Reviewing supplier complaints

Given the volume and complexity of contracts awarded by the federal government, it is inevitable that issues and disputes occasionally arise.  The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) can help suppliers (for example Canadian businesses) and federal organizations resolve these disputes.

Suppliers often feel they should have been awarded a particular contract, or that their proposal was wrongly rejected, or that their existing contract was not administered properly.

When this happens, suppliers can submit a complaint to OPO about the:

  • award of a contract valued below $25,300 for goods and $101,100 for services, or
  • administration of a federal contract, regardless of dollar value

If the complaint meets the criteria set forth in the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations , OPO will launch an investigation (review) of the complaint. When a review is launched, OPO will contact the impacted federal organization to request documentation and comments.

How the complaints process works

This flow chart image outlines Office of the Procurement Ombudsman’s review of complaints process, Text description below.
Image description

This flow chart image outlines OPO’s review of complaints process.

  • Step 1 is a written complaint is received
  • Step 2 is OPO assesses the written complaint and determines whether a review must be launched within 10 working days
  • Step 3 is the Ombudsman notifies the supplier and the federal organization of the determination
  • Step 4 is if a review is to be launched, OPO receives documentation from the supplier and the federal organization and completes the review within 120 working days
  • Step 5 is that OPO submits the review of the complaint report, including findings, to the supplier, the Minister of the federal organization and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Important information you should know

Publication of Review of Complaint reports

OPO’s Review of Complaint reports will be published in their entirety on OPO’s website for all complaints received after September 1, 2018. The name of the Complainant will not be published, however the name of the federal organization will be identified in the report.

Once a complaint has been filed, OPO has 10 working days to advise the complainant and the federal organization whether a review will be launched.  Regardless of whether or not a review is launched, OPO is required to provide the complaint documentation to the federal organization.

OPO reviews are based upon documents submitted by the complainant and the federal organization, and do not include interviews or witness statements. Any findings and recommendations made by the Ombudsman are based upon information submitted to OPO, as well as publicly available information.

Once the review is complete, a final report is provided to the complainant, the Minister of the federal organization, and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. The report will then be posted on OPO’s website and will be referenced in the Procurement Ombudsman’s annual report.

For more information, please visit our Frequently asked questions on how to make a complaint and OPO's Investigation summaries.

If you have a federal contract-related issue and are unsure whether you want to file a complaint, please contact OPO by calling our toll-free number: 1-866-734-5169 or via opo-boa@opo-boa.gc.ca.

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