Where a vendor has a complaint or takes issue with a solicitation issued or a contract awarded by the Province and for which the vendor has sufficient interest, a vendor complaint may be submitted for review.
What does this mean to the ministry involved?
The government Vendor Complaint Review Process (VCRP) provides the vendor community with access to a consistent, fair and timely process to address complaints concerning government's procurement processes. It also helps to identify ways to make continuous improvements in those processes. Details on the process for initiating a formal vendor complaint can be found on the Vendor Complaint Review Process (VCRP) website.
Note that some ministries have specific timelines within which a formal complaint can be made.
The process consists of three separate components to be addressed in the following order:
- First Step – Informal Discussion
- Second Step – Formal Ministry Complaint
- Third Step – Independent Review by the Procurement Governance Office (PGO)
The vendor complaint process is intended to address issues of procurement policy and procedures, and to identify any required revisions or gaps in the current provincial procurement policy. It is not intended to focus exclusively on the outcome of a particular procurement.
The first step is always to discuss the issue with the procurement contact listed on the solicitation or the ministry's contract manager and attempt to resolve the issue informally.
For issues related to solicitations, this may mean a debrief session where information can be shared with the proponent/respondent about how their submission was evaluated. A debrief often addresses the complaint as the proponent/respondent gains a better understanding of what's expected in solicitations.
If the solicitation was price-based (e.g. an Invitation to Quote, Invitation to Tender), the award is generally made to the lowest bid that met all mandatory requirements and specifications. If a bidder proposed a lower bid but was not successful, inform them of how their bid did not meet the mandatory requirements or specifications.
If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the vendor may submit a formal complaint through the procuring ministry’s VCRP. A formal complaint is almost always dealt with separately from the award process. Refer to the Vendor Complaint and Review Process for more information.
If the vendor feels that the initial response to their formal complaint did not adequately address the issue, they may submit a request to the Procurement Governance Office for an independent review of the complaint as it relates to government procurement policy and procedures.