The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) provides legislative direction across all provinces and territories of Canada. In addition, there are three regional trade agreements that may impact procurement laws depending on your jurisdiction:
- The Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement (OQTCA) for Ontario and Quebec
- The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia
What are the obligations under these regulations?
Trade agreements (along with government directives and policies) generally require public sector purchasers to conduct open, competitive procurement processes. This requirement arises if the estimated value of the goods or services to be purchased exceeds certain value thresholds.
This means that once the value threshold is exceeded, the purchaser must purchase from a contractor who is successful in a competitive process (e.g. a request for proposals, request for quotation) that is open to the entire marketplace. That competitive process must meet the requirements of applicable trade treaties, which usually involves posting notices, disclosing relevant information, running a fair evaluation process, etc.
How do I comply with the legislation?
We are keenly aware of the trade agreement obligations that apply to our members. In order to ensure compliance for ourselves and our membership, we:
- actively review our policies, practices, and process documents to continually improve them based on feedback. We have also engaged external experts to review our process documents to support trade agreement compliance.
- only run open, competitive procurement processes – we do not engage in invitation-only or non-competitive contract awards (we leave that to our members to decide).
- are transparent about who our members are. Each municipal association involved is able to provide a list of relevant members so that the marketplace is aware of who may purchase through awarded contracts.
- ensure our processes account for distributor networks. A network of regional distributors can collectively bid on opportunities, with member organizations entering into contracts with the applicable distributor for their region. Suppliers are not permitted to charge higher pricing than was proposed to us, and must honour the terms of the agreement.
Canoe is committed to ensuring all programs provide your organization with the best value available. Contact your local Client Relations Manager if you have any other questions or need additional support at any step of the process – we’re here to help!