Relevant acts, regulations and policies
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman
The following acts and regulations govern the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman:
Federal Accountability Act
Through this Act and its related Action Plan, the Government of Canada brought forward specific measures to help strengthen accountability and increase transparency and oversight in government operations.
In particular, the Federal Accountability Act amended the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act to provide for the appointment and mandate of a Procurement Ombudsman.
Department of Public Works and Government Services Act
This Act sets out the mandate of the Procurement Ombudsman:
- Review the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services to assess their fairness, openness and transparency and make any appropriate recommendations to the relevant department for the improvement of those practices
- Review any complaint respecting the compliance with any regulations made under the Financial Administration Act of the award of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department to which the Agreement, as defined in section 2 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, would apply if the value of the contract were not less than the amount referred to in article 502 of that Agreement
- Review any complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department
- Ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is provided, on request of each party to such a contract
- The Procurement Ombudsman shall also perform any other duty or function respecting the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services that may be assigned to the Procurement Ombudsman by order of the Governor in Council or the Minister
Procurement Ombudsman Regulations
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman became operational when the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations came into force in May 2008. The Regulations set out the parameters under which the Procurement Ombudsman is to carry out his mandate.
Federal government procurement
The following acts, regulations and policies govern procurement in the federal government:
Financial Administration Act
This Act provides for the financial administration of the Government of Canada, the establishment and maintenance of the accounts of Canada and the control of Crown corporations. The following commitment in the Act is specifically focused on federal procurement:
"The Government of Canada is committed to taking appropriate measures to promote fairness, openness and transparency in the bidding process for contracts with Her Majesty for the performance of work, the supply of goods or the rendering of services."
The Act also states:
"The Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to the conditions under which contracts may be entered into…"
Government Contracts Regulation
These regulations were created under the authority provided by the Financial Administration Act.
Part I of the Government Contracts Regulations deals with conditions of contract entry. Sections 5 and 7 of the Regulations require that, subject to the exception in section 6, bids must be solicited before any contract is entered into. In particular, a contracting authority shall solicit bids by:
- giving public notice, in a manner consistent with generally accepted trade practices, of a call for bids respecting a proposed contract
- inviting bids on a proposed contract from suppliers on the suppliers' list
The regulations allow, a contracting authority to enter into a contract without soliciting bids where one or more of the exceptions in Section 6 of the Regulations applies. These are generally described as: pressing emergency, the estimated expenditure is under a specific dollar threshold, it is not in the public interest to solicit bids, or only one supplier is capable of performing the contract.
Treasury Board Contracting Policy
The Treasury Board Contracting Policy states the "objective of government procurement contracting is to acquire goods and services and to carry out construction in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness and results in best value or, if appropriate, the optimal balance of overall benefits to the Crown and the Canadian people."
Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements
The Government of Canada has entered into Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements with Indigenous peoples. These agreements have the force of law and are protected in Canada's Constitution.
Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements often contain provisions for economic development that oblige Canada to conduct the purchase of goods, services or construction services in a way that is fair, transparent, and opens the bidding process to Indigenous groups in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement areas.
Public Services and Procurement Canada's Code of Conduct for Procurement
Canada's Code of Conduct for Procurement consolidates the federal government's measures on conflict of interest, anti-corruption as well as other legislative, and policy requirements relating specifically to procurement.
It provides all those involved in the procurement process—public servants and suppliers alike—with a clear statement of mutual expectations to ensure a common understanding among all participants in federal procurement.
Other acts, regulations and policies
In addition to the above, a number of other acts, regulations and policies also apply specifically to contracting for goods and services, and construction services by departments.