager.



Submissions mean both Proposals and Responses.


Successful Bidder / Proponent / Respondent

A Successful Bidder means a Bidder who has submitted the lowest-priced Bid that has met all Specifications of the price-based Solicitation (e.g. ITQ or ITT).  The Successful Bidder is offered the Contract or Purchase Order, as specified in the Solicitation.  There is usually only one Successful Bidder per Solicitation.

A Successful Proponent means a Proponent who has submitted a Proposal that has scored high enough to be offered a Contract.  There may be more than one Successful Proponent for a single opportunity.  Once the Successful Proponent signs the Contract, it becomes the Contractor. 

Similarly, a Successful Respondent means a Respondent who has submitted a Response to a Request for Corporate Supply Arrangement, Request for Standing Offer, or Request for Qualifications, and has scored high enough to be allowed to offer the Province its goods and / or services through a Corporate Supply Arrangement or Standing Offer, or high enough to be included in the Pre-Qualification List.  There may be one or more than one Successful Respondent to a specific opportunity.


Terms of Reference

This document provides the framework and Planning elements that are required to successfully plan project Scope. The Terms of Reference also includes Solicitation and Contract Award processes, project implementation processes, including Contract Monitoring and reporting requirements. It is sometimes referred to as the Contract Management Plan.


Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements refer to those agreements that the Province has entered into related to numerous trade related topics, including Procurement.  For example, Trade Agreements refer to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), the New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA), the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement (WTO-GPA), which includes the Canada United States Agreement on Government Procurement (CUSPA), and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).


Travel Card

A Travel Card is a charge card issued to Province of BC staff for the sole purpose of paying for employee travel related expenses.  Employees are responsible to pay for all transactions they authorize to their Travel Cards.


U to Z


Unsolicited Proposals (UP)

This is an offer initiated from a Vendor that was not solicited through a competitive process.  An Unsolicited Proposal may include unique or innovative goods and / or services that are not commonly known or available in the marketplace.


Value Added

This is the provision of additional benefits beyond the basic worth or price of a product or service.


Variable Price Contract

The cost of a Contract may vary according to the volume of services or the number of units (such as goods) provided during the period of the Contract. This approach is usually used when the quality is known but not the quantity or volume. The buyer controls the volume of work, and places orders with the Contractor on an as, if and when requested basis.  Variable Price Contracts do require a maximum Contract value.


Vehicle Fleet Management

Vehicle Fleet Management involves the administration of motor vehicles such as cars, vans and trucks. It includes a broad range of services such as vehicle acquisition, financing, insurance, maintenance and disposal.  Shared Services British Columbia is responsible for Vehicle Fleet Management on behalf of the Province.



A Vendor is an organization or individual that sells goods and / or services to its customers.  A Vendor is also known as a supplier or a service provider.


Vendor Complaint Review Process (VCRP)

The Vendor Complaint Review Process (VCRP) provides Vendors access to a consistent, fair and timely process to address complaints concerning the Province’s Procurement processes. It also helps to identify ways to make continuous improvements in those processes.  The Procurement Governance Office (PGO), as a governance body independent of the procuring entities, provides overall management of the VCRP and reviews complaints not satisfactorily concluded by ministries and Shared Services British Columbia.


Vendor Relationship Management

Vendor Relationship Management refers to all activities that affect Vendors’ interaction with the Province, and applies to all activities associated with Procurement (i.e. Planning, Pre-Award, Award, Administration and Monitoring, Post-Contract Evaluation, and Corporate Reporting).


Weighted Criteria

Weighted Criteria are the elements of a Proposal or Response that will be scored, where some criteria may be weighted higher than other criteria.  Weighted Criteria must be used in a fair and transparent manner, where all Proposals or Responses to a Solicitation are evaluated on the same basis using the same Weighted Criteria.  Weighted Criteria can also be referred to as desirable criteria or evaluation criteria.


Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

This is an organized, hierarchical, Deliverable-oriented grouping of key project / Contract elements that illustrates the tentative Scope of a project. Each descending element or activity represents increasing detailed definition of the project. The WBS is a common Project Management term and is the integral part of the Scope Definition.

This is an ideal method of identifying and Planning the Request for Proposals (RFP) project requirements (the key elements involved in the project) in order to illustrate how an RFP should be structured for project clarity and definition. A Proposal can also be planned using this method to develop the proposed project Scope in outline or detailed description.


World Trade Organization – Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO-GPA)

The WTO-GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the World Trade Organization, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement.  The fundamental aim of the WTO-GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its parties.


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