Frequently asked questions

What is Procurement?

Procurement is the process of obtaining goods, services and construction services from suppliers. The procurement process involves four phases:

  • The pre-contractual phase, which includes activities related to requirement definition and procurement planning
  • The contracting phase, which includes all activities from bid solicitation to contract award
  • The contract administration phase, which includes activities such as issuing contract amendments, monitoring progress, following up on delivery, payment action
  • The post-contractual phase, which includes final actions on the file (such as client satisfaction, contractor agreement to final claim, final contract amendment, completion of financial audits, proof of delivery, return of performance bonds) and close-out (such as completeness and accuracy of file documentation and adherence to file documentation standards)

What is an Ombud?

Typically, an Ombud is an independent, objective investigator of people's complaints against government and/or private sector organizations. After a fair and thorough review, an Ombud decides if the complaint is valid and makes recommendations in order to resolve the problem.

The two most common kinds of Ombuds in Canada are:

  • Legislative (or Classical) Ombud who is established by statute and can report findings and recommendations to ministers of the Crown, to the provincial legislature or to Parliament
  • Executive Ombud who reports to the head of the organization whom they investigate, such as government departments or Crown corporations, universities/colleges or businesses

The Procurement Ombud is a legislative ombud given his mandate is provided for in the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act.

What is the Procurement Ombud's mandate?

As set out in the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, the mandate of the Procurement Ombud is to:

  • Review the practices of federal 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 award of a contract for the acquisition of goods below the value of $33,400 and services below the value of $133,800 where the criteria the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) would apply
  • Review any complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department, regardless of dollar value
  • Ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is provided, if both parties to the contract agree to participate

The Procurement Ombud must also perform any other duty or function respecting the practices of departments for acquiring goods and services that may be assigned to the Procurement Ombud by order of the Governor in Council or the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Which government departments are subject to the Procurement Ombud's mandate?

The Procurement Ombud's mandate applies to all federal entities listed in sections I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act. However, the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations state that both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the staff of the Senate and House of Commons are excluded from the Procurement Ombud's mandate.

Who is the Procurement Ombud?

Alexander Jeglic was first appointed Procurement Ombud on April 3, 2018 and was re-appointed for a second term in 2023.

To whom does the Procurement Ombud report?

The Procurement Ombud reports to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement. The Procurement submits an annual report to the Minister who is required to table it in Parliament. The Minister does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of the Office or in the content of the Office's reports.

Is the Office of the Procurement Ombud part of Public Services and Procurement Canada?

The Office of the Procurement Ombud is part of the portfolio of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and operates at arm's length from Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). As the Procurement Ombud has a mandate legislated by Parliament, measures have been put in place to safeguard his independence. The Office reviews the practices of departments, including PSPC, and publicly reports on the results.

How will the Procurement Ombud help to improve the procurement process?

The Office of the Procurement Ombud works with suppliers and federal departments to clarify and address procurement issues.

The Office helps preserve the integrity of the federal procurement process by reviewing complaints from suppliers about the award or administration of a contract and making balanced recommendations.

Office of the Procurement Ombud (OPO) also helps facilitate the resolution of contract disputes through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). For disputes about terms and conditions of a contract, the Office can provide an ADR service if both parties to the contract (supplier and federal department) agree to participate. The goal is to get people talking, arrive at solutions, preserve business relationships and avoid costly litigation.

For recurring or systemic procurement issues, the Office may undertake a review of procurement practices in one or across a number of federal departments. Reviews provide the Procurement Ombud with the opportunity to make recommendations to help strengthen fairness, openness and transparency in federal procurement practices.

The Office also shares information on effective practices identified in the federal government and other jurisdictions to highlight leadership and reinforce positive initiatives in the field of procurement.

How does the Procurement Ombud report on the results of his work?

When dealing with complaints about contract award or contract administration, the Procurement Ombud will provide each party to the dispute with a report containing his findings. The full report is then posted on our website.

For all reviews of the procurement practices of federal organizations, the final report is posted on our website where it is accessible by departments and agencies, procurement officials, suppliers and the general public. The Procurement Ombud also provides the final review report to the Deputy Heads of the federal organizations subject to the review.

Finally, the Procurement Ombud produces an annual report in which he reports on all activities carried out by his office throughout the year. The Minister of Public Services and Procurement tables this report in Parliament.

What can a federal organization expect from the Office of the Procurement Ombud regarding a procurement practice review?

Procurement practice reviews are independent and objective examinations of federal procurement practices to assess their fairness, openness and transparency.  Among other things, OPO considers the consistency of the practices with applicable laws, policies, guidelines and standards in the course of its assessment. Practice reviews may cover one or multiple federal organizations. Please refer to OPO’s What to Expect: Procurement Practice Review Guide for more information on what a federal official can expect from OPO’s procurement practice review process.

What is the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and how does it affect the work of the Procurement Ombud?

The CFTA is an intergovernmental trade agreement that entered into force on July 1, 2017. Its objective is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investments within Canada and to establish an open efficient, and stable domestic market.

The CFTA affects the provisions of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act that relate to the Procurement Ombudsman’s mandate and Regulations.