Vendor or Contractor

What are the benefits of the NWPTA procurement provisions?

The procurement provisions under this Agreement will increase opportunities for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba companies by lowering thresholds for goods, services and construction purchasing. In addition, the NWPTA covers a number of services currently excluded from the Agreement on Internal Trade. It will help reduce costs to government by increasing competition.

Do the NWPTA procurement rules replace those of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)?

No, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba remain Parties to the AIT and must ensure that the obligations under both Agreements are met.

The NWPTA builds upon the goals of the CFTA and further breaks down trade barriers between the four signatory provinces, i.e. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. For procurement, this objective is met by:

  • Lowering procurement thresholds;
  • Containing fewer procurement exceptions;
  • Covering a wider range of professional services; and
  • Establishing a dispute process that is effective and enforceable.

Who is covered by the NWPTA procurement provisions?

All British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan:

  • government entities, including departments, ministries, agencies, boards, councils, committees and commissions,
  • Crown corporations, government owned commercial enterprises and other entities that are owned or controlled by a NWPTA provincial government, and
  • municipalities, school divisions, publicly-funded academic, health and social service entities as well as any corporation or entity owned or controlled by one of the preceding.

All Manitoba

  • government entities, including departments, ministries, agencies, boards, councils, committees, commissions and Crown corporations
  • January 1, 2019 -- Government owned commercial enterprises and other enterprises that are owned or controlled by the provincial government through ownership interests, and municipalities, school divisions, publicly-funded academic, health and social service entities as well as any corporation or entity owned or controlled by one of the preceding

What does the NWPTA apply to?

Measures adopted and maintained by each Party and its entities must be in compliance with the NWPTA. Measures include any legislation, regulation, directive, requirement, or guideline, program, policy, administrative practice or procurement procedure. Entities should ensure that staff involved in the purchase of goods and contracting for services and construction are aware of and understand the rules of the NWPTA. Each Party is responsible for NWPTA compliance by its entities.

What should be considered when calculating procurement value?

The NWPTA defines procurement value as the estimated total financial cost resulting from a procurement, not taking into account optional renewals when the compulsory part of the contract is at least one year in duration. For example, if you were contracting for a service worth $50,000 per year and the contract was for three years, with the option to renew for two years, the procurement value of that contract would be $150,000. The value should include all premiums, GST or HST where applicable, fees and commissions and should cover only that term of the contract for which commitment is initially made.

Splitting a procurement into smaller pieces with the intent to circumvent the NWPTA is considered a discriminatory practice, as is the case under the CFTA. For example, if you as a MASH sector entity know you need four trucks over the next year, each worth $50,000, you should not purchase them one at a time specifically for the purpose of avoiding an open and competitive process.

What does procurement cover?

Procurement refers to the purchase, rental, lease, or conditional sale of goods, services or construction. It does not include government assistance such as grants, loans, equity infusion, guarantees or fiscal incentives, or government provision of goods and services to persons or other government organizations.

What professional services are covered?

Under the NWPTA, the procurement of almost all professional services is covered. This includes the services of professions excluded under CFTA, such as land surveyors, veterinarians, architects and engineers, as well as advertising and public relations services. Treasury services and the services of lawyers and notaries are not covered under either the NWPTA or CFTA.

What are the NWPTA-compliant procurement procedures?

The procurement provisions of the NWPTA are based on the idea that competition is the norm. The NWPTA specifies that when a procurement is at or above the threshold, an open, transparent and competitive procurement process must be followed. This requires that solicitation documents clearly state the requirement of the procurement, identify measurable criteria that will be used in the evaluation of bids (including the weighting of each criteria), and provide relevant information to assist suppliers in completing and submitting their bids. Where an existing contract arrangement is in place for the provision of goods, services or construction, no extension, price change or subsequent purchase may take place unless the intention to do so was clearly stated within the original solicitation (bidding) document. When strategic partnership/alliance arrangements are contemplated and there is a procurement component at or above the thresholds then this arrangement is also subject to the NWPTA procurement rules.

Is the pre-qualification process compliant under the NWPTA?

Yes. As with a request for proposal (RFP) process, the pre-qualification process must be open and transparent, starting with posting a defined set of criteria required for pre-qualification in a particular area of work. Notices for pre-qualification must be posted at least once a year. If this process is followed, RFPs must be sent to all contractors pre-qualified in that particular area of work.

Is group purchasing permissible under the NWPTA?

Yes, so long as group purchasing activities are carried out in a manner that is consistent with the NWPTA (e.g. using an open and transparent process).

The NWPTA does not apply to situations where a government entity does not control the activities of a buying group.  However, government entities will need to ensure that any purchases undertaken by that buying group in which the government entity participates are done so without discriminating against suppliers.

How does the NWPTA affect preferential purchasing policies?

The operating principle of the NWPTA is to ensure that Canadian suppliers are not discriminated against based on their geographic location. This means that entities must consider persons, goods and services from the other NWPTA provinces equal to their own.

The NWPTA does not permit preferential treatment of specific suppliers. For example, organizations buying goods or services cannot bias technical specifications that either favour or disadvantage specific suppliers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba.

A supplier's location cannot be used to limit their ability to compete on a contract, or hinder the success of their bid if the defined service levels can be met. Where service is an important factor, entities can define their required service levels within the RFP and contracting process. For example, an entity could require that a person must be onsite during the construction process, that parts must be available to the entity within 24 hours at the contractor's expense, or that a service/repair agent must be available on location within 48 hours at the contractor's expense.

Do tender notices have to be published in a certain place?

In British Columbia, notices are available through BCBid at

In Alberta, all of Alberta's public sector procurement notices for contracts over the NWPTA thresholds must be posted on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC), at To obtain access to the APC, go to the website and complete the new user registration form accessible through the login page.

In Saskatchewan, notices are available through SaskTenders at

In Manitoba, notices are available at

What are the exceptions to the NWPTA?

While the NWPTA applies to most purchasing, there are certain exclusions, including but not limited to:

  • Procurement of health and social services, and services provided by lawyers and notaries
  • Purchases from philanthropic institutions, prison labour or persons with disabilities
  • Purchases from a public body or non-profit organization
  • Goods purchased for representational or promotional purposes
  • Goods, services or construction required to respond to an unforeseeable situation of urgency
  • Goods intended for resale to the public

For the detailed list, refer to Part V (Exceptions) of the NWPTA.

How does the NWPTA affect long-standing contracts?

Entities may continue with long-standing contracts that they entered into before the effective date of the NWPTA, even if that contract is inconsistent with the NWPTA, for the duration set out in the original contract. These can only be renewed after that date if the original request for proposal (RFP) and contract contained an option to renew.

What happens if an objection is raised against an entity's procurement practice under the NWPTA?

A bid protest mechanism allows suppliers in the NWPTA provinces to challenge a specific procurement conducted by a public entity in any of these jurisdictions where the supplier believes the procurement was not conducted in compliance with the procurement obligations of the NWPTA. For more detailed information, click here.

Whom can I contact if I have questions?

British Columbia
Phone: 250-952-0635

Phone: 780-644-7430
Email: (Manager, Trade Development)

Phone: 306-787-6871

Phone: 204-945-6361

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