Vendor or Contractor

What are the benefits of the NWPTA procurement provisions?

The procurement provisions under the NWPTA increase opportunities for suppliers and government entities across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The NWPTA provides a greater amount of access for NWPTA suppliers through lower procurement thresholds for goods, services and construction purchasing and greater coverage of services than other domestic and international trade agreements.

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 is the relationship between the procurement rules of NWPTA and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)?

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are Parties to the NWPTA and CFTA and must meet the obligations of both agreements.

However, the NWPTA has lower procurement thresholds and allows fewer procurement exceptions than the CFTA.

Who is covered by the NWPTA procurement provisions?

All British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba government entities are covered by the NWPTA including:

  • departments, ministries, agencies, boards, councils, committees, and commissions;
  • Crown corporations;
  • government owned commercial enterprises;
  • municipalities;
  • school divisions;
  • publicly-funded academic institutions;
  • health and social service entities; and
  • any corporation or entity owned or controlled by one of the above.

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 is included in the 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.

Example: When a government entity is contracting for a service worth $50,000 per year and the contract is 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, fees and commissions and should cover only that term of the contract for which commitment is initially made.

Contract Splitting

Splitting a procurement into smaller pieces in order to avoid exceeding the threshold amount is a contravention of the NWPTA.

Example:MASH sector entities buying four trucks over the next year, each worth $50,000, should not purchase them one at a time to avoid the NWPTA requirement to have an open and competitive process.

What professional services are covered?

Under the NWPTA, the procurement of all professional services is covered, except treasury services and the services of lawyers and notaries.

What procurement procedures are required under the NWPTA?

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 tender 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.

Is the pre-qualification process covered by the NWPTA?

Yes.

As with a typical tender process, the pre-qualification process must also comply with the NWPTA.

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. Where a pre-qualification list is to be used for multiple procurements, notices for pre-qualification must be posted at least once a year.

If this process is followed, tender documents must be sent to all vendors pre-qualified in that particular area of work.

Is group purchasing allowed under the NWPTA?

Yes as long as group purchasing activities are carried out in a manner that is consistent with the NWPTA.

Exception:

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 a buying group in which the government entity participates are done so without discriminating against suppliers.

How does the NWPTA affect local preference policies?

The NWPTA does not permit preferential treatment of local suppliers.

The operating principle of the NWPTA is to ensure that 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 as equal to their own.

For example, organizations buying goods or services cannot bias technical specifications that either favour or disadvantage specific suppliers from one of the NWPTA provinces over the others.

Nor can a supplier's location 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 should define their required service levels within the tender and contracting process.

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. However, the tender documents should not stipulate that local sources must provide the services or technical support.

Under the NWPTA, do tender notices have to be published in a certain place?

Yes.

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.

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

A bid protest mechanism (BPM) is available for procurements covered by several trade agreements, including the NWPTA. A BPM is an administrative review process which provides suppliers with an independent arbitral process to resolve complaints that a specific procurement by a government entity was not conducted in compliance with the rules of one or more agreements. .

Whom can I contact if I have questions?

British Columbia
Phone: 778-698-8767
Email: nwptabc@gov.bc.ca

Alberta
Phone: 780-644-7430
Email: corporate.purchasing@gov.ab.ca (Manager, Trade Development)

Saskatchewan
Phone: 306-787-6871
Email: gspurchasing@gov.sk.ca

Manitoba
Phone: 204-945-6361
Email: proserv@gov.mb.ca



You have reached the official website of the New West Partnership Trade Agreement.
A partnership among the Governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Copyright 2016 Government of British Columbia / Government of Alberta / Government of Saskatchewan / Government of Manitoba, Canada

The user agrees to the terms and conditions set out in the Copyright and Disclaimer Statement