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Procurement of Goods and Services Procedures

Classification number LCG 1131.01
Parent policy Procurement of Goods and Services Policy
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Senior Leadership Team
Policy owner Chief Financial Officer
Approval date November 2012
Review date To be assigned
Last updated Editorial Amendments, February 18, 2020; March 27, 2017; Minor Amendment, s. 6.1, s 9
Supersedes Purchasing Procedures (March 2009)


Under the University's policy on the Procurement of Goods and Services, the University affirms its commitment to managing its procurement practices in a manner that is consistent with current procurement principles, standards and metrics and adheres to applicable provincial and federal standards and regulatory requirements. The policy sets out the principles and standards which define and guide procurement practices at the university, affirms its application to all acquisitions, contracts and agreements involving the university operating, capital, ancillary, research and all other funds held in trust or at its disposal, and advances the collective responsibility of all members of the university to manage these resources with honesty, care and due diligence.

The Procurement Procedures are designed to complement the policy by serving to define and guide individuals in fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations throughout each phase of the procurement process. The procedures are consistent with the Procurement Directive for the Broader Public Sector, effective April 1, 2011, and have been developed to ensure that all goods, services and consulting services are acquired by the university through a process that is open, fair and transparent.

The manager of procurement, under the direction of the chief financial officer, will ensure the day to day implementation of these procedures and associated guidelines, as well as the regular review of the purchasing procedures to ensure that the university’s procurement processes are subject to continuous improvement and refinement and in response to Ministry guidelines and government regulations.

Supply Chain Code of Ethics

The University’s procurement policies and procedures are also guided by the standards as set out in the university’s Supply Chain Code of Ethics, approved by the Board of Governors in September 2010, which should be common for everyone involved with supply chain activities, such as planning, sourcing, procurement, contracting, moving and payment processes. The code was adopted from Section 4.3 of the Ministry of Finance Supply Chain Guidelines. It is not meant to supersede other University value statements or policies, but rather to supplement them with supply chain-specific standards of practice.

Under the University's Supply Chain Code of Ethics, individuals involved in supply chain activities must observe the following principles:

  1. Personal Integrity and Professionalism: All individuals involved in purchasing or other supply chainrelated activities must act, and be seen to act, with integrity and professionalism. Honesty, care and due diligence must be integral to all supply chain activities within the University organization, suppliers and other participants. Respect must be demonstrated for each other and for the environment. Confidential information must be safeguarded. All participants must not engage in any activity that may create, or appear to create, a conflict of interest, such as accepting gifts or favours, providing preferential treatment, or publicly endorsing suppliers or products.

  2. Accountability and Transparency: Supply chain activities must be open and accountable. In particular, contracting and purchasing activities must be fair, transparent and conducted with a view to obtaining the best value for the university’s money. All participants must ensure that university resources are used in a responsible, efficient and effective manner.

  3. Compliance and Continuous Improvement: All individuals involved in purchasing or other supply chain-related activities must comply with this code of ethics and the laws of Canada and Ontario. All 3 individuals should continuously work to improve supply chain policies and procedures, to improve their supply chain knowledge and skill levels, and to share leading practices.

Procurement Principles

  1. Segregation of Duties

    The University’s procedures for the procurement of goods and services require that at least three of the following five functional procurement roles are segregated between different departments or, at a minimum, between different individuals:

    • Requisition (the process of initiating documentation for the applicable Means of Procurement);
    • Budgeting (the process of determining whether there are sufficient funds available to commit the institution to the purchase);
    • Commitment (the act of formally binding the institution to a purchasing agreement);
    • Receipt (the physical receipt of the purchased goods or services by university personnel); and
    • Payment (the actual process and transfer of funds from the institution to the vendor, supplier or contractor).

  2. Signing Authority and Approval

    All goods and services purchased at the university must be approved at the outset by the appropriate authority as set out in the Signing Authority Registry and Approval Procedures and the Signing Authority Registry (SAR). [Add link] These documents identify the individual(s) or bodies within the university’s governance or management structure with the responsibility to bind and commit the institution.

    Signing authority levels for procurement are determined by the type of good or service to be purchased, as well as the financial (pre-tax) threshold of the expenditure. If the amount of a purchase is amended or increased after the order has been authorized, the revised total expenditure (original amount plus increase) will be used to determine approval authority.

  3. Types of Procurement

    The procurement process to be followed is determined by the type of purchase to be made, either goods and services, or consulting services.

    1. “Goods” means moveable property, as well as the costs of installing, operating, maintaining or manufacturing such moveable property which are purchased, rented or leased by the university, including raw materials, products, equipment and other physical objects of every kind and description whether in solid, liquid, gaseous or electronic form, unless they are procured as part of a general construction contract. It includes capital items, such as furniture, research equipment, telecommunications and computers, peripheral equipment and acquisitioned software where there is a one-time license fee and other items that have a useful life greater than one year.

      Goods also include materials and equipment used for research purposes, such as controlled products, animals, biohazardous, radioactive and other hazardous materials and equipment. The acquisition of these materials requires additional procurement procedures as outlined in Section 5.1.1.

      “Services” means any intangible product that does not have a physical presence. No transfer of possession or ownership takes place when services are sold, and they (1) cannot be stored or transported, (2) are instantly perishable, and (3) come into existence at the time they are bought and consumed. This includes construction related services.

    2. “Consulting Services” is limited to the provision of expertise or strategic advice that is presented for consideration and decision-making. Consulting services are subject to different procurement practices than all other goods and services.

      For further clarity, “consulting services” does not include contractors who are performing work on a fee for service basis and who are NOT providing strategic/decision-making advice (e.g. police officers, specialists for disabilities, sign language interpreters, etc.). Appendix A provides a list of common services that are procured by universities and that would be deemed to be “Services” as defined in 3.3 A. (above), and not “consulting services.”

  4. Items not Covered by these Procedures

    A number of items are not covered by the procurement procedures. These include:

    • Any item covered by an employment contract or payroll or any time an employer/employee relationship exists is not considered procurement; and
    • Honoraria.

  5. Threshold Values and Means of Procurement

    The means by which goods, services or consulting service is procured is determined by the total value of the item, before tax, in accordance with the chart below and as described in the subsequent sections of this procedure.

    4.0 Purchase Order Open or invitational competitive process All values
    5.0 Purchasing Card Authorized cardholder and approved vendor $0 - $5,000
    6.0 Purchase Order Two written quotations $5,001 - $25,000
    7.1 Purchase Order Three written quotations (by invitation) $25,001 - $100,000
    7.2 Purchase Order Open competitive process more than $100,000

    In order to achieve maximum value for expenditures, all purchases of goods and services valued at $5,000 or more and all consulting services must be made using competitive procurement procedures. Purchases ranging from $5,001-25,000 in value must be accompanied by two written quotations. Purchases of $25,001-$100,000 must be accompanied by three written quotations, and purchases of more than $100,000 must be determined through an open competitive process.

    Any attempt to circumvent or otherwise manipulate the thresholds used to determine the means of procurement (e.g., dividing a single procurement into multiple procurements) is strictly prohibited. The total cost shall include the cost of associated warranties, maintenance and service agreements and applicable taxes.

    Under special, limited circumstances, purchasers may request to have the quotation requirement waived. The process for obtaining a Waiver of Competitive Procurement is outlined in section 8.0. (link to that section)

  6. Procurement Records Retention

    For reporting and auditing purposes, all procurement documentation, as well as any other pertinent information must be retained in a recoverable form for a minimum period of seven years as required by the Ministry of Finance.

Consulting Services

Under the Procurement Directive for the Broader Public Sector, consultants and consulting services must be procured through a competitive process, regardless of value. Consultants are limited to those who provide strategic/decision-making advice in accordance with the Procurement Directive for the Broader Public Sector. Excluded from this definition are consultants and contractors who are performing work on a fee for service basis and are NOT providing strategic/decision-making advice (e.g. police officers, specialists for disabilities, sign language interpreters, musicians, etc.).

A working list of common services procured by universities that would not be deemed consulting services is provided in Appendix A.

Purchasing Cards

The purchasing card is a corporate credit card assigned to authorized employees for the purchase of goods and services that do not exceed $5,000. All purchases over $5,000 require a purchase order (see section 6.0). Cardholders are responsible for ensuring that the cards are used within the purchasing card guidelines and associated policies and procedures as set out by the Procurement office. Where vendors do not accept the institution’s purchasing card, purchasers may use alternative means, such as purchase orders or cheque requisitions.

  1. Cardholder Responsibilities

    Purchasing cards may be assigned to University employees upon written authorization by their designated dean/vice-president, a business justification requirement must be accompanied with each application. All cardholders must be familiar with the policies and restrictions regarding the use of the card and must agree to them in writing through the Cardholder Agreement prior to their receipt of the card.

    Use of the purchasing card is limited to university approved purposes only and shall not be used for personal purchases or in any instance that may create, or appear to create, a conflict of interest. Any personal charges billed to the university through the purchasing card could be considered a misappropriation of university funds.

    It is the responsibility of the cardholder to maintain the control and security of their University purchasing card. All precautions must be used to maintain confidentiality of all information relating to the card, such as the cardholder card number and expiration date. If the card is lost or stolen, the cardholder is responsible for immediately notifying the card issuer and the Purchasing department.

    Purchasing cards are assigned to a specific named individual. The cardholder is the only person authorized to use the assigned card and is responsible for all transactions. The cards may not be assigned to multiple users and may not be loaned to any other individual.

  2. Purchasing Card Credit Limits

    A single transaction for a purchasing card shall not exceed $5,000 without a purchase order, including shipping charges, currency exchange and taxes. Monthly limits for individual cards are set at $5,000, but may be adjusted by the designated dean/vice-president, subject to the approval of the Chief Financial Officer.

    Purchasing card purchases must not be split to circumvent the above card limits. If the dollar amount of the item exceeds the established limits, the purchaser may use an alternative method of procurement as set out in the Procurement Procedures (e.g., purchase order, invoice, etc.).

    Where purchases under $5,000 cannot be made using the purchasing card (e.g. card not accepted by vendor), purchases may be made using one of the alternative methods of procurement. If a vendor used frequently by employees does not accept the purchasing card, the cardholder should contact the Purchasing department to assist in making arrangements for the acceptance of the card by the vendor.

  3. Purchasing Card Restrictions

    Special circumstances exist where, regardless of total value, purchases may not be done using the purchasing card. Regardless of total value, the purchasing card shall not be used for the following purchases:

    • Personal or private use travel;
    • Non-university use;
    • Cash advances;
    • Financial instruments of any kind (e.g., money orders, bank drafts);
    • Controlled products;
    • Hazardous materials;
    • Animals used in research;
    • IT hardware (non-research);
    • Capital charged budgetary items and
    • Transactions over $5,000 including shipping charges, currency exchange and taxes.

  4. Purchasing Card Reconciliation

    Cardholders are responsible for retaining original detailed receipts and other appropriate records of purchase for each transaction made with the purchasing card. If there is no itemized receipt, a written explanation must be provided to explain why the receipt is not available and a description itemizing and confirming the expenses. A missing receipt form must be completed accordingly. Insert link to form(*4.7) Cardholders are also responsible for reconciling their expenditures against their monthly online statements and reporting any errors immediately to the Purchasing department (e.g., wrong amount, multiple charges, etc.). Any personal charges must be reimbursed on this same expense form. All statements and associated records of purchase, with the designated Budget Holder approval, must be forwarded to Accounts Payable by the fifth day of each month.

    It is the responsibility of the designated budget holder to:

    • ensure that charges to funds are appropriate and acceptable;
    • ensure that all individuals within the Faculty/department submit their reconciliations prior to specified deadline.

      Any purchasing card transaction that is not reconciled will be charged to the default departmental account code, and may result in the revocation of the card.

  5. Cardholder Status Changes

    Cardholders who are relocated to another unit or cost centre must submit a card change request form to the Purchasing department with the appropriate authorization.

    Cardholders must surrender their purchasing cards immediately upon termination of employment whether due to voluntary or involuntary reasons, or upon request from the designated budget holder or the Purchasing department.

  6. Records Retention:

    All documents associated with the purchasing card must be retained for a period of seven years to support potential audit of transactions by fund agencies or sources. Transaction records may be requested at any time by Accounts Payable, Procurement manager, supervisor, and internal or external auditors for examination.

    Any exceptions to these guidelines shall be documented and must be approved by the CFO and the manager of Procurement.

Purchase Orders

A “Purchase Order” is a written offer made by a purchaser to a vendor that formally sets out the terms and conditions of the proposed transaction. Purchase Orders may be used for purchases valued at less than $5000 where required by the vendor. Purchase Orders must be used for all purchases of consulting services regardless of value, as well as goods and services valued at greater than $5,000.

There are certain goods and services for which a Purchase Order may not be acceptable or appropriate. Such items may be procured through alternative means such as cheque requisitions, or expense reports, but must nevertheless follow the required signing approvals.

  1. Purchase Requisitions

    Purchase requisitions must be created and approved by a purchaser using the University Web Requisition System and accompanied by the appropriate supporting documentation. There are requisitions for two types of purchase orders:

      • Regular Purchase Order: Generally used for goods and services purchased at the time and paid for in a lump sum.

      • Blanket Purchase Order: A blanket purchase order is defined as an order of goods and/or services that is processed by the university with a supplier that contains multiple delivery dates scheduled over a fiscal year, sometimes at predetermined prices. It is normally used when there is a recurring need for expendable Goods and/or services. Hence, items are purchased under a single purchase order rather than processing a separate purchase order each time goods and/or services are needed.

        Blanket Purchase Orders should be issued whenever:

        • Purchases of the goods and services indicated on the order may occur several times during the coming year.
        • Purchases of goods and services that occur only once each year but are purchased every year. Items such as prepaid maintenance contracts use permits, software licenses fall into this category.
        • Purchases for services are required on very short notice and for which the issuance of a formal quote, requisition and ultimate purchase order may be too time consuming.

    Where the University has established such blanket purchase orders, goods and services should be purchased against these contracts from these preferred vendors (see Section 8.3 and contact the Procurement office for a current list of preferred vendors).

    Purchases of IT hardware, including laptops, tablets, workstations, monitors, printers and servers, with the exception of research hardware, must be selected from the list of standard hardware models and purchased or leased through a purchase order from the designated preferred vendor, as established by Information Technology Services (ITS) and posted on the website. As per the university’s Signing Authority Registry, all leases must be approved by the CFO.

    All requisitions regardless of purchase order type must include:

      • Valid  Banner ID/Supplier Number;
      • Contact information of purchaser;
      • Vendor contact information;
      • Product or quote information including quote number, item description, catalogue or order number, quantity, pricing, and unit of measure, etc.;
      • Date goods and services must be received by;
      • Account information (University fund, org, account); and
      • Quotation waiver justification, if applicable.

    If the supplier does not have a valid Banner ID/supplier number, the Requisitioning department must complete the Supplier Setup Form. The Procurement Office will then check the validity of the Supplier through the Canadian Revenue Agency website and internet search before the Supplier record is established.  Other information may also be required as delineated in section 6.3.

    The Procurement Office, on an annual basis, will perform a system review to identify and deactivate duplicate and aged suppliers (including duplicate supplier IDs due to multiple entries of the same supplier with a similar name or spelling error in supplier name) and suppliers with no transactions in over two years.  

    Purchase orders for the purchase of controlled goods, hazardous materials and animals for research and/or teaching as identified below require additional documentation or requisition information.

  2. Purchases of Restricted Items:

    In the interest of user and public safety, the purchase, use and disposal of restricted items as outlined below, is subject to provincial, federal and, in some cases, international legislation and regulations, in addition to university policy and procedures. The university, if found in non-compliance may be subject to large fines. To ensure compliance with applicable legislation and regulations, and university policy and procedures, all restricted items shall be purchased using a purchase order, and must be signed off by the appropriate signing officials: Biosafety Officer, Radiation Safety Officer, or Manager of Research Services (animal care and use).

    1. Restricted Items Requiring a Purchase Order

      • Controlled goods as defined by the Control Goods Program (CGP) of Canada.
      • Animals used for research and/or teaching purposes as regulated by Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) and OMAFRA Animals for Research Act.
      • Controlled substances or controlled drugs used for research/teaching purposes as defined by Health Canada, Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) as any type of drug that the federal government has categorized as having a higher-than-average potential for abuse or addiction. Controlled substances are listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV and V of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) of Canada and Part G (Controlled) and Part J (Restricted) of the Food and Drug Regulations, under the Food and Drugs Act of Canada. Controlled status applies to the drugs themselves, their salts and derivatives and to diagnostic or test kits containing these drugs.
      • Hazardous Materials, as defined by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act in its Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulation. These items must have WHMIS labels and be accompanied by a current Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), and may also require transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) documentation.
      • Designated Substances as defined by the Ministry of Labour I Regulation 833 – Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents.
      • Human Pathogens and Toxins and/or Biohazardous materials used for research and/or teaching purposes, including possession, use, import and export of human pathogens and toxins as defined and regulated by the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
      • Radioactive material or devices containing radioactive material and/or producing nuclear radiation as defined and regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
      • Devices emitting electromagnetic radiation, including microwaves, ultraviolet, x-ray and lasers (class 3b/4 lasers) as regulated by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    2. Purchase Orders for Restricted Items

      When completing a purchase requisition for any of the above identified controlled purchases, the following information must be included in the comments section of the requisition form:

      • Researcher name;
      • Certificate/permit approval number as assigned by the relevant research compliance committee (Animal Care Committee, Biosafety Committee or Radiation Safety Committee;
      • Indicate if the material is biohazardous, radioactive, animals, controlled goods, hazardous. In rare circumstances, restricted items may be purchased using an alternative procurement method; however, prior approval must be sought from the chair of the relevant research compliance committee and/or Biosafety officer and/or Radiation Safety officer.

    3. Purchases of Capital Items

      An expense will be classified as a capital asset if it is a non-consumable, taxable item, valued at a single amount greater than $5,000 (before taxes) and with a life expectancy of more than one year.

      All capital items must be purchased through a purchase order to ensure proper inventory and quality control.

  3. Approval of Purchase Requisitions

    Completed purchase requisitions must be approved in accordance with the Signing Authority Registry (link to SAR) prior to being submitted to the Procurement office.

  4. Execution of Purchase Orders and Purchasing Agreements

    On receipt of a completed purchase requisition, the Procurement office will execute a purchase order which includes terms and conditions prior to the provision of goods and services.

    Unless a purchase order is issued under a separate written purchasing agreement between the purchaser and the vendor, the purchase order and any attachments are the sole agreement between the purchaser and supplier.

    Where an immediate need exists for goods or services, and the purchaser and the vendor are not able to finalize the purchasing agreement as described above, a purchase order shall be issued. The justification of such decision must be documented and approved by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

    • All purchasing agreements must include: cancellation or termination clauses, as appropriate. When conducting complex procurements, the university may consider the use of contract clauses that permit cancellation or termination at critical project life-cycle stages.

    • The specific term of the agreement and any options to extend the agreement as set out in the competitive procurement documents. Any change or amendment to the term of a purchasing agreement requires approval by the Procurement office, and in accordance with the Signing Authority Registry and Approval Procedures.

    The Procurement office will deliver a copy of the completed purchase order to the purchaser prior to the goods being delivered. For items classified as Restricted Items, as defined in section 6.2, a copy of the completed purchase order and the receipt of purchase must also be forwarded to the manager of the Office of Research Services.

  5. Receipt of Goods

    All goods are to be delivered to Shipping/Receiving, unless otherwise specified in the purchase requisition. Goods must be accompanied by a packing slip that indicates the purchase order number.

    Shipping/Receiving will contact the purchaser to indicate arrival of the order. The purchaser or designate is responsible for signing the packing slip to validate that the goods received are in accordance with the purchase order.

    For goods not received in Shipping/Receiving, packing slips must be signed off, scanned and emailed to Shipping/Receiving within 48 hours so that the purchase order can be closed.

    If goods received are not in accordance with the purchase order, the purchaser is responsible for following up with the vendor, in consultation with the Procurement office.

  6. Payment of Purchases

    All invoices must be sent directly to Accounts Payable by the vendor. Invoices will be forwarded by Accounts Payable to the purchaser for approval prior to payment in accordance with the Signing Authority Registry. All invoices for goods submitted by the purchaser for payment must be accompanied by a signed packing slip and sent to Accounts Payable.

  7. Return of Goods

    For any good that needs to be replaced or returned, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to contact the vendor and make the appropriate arrangements in consultation with the Procurement office. Where the replacement or return requires a change to the terms of the original purchase order, the purchaser shall contact the Procurement office to initiate the change.

Competitive Procurement

All goods and services valued greater than $5,000 must be procured via a competitive procurement process. The threshold will determine whether invitational or open competitive should be used (see Section 3.5). The purchaser may also use the open competitive procurement process for goods and/or services with an expected value of less than $100,000 if required by an external organization, and/or due to the high profile nature of the requirement, or at the discretion of the Procurement office.

  1. Procurement by Invitation

    Procurement by invitation means the request of a bid, quote or proposal by the purchaser or Procurement office. The number of bids required is determined by the threshold value.

  2. Open Competitive Procurement

    All goods and services that are valued at greater than $100,000 must be procured through an open public competitive process in order to solicit fair, impartial and competitive bids prior to the issuing of a purchase order.

    The Open Competitive Procurement process involves the following four stages:

    1. Development of a bid request;
    2. Posting and receipt of bid requests;
    3. Evaluation of bid requests; and
    4. Contract and award notification.

    Under special, limited circumstances, the requirement to use competitive procurement may be waived, and upon approval in advance by the Procurement office. Such circumstances are outlined in Section 8.

    1. Development of a Bid Request

      1. Needs Identification

        To ensure that the university obtains the most appropriate goods and/or services, the needs and objectives of the anticipated purchase, including any accessibility requirements, must be well defined and communicated to potential vendors through a bid request.

        Bid requests are normally executed through a “Request for Proposal (RFP)”, which requests vendors to supply solutions for the delivery of complex products or services or to provide alternative options or solutions using predefined evaluation criteria in which price is not the only factor.

        Where the results of informal supplier or product research are insufficient, formal processes such as a Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) may be used if warranted, taking into consideration the time and effort required to conduct them.

        • A “Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI)” is a document used to gather information on supplier interest in an opportunity or information on supplier capabilities/qualifications and helps the organization to gain a better understanding of the capacity of the supplier community to provide the services or solutions needed.

        • A “Request for Information (RFI)” is a document issued to potential suppliers that sets out a general or preliminary description of a problem or need and requests information or advice about how to better define the problem or need, or alternative solutions.

        A response to RFI or RFEI must not be used to pre-qualify a potential supplier and must not influence the chances of the participating suppliers from becoming the successful proponent in any subsequent opportunity.

        The university may also gather information about supplier capabilities and qualifications through a Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ). This mechanism may be used either to identify qualified candidates in advance of expected future competitions or to narrow the field for an immediate need. The terms and conditions of the RFSQ document must contain language that disclaims any obligation of the university to call on any supplier to provide goods or services as a result of pre-qualification.

        In developing bid requests, due consideration must be given to the accessibility needs and requirements of the university in relation to the good or service being procured. Accessibility staff may be consulted to ensure a fair evaluation of accessibility requirements. If it is determined that there are no accessibility requirements to the goods or services being procured or that the accessibility requirements are deemed not to be practicable, this decision and its explanation must be documented by the Procurement office.

      2. Evaluation Criteria

        The criteria that will be used to evaluate the monetary and non-monetary aspects of the anticipated purchase, and the relative weighting of each factor, must be developed and defined as part of the bid request process. The criteria will serve to facilitate the review of competing bids and ensure that the goods and/or services under consideration will meet the needs and objectives of the university.

        The criteria to be used in evaluating potential vendors will include such monetary factors as price, quality, cost trends, lead-time, flexibility, technical capabilities and accessibility requirements. In addition, potential vendors must also be:

        • Financially solvent and in good standing with the University;
        • In compliance with provincial, federal and international laws, regulations and trade agreements; and
        • In compliance with University technical standards;

          Preference may also be given to acquisitions that:

        • Offer environmentally-friendly goods and services;
        • Meet applicable accessibility standards, where relevant;
        • Result from strategic business alliances with other agencies/institutions or corporations, provided the parameters of the University’s procurement policy are met;
        • Are made cooperatively with other not for profit agencies/institutions where the University can benefit from leveraged spending.

        The methodology and process to be used in assessing the submissions must also be set out in advance, including the method of resolving a tie score. If the evaluation criteria is to be altered after the bid request is posted, an addendum must be made to the competitive procurement documents. Bid requests must also state that the addendum has been received, reviewed and will be complied with.

        The university may request suppliers to provide alternative strategies or solutions as a part of their submission. Such alternative criteria must be established prior to posting of the bid request and cannot be considered unless they are explicitly requested in the competitive procurement documents.

      3. Bid Requests

        Documents pertaining to bid requests, including Requests for Proposal, Requests for Tender and Requests for Quotation, will be drafted by the Procurement manager, in consultation with the purchaser. All bid requests must clearly state:

        • The bid submission date and closing time. Suppliers must be given a minimum response time of 15 calendar days. Procurements of high complexity, risk and/or dollar value may be accorded a response time of 30 calendar days;
        • The criteria, and weighting of the criteria, that will be used to evaluate submissions, along with the methodology to be used in assessing submissions;
        • A statement that submissions that do not meet the mandatory criteria will be disqualified;
        • The proposed term of the agreement and any options to extend the agreement (extending the term of agreement beyond that set out in the competitive procurement document amounts to noncompetitive procurement where the extension affects the value and/or stated deliverables of procurement);
        • The cancellation or termination clauses, as appropriate;
        • The university’s standard insurance clauses;
        • A bid resolution clause.

        Bid requests documents regardless of value must contain standard terms and conditions clauses as defined by the manager, Insurance and Risk Management and be reviewed and approved by that office prior to their issuance.

    2. Posting and Receipt of Bid Requests

      Communications with potential suppliers concerning the posting of bid requests, both invitational and open, and acceptance of responses shall be carried out by the Procurement office to ensure the integrity of the competitive procurement process. In addition, the following must be adhered to:

      • The initial communication of any proposal must be communicated to all vendors at the same time;
      • All vendor responses must be due at the same time;
      • Any changes in due dates, requirements or information pertaining to the proposal or bid request must be communicated to all vendors at the same time and through the same methodology;
      • The bid proposal should be received in accordance to the bid documentation guidelines;
      • Any late proposals will be returned to the supplier unopened;
      • All proposals and bid requests and responses and any subsequent feedback must be documented.

      Calls for open competitive bid requests by the University will be posted by the Procurement office on the electronic tendering system that is readily accessible by all Canadian suppliers (i.e., MERX or Biddingo). In addition, a selected or recommended group of suppliers may be invited to respond.

    3. Evaluation of Bid Requests

      An evaluation team must be established and framework developed to provide business, legal, technical, and financial input into the review and evaluation of bid proposals. This committee must include at minimum the Purchasing Manager and the purchaser. All members of the evaluation team must be aware of the restrictions related to the use and distribution of confidential and commercially sensitive information collected through the competitive procurement process. They must also refrain from engaging in activities that may create or appear to create a conflict of interest and must sign a conflict-of-interest declaration and non-disclosure of confidential information agreement.

      Each evaluation team member must complete an evaluation matrix based on multiple, pre-defined evaluation criteria to rate each of the submissions. Records of evaluation scores must be retained for a period of seven years for audit purposes. Evaluators must ensure that everything they say or write about submissions is fair, factual, and fully defensible.

      All qualified suppliers will be evaluated according to the same criteria and process. The submission that receives the best ranking and meets all mandatory requirements set out in the competitive procurement document must be declared the winning bid. The university must not discriminate or exercise preferential treatment in awarding a contract to a supplier as a result of a competitive procurement process.

      The basis for supplier selection will be the best value, which may not be the lowest bidder. Best value will be based on predetermined criteria such as (but not limited to); quality, service, added value, partnership initiatives, availability to meet delivery or service requirements, warranties, lesser ongoing operational costs, etc. The university reserves the right to conduct discussions with selected suppliers for the purpose of “purchase by negotiation” in certain circumstances such as (but not limited to); the lowest bid received substantially exceeds the estimated cost of the goods, limited or reduced project funding, change to scope unknown at time of bid request, etc.

      Bids will not be opened publicly unless determined by the university that a public opening is deemed appropriate.

    4. Contract Award Notification

      For open competitive procurement processes, once the agreement between the successful supplier and the university is executed, the Procurement office will post a notification of the contract award on the electronic tendering system, in the same manner as the procurement documents were posted, listing the name of the successful supplier, agreement start and end dates, and any extension options.

      All unsuccessful suppliers will be notified individually by the Procurement office and shall be informed of their entitlement to request a de-briefing within 60 calendar days.

      Any disputes arising from the competitive procurement process, the methods employed or decisions made in the administration of a proposal, tender, or quotation must be must be dealt with in an ethical, fair, reasonable, and timely fashion.

  3. Tender Dispute Resolution

    Should a supplier wish to review the decision of the university in any respect of any material aspect of the tender process and subject to having a debriefing, the supplier shall submit an appeal in writing to the Procurement office within 10 days of such a debriefing. Any appeal in writing that is not received in a timely manner will not be considered and the supplier will be notified in writing. A protest in writing shall include the following:

      1. A specific identification of the provision and/or procurement procedure that is alleged to have been breached;
      2. A specific description of each act alleged to have been breached in the procurement process;
      3. A precise statement of the relevant facts;
      4. An identification of the issues to be resolved;
      5. The supplier's arguments and supporting documentation; and
      6. The supplier's requested remedy.

    The manager, Procurement will respond, in writing, to the supplier within 10 days of receiving the tender protest. Should the supplier still not agree with the university’s resolution, they can request a subsequent meeting with the CFO of the university. Should the supplier still not agree with the resolution they may bring the matter to the attention of an authority with no substantial interest in the outcome, to receive and consider the complaint and make appropriate findings and recommendations with respect to the complaint.

  4. Contract Management

    “Contract” means an obligation, such as an accepted offer, between competent parties upon a legal consideration, to do or abstain from doing some act. It is essential to the creation of a contract that the parties intend that their agreement shall have legal consequences and be legally enforceable. The essential elements of a contract are an offer and an acceptance of that offer; the capacity of the parties to contract; consideration to support the contract; a mutual identity of consent or consensus ad idem; legality of purpose; and sufficient certainty of terms.

    The terms and conditions of any contractual agreement with vendors must be reviewed and approved by the Procurement manager and the manager, Insurance & Risk Management and if the contract is facilities related, the director, Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability. The University New Contract Control Form [link], available at the Procurement office must be signed by the appropriate individuals listed before sending the contract for final, formal senior level signature in accordance with the Signing Authority Registry.

    Payments must be made in accordance with provisions of the contract. All invoices must contain detailed information sufficient to warrant payment. Any overpayments must be recovered in a timely manner.

    Assignments must be properly documented. Supplier performance must be managed and documented, and any performance issues must be addressed.

    To manage disputes with suppliers throughout the life of the contract, the university should include a dispute resolution process in their contracts.

    For services, the university must:

    • Establish clear terms of reference for the assignment. The terms should include objectives, background, scope, constraints, staff responsibilities, tangible deliverables, timing, progress reporting, approval requirements, and knowledge transfer requirements.
    • Establish expense claim and reimbursement rules compliant with the Broader Public Sector Expenses Procedure and ensure all expenses are claimed and reimbursed in accordance with these rules.
    • Ensure that expenses are claimed and reimbursed only where the contract explicitly provides for reimbursement of expenses.

Waiver of Competitive Procurement

Under special, limited circumstances, the requirement to use competitive procurement may be waived upon approval by the budget holder, Procurement office and CFO. In the case of consulting services, the waiving of competitive procurement requires the approval of the President, in addition to the budget holder, Procurement office and CFO. All such requests for waivers must be approved in advance before the procurement process begins.

  1. Requests for Waivers

    In order to obtain a waiver to use non-competitive procurement, the purchaser must make a formal request to the Procurement office with a written explanation as to why it would be impracticable or otherwise inappropriate to put the good or service out for competitive procurement. Such requests should include specific requirements of the good or service, evidence that an objective market analysis has been undertaken and that the cost charged by the vendor is fair and reasonable. If the good or service is being purchased through a distributor of the manufacturer, a letter from the manufacturer should be obtained indicating a sole source distributor relationship exists between the parties.

  2. Basis for Granting Waivers

    The Procurement office may grant a waiver of competitive procurement only in the following special, limited circumstances:

    1. Where an emergency situation exists and the goods, services or construction cannot be obtained in time by means of open procurement procedures. 

    2. Where goods, services or consulting services regarding matters of a confidential or privileged nature are to be purchased and the disclosure of those matters through an open tendering process could reasonably be expected to compromise University confidentiality, cause economic disruption, or otherwise be contrary to the public interest. 

    3. Where a contract is to be awarded under a co-operation agreement that is financed, in whole or in part, by an international co-operation organization, only to the extent that the agreement between the entity and the organization includes rules for awarding contracts that differ from the obligations set out. 

    4. Where construction materials are to be purchased and it can be demonstrated the transportation costs or technical considerations impose geographic limits on the available supply base, specifically in the case of sand, stone, gravel, asphalt, compound and pre-mixed concrete for use in the construction or repair of roads. 

    5. Where compliance with the open tendering provisions set out would interfere with the University’s ability to maintain security or order or to protect human, animal or plant life, or health. 

    6. In the absence of a receipt of any bids in response to a call for tenders made. 

    7. To ensure compatibility with existing goods, to recognize exclusive rights, such as exclusive licences, copyright and patent rights, or to maintain specialized goods that must be maintained by the manufacturer or its representative. 

    8. Where there is an absence of competition for technical reasons and the goods or services can be supplied only by a particular supplier and no alternative or substitute exists. 

    9. For the procurement of goods or services the supply of which is controlled by a supplier that is a statutory monopoly. 

    10. For the purchase of goods on a commodity market. 

    11. For work to be performed on or about a leased building or portions thereof that may be performed only by the lessor. 

    12. For work to be performed on property by a contractor according to provisions of a warranty or guarantee held in respect of the property or the original work. 

    13. For a contract to be awarded to the winner of a design contest. 

    14. For the procurement of a prototype of a first good or service to be developed in the course of and for a particular contract for research, experiment, study or original development, but not for any subsequent purchases.

    15. For the purchase of goods under exceptionally advantageous circumstances such as bankruptcy or receivership, but not for routine purchases. 

    16. For the procurement of original works of art.

    17. For the procurement of subscriptions to newspapers, magazines or other periodicals.

    18. For the procurement of real property.

  3. Preferred Vendors

    Preferred vendors are established via a contract or agreement with the University following a competitive procurement process. Agreements for preferred vendors have set terms, conditions and/or pricing over a fixed period of time in order to maximize its ability to achieve the best economic value for its expenditures. A current list of University preferred vendors is available through the Procurement office.

    Where the University has established such contracts or agreements, goods and services should be purchased against these contracts from these preferred vendors.

Related Policies and Procedures

The university must conduct procurement activities according to the laws in Ontario, including contract law, the law of competitive processes, privacy legislation, accessibility legislation and any other legislation as may be applicable. The university may also be subject to various trade agreements, including but not limited to the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and the Ontario–Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Ontario–Quebec Agreement). 

  • Procurement of Goods and Services Policy
  • Academic Staff Employment Policy
  • Conflict of Interest in Research Policy
  • Gift Acceptance Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Radiation Safety Manual
  • Biosafety Manual
  • Policy on the Care and Use of Animals in Research and Teaching
  • Statement of Investment Policy and Procedures
  • Procedures for the Determination of Contractor Status
  • Risk Management Policy
  • Signing Authority Registry and Approval Procedures
  • Supply Chain Code of Ethics
  • Expenses Policy
  • Expenses Procedures         
  • Safe Disclosure Policy
  • Safe Disclosure Procedures
  • Contract Management Policy
  • Legal Review of Contracts Procedures

External procedures and guidelines:

  • Supply Chain Guidelines, Ontario Ministry of Finance


The following is a list of services that are commonly used by universities and that would be deemed to be “Services”, and not “Consulting Services” as defined in the Procurement Directive under the Broader Public Sector Financial Accountability Act (Bill 122).


REVIEWS  (predominantly subject matter experts)

Academic departmental/peer reviews

Faculty/decanal review

Division reviews

Endowed chair reviews

Dean initiated reviews

Reviewers for chair selection processes

Governance reviews

Research/scientific reviews

Research/curriculum development/expertise

Accreditation reviews

Undergraduate and graduate program reviews

Clinical program reviews/clinical trial reviews

Thesis defense and reviews

Independent review of a student’s evaluation

Evaluation specialists or performance measurement specialists


Invited Facilitators for retreats (sometimes working on strategic plans) and workshops

Invited Speakers – for lectures, research seminars, endowed lecture series, continuing educational series programs, continuing professional development series


Training sessions

ITS course trainers



Design and print agencies

Program brochure design/printing/mailing

Annual report / newsletter design services/printing

Technical writers, copy and writing editors or case writers – speech and article writers

Business plan writing

Consultants to write analytical summaries of specific government conferences

Project management

Business development

Web design/maintenance

Graphic services

Videotaping and production for teaching support materials


AV support/recording of continuing education programs

Audio support/equipment rental for convocation and outdoors

Event planning or management services

TSSA – Technical Safety Standards Association

ESA – Electrical Safety Association

BI&I – insurance company, that does inspections

DJ services


Sports game officials

Translation services/transcription services

English language training provided by Applied Language Associates

Onsite ergonomists

Implementation services for proprietary equipment (usually through an RFP)

Security services

 Police officers1

Specialists for disabilities1

Sign language interpreters1



Scheduling system maintenance

Cable installers

Hosting services (servers and web)

Design analysis for ITS hardware/software/facilities

Computer programmers hired to develop surveys/databases

Service on equipment/software where service or warranty no longer applies


Non‐continuing non‐employment remuneration (NCNER) compensation

Retired faculty members paid through NCNERs

Preceptor payments


HR counselling/coaching services

Career advisors offering training, coaching and assistance with applications and career strategies for students

Career transition consultants

Benefit provider ‐employee assistance program (family counselling)

Benefit provider ‐mental health and addiction counselling

Compensation and evaluation providers

health, dental, insurance benefit plan administration services



Recruitment specialists



Investment management services related to pension plans and endowments

Custodial investment services related to pension plans and endowments

Banking services

Procurement and travel card providers

Insurance brokerages

Actuarial services

Contingency based auditors (for tax recovery)

Consulting services related to pension plan and endowments in regards to investment managers and market trends

Audit services related to the pension plan and endowments financial statements

Auditing and accounting agencies



Strategic planning consultant

Management services


Consulting services related to pension plan communication and actuarial reporting

Consulting services related to health, dental, and insurance benefit plans and administrative services


Legal services related to pension plans and labour issues3

Legal fees for consultation3

Legal advice/services related to clinical care3

Architect services3

Engineering services3

Veterinarian services

1.    Ministry of Finance has agreed these items are non‐consulting services

2.   Most of these services can be either consulting or non‐consulting services. The differentiating factor is whether or not the service is "thinking" or strategic versus tactical in nature.  Actual consulting services must be competitively bid regardless of value or signed off by President/Board of Governors.

3.   Exempt under AIT, therefore not required to be competitively bid but will require President or Board of Governors sign‐off.