Procurement practice review of Natural Resources Canada
- I. Background
- II. Objective and scope
- III. Results
- Lines of enquiry 1: To determine whether evaluation criteria and selection plans were established in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies
- Mandatory criteria
- Point-rated criteria
- Selection methodology
- Lines of enquiry 2: To determine whether solicitation documents and organizational practices during the bid solicitation period were consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies
- Solicitation documents
- Communication with suppliers
- Lines of enquiry 3: To determine whether the evaluation of bids and contract award were conducted in accordance with the solicitation
- Lines of enquiry 1: To determine whether evaluation criteria and selection plans were established in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies
- IV. Simplification
- V. Other observations
- Perception of contract splitting
- In one case, internal procedures were not followed with respect to a requirement subject to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
- Estimated procurement value not established before soliciting bids and contract value exceeded the Temporary Help Services Supply Arrangement limit
- VI. Conclusion
- VII. Organizational response
- VIII. Acknowledgment
- Annex I: Organizational response and action plan
1. The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) conducted a review of procurement practices at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
2. In accordance with paragraph 22.1(3)(a) of the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, the Procurement Ombudsman has the authority to review the procurement practices of departments to assess their fairness, openness and transparency.
3. OPO’s procurement practice reviews are based on issues and complaints brought to OPO’s attention by stakeholders, both in general and in regard to specific solicitations by various federal organizations. Based on this information, OPO has identified the 3 highest-risk procurement elements as: (1) the establishment of evaluation criteria and selection plans; (2) the bid solicitation process; and (3) the evaluation of bids and contract award. For the purposes of this review, these elements are defined as follows:
- Evaluation criteria and selection plans—the development of mandatory and point-rated evaluation criteria, and the identification of the selection method to determine the successful bid
- Solicitation—the design and execution of the solicitation process, including the clarity and completeness of solicitation documents
- Evaluation of bids and contract award—the establishment of a process to ensure the consistent evaluation of bids in accordance with the planned approach, including an evaluation plan and instructions to evaluators, and the adequacy of documentation to support the selection of the successful bidder
4. NRCan was selected for review as one of the top 20 federal departments/agencies in terms of the value and volume of its annual procurement activity. OPO is conducting similar reviews of the other top 20 departments/agencies over a five-year period ending in 2022-2023.
5. NRCan is responsible for ensuring that Canada’s natural resources are developed sustainably, competitively and inclusively. To support this role, NRCan develops various policies and programs and is a leader in the fields of: energy sources and distribution; forests and forestry; minerals and mining; earth sciences; energy efficiency; and science and data. NRCan also represents Canada at the international level as the country strives to meet global commitments related to the sustainable development of natural resources.
6. In support of these activities, NRCan’s Procurement Services Unit (PSU) under the Finance and Procurement Services Branch provides centralized procurement services for the department. The PSU consists of approximately 37 staff located in Ottawa and in regional offices across Canada. Three program areas also have delegated contracting authority for certain goods and services up to $50,000 without requiring the services of the PSU. These three program areas are the Polar Continental Shelf Program, the Surveyor General Branch, and the Public Affairs and Portfolio Management Sector.
7. According to information provided by NRCan, it awarded 885 competitive contracts worth $106.3M during OPO’s review period of January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019.
II. Objective and scope
8. This review was undertaken to determine whether NRCan’s procurement practices pertaining to evaluation criteria and selection plans, solicitation documents, and evaluation of bids and contract award, supported the principles of fairness, openness and transparency. To make this determination OPO examined whether NRCan’s procurement practices were consistent with Canada’s obligations under sections of applicable national and international trade agreements, the Financial Administration Act and regulations made under it, the Treasury Board Contracting Policy (TBCP), and, when present, departmental guidelines.
9. The following 3 lines of enquiry (LOE) were used to assess the highest-risk procurement elements identified in paragraph 3 above:
- LOE 1: Evaluation criteria and selection plans were established in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies
- LOE 2: Solicitation documents and organizational practices during the bid solicitation period were consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies
- LOE 3: Evaluation of bids and contract award were conducted in accordance with the solicitation
10. This report also includes a section on other observations identified by OPO through the analysis of the above LOEs.
11. OPO’s review consisted of an assessment of procurement files for contracts awarded by NRCan between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019. This review did not include construction contracts, non-competitive contracts, acquisition card activity, contracts awarded through Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) or Shared Services Canada (SSC) standing offers or procurement activity for which NRCan was not the contracting authority.
12. Based on contracting data provided by NRCan, OPO selected 40 competitive procurement files for assessment from a population of 352 contracts, after excluding the above mentioned categories. The judgmental sample was developed with consideration to factors including materiality and risk. The risk of selection bias was minimized through random selection of individual files meeting these pre-established factors.
13. The 40 files selected for review included 27 requests for proposals (RFPs), 8 RFPs using NRCan supply arrangements (SA), and 5 RFPs using PSPC SAs.
14. NRCan’s procurement practices pertaining to evaluation criteria and selection plans, solicitation documents, and evaluation of bids and contract award were assessed against the 3 LOEs noted above. OPO made 8 recommendations to address the issues identified in the review, which are summarized in Annex I of this report. The recommendations are based on the analysis of information and documentation provided to OPO by NRCan during the course of the review.
15. Note that the review resulted in instances where multiple observations were made regarding a single file. As such, the number of applicable files may not always correspond to the number of files noted in examples provided throughout this report.
LOE 1: To determine whether evaluation criteria and selection plans were established in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies
16. Section 10.7.27 of the TBCP states that “Competing firms should be told the measurement criteria and the weighting assigned to them. …The courts have ruled that the factors and their weighting must be established beforehand and adhered to strictly. …Fairness to all prospective contractors and transparency in the award process are imperative”. Using clear and precise language to define the evaluation criteria and selection methodology helps bidders prepare a responsive bid and evaluators to apply the same criteria equally to all bidders.
17. This LOE applied to 36 files where evaluation criteria were developed and included in solicitation documentation. Of these, 23 contained both mandatory and point-rated evaluation criteria, 9 contained only mandatory criteria, and 4 contained only point-rated criteria. All files were examined to determine if the evaluation criteria and selection methodologies: were aligned with the requirement; were not overly restrictive; and were clearly communicated in the solicitation. The method of allocating points to weighted criteria was also assessed to determine whether instructions were clearly communicated and reflected the relative importance of the criteria.
Mandatory criteria were aligned with requirements and were not overly restrictive; however, a majority of files did not define mandatory criteria in a clear, precise and measurable manner
18. In all 32 applicable files reviewed, mandatory criteria were aligned with requirements and were not overly restrictive. However, in 17 of 32 files, mandatory criteria were not communicated in a clear, precise or measurable manner. Such evaluation criteria can undermine the transparency of the bid solicitation process and can cause bidders to submit non compliant or sub-optimal bids because the requirements are not well understood. Examples of unclear mandatory criteria included the following:
- In 9 files, vague or undefined terms were used. For example, in a solicitation for audio visual services, mandatory criteria referred to “meeting ISO criteria” without specifying which ISO criteria had to be met. This solicitation also didn’t clearly define experience where the bidder was required to have “extensive experience (a minimum of five (5) years) with delivery of audio-visual services to conferences of up to 1,800 people”. As this doesn’t refer to a number of conferences per year (for example), it’s not clear what qualifies as “extensive experience”. As another example, in a solicitation for the services of a project administrator, a mandatory criterion required the proposed resource to “have four (4) months professional work experience with the Government of Canada procurement process.” This is vague as it is unclear what type of experience is actually being sought in relation to the Government of Canada procurement process.
- In 7 files, mandatory criteria included non-mandatory language when describing the requirement (for example, “should”), making it unclear whether the criteria would be met if the requested information was not provided or if the requirement was not met. For example, in a solicitation for the services of an international energy-related event planner, a mandatory criterion requiring project examples specified that a minimum of 2 project examples “should be an international energy-related event.” Using non-mandatory language results in less certainty for suppliers and evaluators to determine what aspects of the requirement must be met to be considered fully compliant.
- In 5 files, mandatory criteria were not clearly written. For example, in a solicitation for environmental scanning of combustion technology services, a mandatory criterion referred to both “within the last 5 years prior to bid closing” and “within the last eight years prior to bid closing” with respect to an experience requirement. In another solicitation for temporary help services, a mandatory criterion required “experience on eight (8) projects in the past 5 years, as a Special Advisor providing guidance and recommendations” in 4 different areas: “Operational transformation and efficiency”, “Project Portfolio Management”, “Organizational and project data and reporting”, and “Business process and software integration”. It’s not clear whether all 8 projects must demonstrate experience in the 4 areas or if all 4 areas could be represented throughout the 8 projects.
NRCan should establish a quality control process to ensure mandatory criteria are adequately defined and communicated in a clear, precise and measurable manner.
For the most part, point-rated criteria were not overly restrictive, were aligned with the requirement and reflected the relative importance of the criteria; however, point-rated criteria and scoring grids could be improved to increase clarity and minimize subjectivity
19. Section 10.7.25 of the TBCP states that “criteria should identify accurately all the performance elements significant to the success of the project and should measure both the competence of the firm and the worth of its particular technical approach.”
20. Of the 27 files that contained point-rated criteria, 18 were not overly restrictive, were aligned with the requirement and reflected the relative importance of the criteria. However, in 9 files, the criteria or scoring grid could be communicated in a more clear and precise manner to minimize subjectivity. Further, 2 files contained point-rated criteria that did not appear aligned with requirements.
21. Examples of point-rated criteria or scoring grids containing incomplete or unclear information included the following:
- In 5 files, scoring grids contained errors. This included mathematical errors in the calculation of total points available, overlapping points, or gaps in available points. For example, in a file for temporary help services, there were 6 point-rated criteria each worth 30 points, for a total of 180 points. However, the point-rated criteria table incorrectly noted a total of 210 points available and incorrectly stated the minimum number of points required to be considered compliant.
- In 3 files, solicitations provided no scoring breakdown for certain point-rated criteria. For example, in a rated criterion worth 20 points assessing the bidder’s approach for a solicitation for audit services, the points breakdown in the evaluation table stated “See table below” but a table was not provided. Other point-rated criteria in the same solicitation provided point allocations (10 points per project, for example) but provided no details of how points would be awarded within the point allocation envelopes stated.
- In 6 files, point-rated criteria or scoring grids were not clearly written. For example, in a file for aquatic plant and fish testing services, a point-rated criterion awarded points based on experience in 3 areas of research, yet the amount of experience (in duration or number of projects) was not defined. In another solicitation for janitorial services, a mandatory criterion required the names of the day and evening shift supervisors but also stated that bidders could propose the same resource for both the day and evening shifts. However, a point-rated criterion awarded up to 24 points for providing resumes of experienced staff (up to 8 points each for the management representative, day shift supervisor, and evening shift supervisor), making it unclear whether a bidder would lose points for proposing the same supervisor for both shifts or if the same resource would be evaluated twice. Other examples included using overly subjective wording in criteria or scoring grids. In a file for financial management services, for example, point-rated criteria awarded a maximum of 5 points if a bidder’s workplan was “workable and appropriate” and awarded a maximum of 20 points if a bidder’s approach was “realistic and achievable” in the assignment of resources to achieve deliverables. Not defining such terms unnecessarily increases the subjectivity of evaluations.
22. The 2 files containing point-rated criteria that were not aligned with requirements were the following:
- In a file for research and analysis services of Canada’s residential building ecosystem and industry competitiveness, a point-rated criterion assessed "expertise in undertaking supply chain mapping and analysis of the commercial and institutional buildings ecosystem." This was a component that was removed from the Statement of Work (SOW) through the questions and answers with suppliers during the solicitation period but evaluation criteria were not updated to reflect this change.
- In another file for the services of an online engagement contractor, a point-rated criterion awarded points based on a listing of online engagement platform features “scored as two (2) points for each mandatory requirement and one (1) point for each asset feature that is available in the bidder’s engagement platform". A total of 70 points were available between 4 point-rated criteria with a required minimum of 50 points to be considered responsive. While 24 of the 29 features listed were identified as mandatory and accounted for 48 of the 70 possible points, a bidder could obtain the minimum of 50 points without meeting all 24 “mandatory” features. As such, a bidder that cannot meet all mandatory requirements could be recommended for contract award.
Bidders were consistently advised of the manner in which the contract would be awarded
23. In 37 of the 40 files reviewed, the selection methodology used was aligned with the requirements as described in the solicitation document. For the most part, NRCan used common selection methodologies such as lowest priced responsive bid, highest responsive combined rating of technical merit and price, and highest rated responsive bid within a stipulated maximum budget.
24. In 3 files, however, the selection methodology was not clear or was not provided in the solicitation document. These were the following:
- In a file for Spatial Data Infrastructure needs assessment services, a selection methodology of highest combined rating of technical merit (70%) and price (30%) was stated. However, the solicitation also stated that up to 5 contracts could be awarded under this process (1 for the master report and 4 for the studies in Indigenous communities) based on the knowledge and experience of the bidders but provided no further details as to how evaluation and selection would be made for the 5 contracts. Since the financial proposal form requests a total firm price by milestone for the entire project (not by master report and studies), it’s not clear how this selection methodology would be applied if not all bidders were submitting technical and financial bids for the same requirement. In this case there were 3 bidders, 2 of which bid on the entire requirement. The third bidder that only bid on a portion of the requirement was evaluated in the same manner as the others and was included in the financial evaluation alongside the other 2 bids but did not rank first. Had this bidder ranked first, it's not clear how the selection would have been made and multiple contracts awarded.
- In a file for environmental scanning of combustion technology services, a selection methodology of highest combined technical rating (70%) and Price (30%) was stated. The Basis of Selection stated that the technical merit score would be determined by the following formula: “total number of points obtained / maximum number of points available multiplied by the ratio of 70%.” However, the example in the Basis of Selection illustrating the selection method used the following formula: “total number of points obtained / highest technical score multiplied by 70%”. This led to the incorrect formula (the one from the example) being used in the determination of the technical merit score in the evaluation. In this case, the same bidder obtained the highest overall score using the correct formula but this may not always be the case.
- In another file for land survey services, the solicitation did not identify a selection methodology. NRCan clarified to OPO during the review that the responsible group (one of NRCan’s program areas with delegated contracting authority) selects the lowest price as long as the scope of work is met. To be clear to bidders, this information should be provided in the solicitation (for example selection on the basis of the lowest priced responsive proposal).
25. NRCan internal procurement guidance appears limited with respect to the development of evaluation criteria and selection plans. NRCan’s Contracting Desktop Procedures provide little information with respect to the development of these aspects of a solicitation document. Rather, the procedures instead state that contracting authorities “are responsible to consult Treasury Board Policy, or other Policies such as Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Supply Manual or NRCan policy as appropriate.” The observations raised in this LOE appear to be caused in part by the lack of clear and consistent guidance with respect to the development of evaluation criteria and selection plans.
NRCan should update its internal guidance to provide information with respect to the development of evaluation criteria and selections plans and ensure that evaluation criteria, scoring grids and selection methodologies are communicated in solicitations in a clear, precise, and measurable manner.
LOE 2: To determine whether solicitation documents and organizational practices during the bid solicitation period were consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies
26. The TBCP sets out detailed procedures to ensure that government contracting is carried out in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness and results in best value. Section 10.7 of the TBCP includes the minimum requirements to be included in the solicitation document as well as mandatory elements related to the design and execution of the process.
27. Solicitation documents must contain work descriptions or specifications defined in terms of clear outputs or performance requirements. Solicitation documents must also contain the objectives to be attained and time-frame for delivery, in the case of service contracts, and the assessment and award criteria. Per NRCan’s RFP template, solicitations should include, but aren’t limited to, clear and complete bidder instructions, evaluation procedures and basis of selection, appropriate certifications, and a complete SOW. Clarity of provided information is key in supporting the Government of Canada’s obligations laid out in the TBCP.
28. This LOE applied to all 40 files reviewed. For these files, solicitation documents (excluding evaluation criteria and selection plans that were assessed under LOE 1) were assessed to determine whether they, among other things, contained a clear description of the requirement and instructions necessary to prepare a compliant bid. The assessment of organizational practices included factors such as whether the solicitation was open to the appropriate number of bidders and for the required duration, and whether communications with suppliers supported the preparation of responsive bids.
Solicitation documentation was mostly complete; however, several opportunities for improvement were noted regarding the description of requirements and instructions to bidders
29. In 32 of 40 files reviewed, solicitation documents included clear and complete information and instructions to permit the submission of compliant bids. In 8 files, however, the solicitation did not contain a clear description of requirements or contained inappropriate or incomplete instructions to bidders.
30. Examples of solicitations that did not contain a clear description of requirements included the following:
- In a file for janitorial services, based on email communications on file, the requirement was for 2 resources only but this was not stated anywhere in the solicitation. As a result of this missing information, a bidder submitted a bid on the basis of providing 3 resources to meet the requirement and subsequently withdrew its bid. According to the file, NRCan only communicated the requirement of 2 resources to the bidders after bid closing when clarifications were sought during the financial evaluation.
- In a file for audio visual services, the SOW included selection criteria not found in the evaluation criteria. It stated that “[s]electing the appropriate A/V partner for this event will be based on the following criteria (not listed in any particular order)" and went on to include a variety of elements. For example, the following were listed but not found in evaluation criteria: “Company experience, status as government supplier, and proven experience working with top level government officials”; “Information about company policies and practices around sustainability, efficiency, and waste minimization”; and “Novelty of interesting, cutting edge technologies”. Adding such wording in the SOW makes it unclear for both bidders and evaluators to understand how bids will be evaluated and how the successful supplier will be selected.
- In a file for services using the Professional Audit Support Services (PASS) SA, the SOW did not fully align with the minimum mandatory qualifications required by the PASS SA. The SOW provided minimum mandatory qualifications and experience for the resource categories under both applicable streams but did not include “at least two (2) cumulative years of experience in leading projects relevant to the Stream” for the Project Manager/Leader resource category, as required by this method of supply. Under this method of supply, user departments can increase but cannot reduce the minimum requirements at the bid solicitation stage.
31. Examples of solicitations that contained inappropriate instructions to bidders included the following:
- In a file for land survey services, the name and contact information of the project authority was included in the solicitation document. In order to ensure the integrity of the process, suppliers should be invited to contact the contracting authority only and communications should be in writing. In another file, also for land survey services, suppliers were invited to contact the project authority by phone if they have questions regarding the process and to email either the project authority or contracting authority for any technical questions.
- In a file for economic analysis and strategic research services, the solicitation requested suppliers submit any questions no later than 10 calendar days before the closing date but the solicitation period was less than 10 days, effectively not allowing for questions. It is noted that this was a re-tendered process so it appears the solicitation document was not properly updated before re-tendering.
Solicitations contained inappropriate wording with respect to a certification required before contract award
32. In 27 of 40 files reviewed, the solicitation required an “Aboriginal Designation” certification precedent to contract award stating that the “bidder must certify in its submitted bid that it is an Aboriginal business or a joint venture [emphasis added]…” NRCan clarified to OPO during the review that the use of the “Aboriginal Designation” certification is to enable reporting on the number of Indigenous businesses receiving contracts from NRCan (i.e. suppliers were not required to be Indigenous businesses). This explanation does not align with the wording used, which required bidders to certify that they are Indigenous businesses.
33. In 17 of the 27 files, the certification also included erroneous references to clauses from the Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions Manual to be used when the procurement is set-aside under the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business (PSIB)footnote 1 , which was not the case for these procurements. The wording used in the solicitations required a PSIB-related certification that bidders had to complete and include in their bids, stating: “Failure by suppliers to submit this completed certification form with their bids/offers/arrangements will render the bid/offer/arrangement non-responsive.” This means that contracts awarded to non-Indigenous businesses when the erroneous references were included in solicitations were not awarded in accordance with rules stipulated. NRCan clarified to OPO during the review that both the referenced clauses and the wording to deem proposals non-responsive should not have been included in the solicitations.
34. In the case of solicitations open to the public (11 of 27 files), interested and otherwise qualified suppliers may have decided not to bid believing the processes were only open to Indigenous businesses. OPO noted that NRCan’s RFP template (dated August 2020—after the scope period of this review) no longer includes the erroneous PSIB-related clauses. However, the wording in the template still includes inappropriate wording requiring bidders to certify in bids that they are Indigenous businesses.
NRCan should correct the wording used in its RFP template(s) so that the purpose of the Indigenous designation certification is clear to all potential bidders.
Communication with suppliers
Most communications with suppliers were appropriate and supported the preparation of responsive bids, however, some communication records were found to be incomplete
35. Section 2 of the TBCP states: “Government contracting shall be conducted in a manner that will: (a) stand the test of public scrutiny in matters of prudence and probity, facilitate access, encourage competition, and reflect fairness in the spending of public funds.” Section 12.3.1 of the TBCP also states: “Procurement files shall be established and structured to facilitate management oversight with a complete audit trail that contains contracting details related to relevant communications and decisions…”
36. These requirements apply to all aspects of the procurement process, including interactions with suppliers. For procurements subject to the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization—Agreement on Government Procurement, section 12.3.2 of the TBCP requires contracting authorities ensure all communications with bidders are supported by complete documentation and records to demonstrate that the procurement process was carried out in accordance with the agreements. Any significant information given by a contracting authority to a supplier with respect to a particular procurement must also be given simultaneously to all other interested suppliers.
37. Of the 40 files reviewed, 23 contained communications (i.e. questions and answers) with suppliers during the solicitation period. In 18 files, communications were appropriate and supported the preparation of responsive bids. In 5 files, however, communications did not support the preparation of responsive bids. Examples included the following:
- In a file for Spatial Data Infrastructure needs assessment services, a question from a supplier asked if NRCan could clarify the scope of work for Phase 2 and/or clarify how bidders should respond with a budget for a scope of work that had not been defined. NRCan responded that this would be refined in Phase 1 and that “the bidder should provide options for different communication and engagement scenarios.” This did not answer the question clearly as it was not apparent if bidders now needed to provide pricing for different communication and engagement scenarios or how this would be evaluated. Another supplier question asked if the financial bid (i.e. Basis of Payment) needed to follow the structure in Annex B of the solicitation or whether it could follow the structure that was to be provided during Milestone 1 of the work. NRCan responded that the Basis of Payment “should follow the Milestones and Deliverables Table provided by the bidder during the implementation of SW8.1 and approved by the Project Authority.” This response effectively allowed bidders to modify the Basis of Payment, contradicting the bid preparation instructions of the solicitation. The response also referenced an action occurring during the performance of work after contract award (“during the implementation of SW8.1 and approved by the Project Authority”), which was inappropriate as it was impossible for a bidder to submit a Basis of Payment that had been approved by the project authority. Responses to questions and their impact on instructions and requirements should be clear to permit suppliers to understand and consider the information provided when preparing bids.
- In a file for the services of an international energy-related event planner, a response to a question from a bidders' conference clarified that “[e]xperience in delivering a large, high profile 'mining' event would be acceptable” in lieu of experience delivering on an 'energy' event. This potentially impacted 2 evaluation criteria, a mandatory and a point-rated criteria but the response did not specify. The solicitation was not amended and the conference notes served as the amendment. As such, the impact of the response on the evaluation criteria was not clear. A supplier also submitted a question for historical information of event revenues collected and also suggested edits to the wording of certain evaluation criteria but no responses were sent to this supplier (or other invited suppliers). These questions were sent 21 days before the bid closing date and should have been answered.
- In a file for services under 2 different workstreams using the Task-Based Informatics Professional Services (TBIPS) SA, a supplier asked a question regarding a point-rated criterion under workstream 2 requiring the need to provide equivalency certification if a degree was obtained outside of Canada and asked whether the equivalency certification could be waived if degrees were from “well known, reputable universities outside of Canada”. NRCan responded that this would be acceptable. The response significantly increased the subjectivity in determining whether a university is “well known” and “reputable”. The response also contradicted the applicable point-rated criterion which still required a copy of the equivalency certification with the bid. By not amending the criterion to reflect the response, there is a risk a bidder could be mistakenly found non-compliant for not providing equivalency certification (which was no longer required). Further, this response was specific to the criterion under workstream 2. There was an identical criterion under workstream 1 and suppliers may have believed that the response applied to both workstreams. A bidder did submit a copy of a degree from outside Canada for this criterion under workstream 1 and appears to have been under the impression that full points would have been received but this bidder received 0 points.
38. The record of communications with suppliers during the solicitation period was also found to be incomplete in 8 files. This included missing documentation showing when questions were asked or by whom. Without a complete record of communications, OPO is unable to determine if all suppliers’ questions were answered, answered in a timely manner, and whether all suppliers were treated equally.
39. Further, communication of solicitation results was found to be inconsistent or did not occur in all applicable files. In 3 files where the solicitation was posted on the government electronic tendering service (www.buyandsell.gc.ca), a contract award notice was not published as required. In 2 of these files, regret letters were not sent to unsuccessful suppliers meaning there was no communication of results to these bidders. In 1 file, a contract award notice that was required to be published no later than 72 days after contract award was published 429 days after contract award. Further, in 2 files, regret letters were not sent or not sent in a timely manner to all unsuccessful suppliers. This included a file in which a contract award notice was not published (as previously noted) and in which regret letters were only sent 6 months after contract award for 2 of 3 unsuccessful bidders. In the other file, a regret letter was only sent to 1 of 2 unsuccessful bidders after that bidder prompted the contracting authority for the results of the process. Unsuccessful bidders should always be informed of the results of a solicitation process and should be provided an outline of the reasons why a bid was unsuccessful. Regret letters are an important tool as they alert bidders to the fact that they were unsuccessful in the selection process, should they wish to seek a detailed debriefing from the contracting department or avail themselves of potential recourse mechanisms such as OPO or the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).
NRCan should establish a process to ensure that information communicated to suppliers prior to bid closing is clear and that adequate documentation of these communications is retained to facilitate management oversight. In addition, NRCan should establish a process to ensure that contract award notices for applicable files are published within the required timeframe and that regret letters are always sent to unsuccessful suppliers in a timely manner.
LOE 3: To determine whether the evaluation of bids and contract award were conducted in accordance with the solicitation
40. In order to ensure the fairness and defensibility of evaluation processes, section 10.7.27 of the TBCP requires that evaluation criteria and their weighting be established beforehand, adhered to strictly and applied equally to all bidders. Failure to ensure the consistent evaluation of proposals increases the risk that ambiguities in the selection process result in the contract being wrongly awarded. Inconsistent evaluations may also call into question the integrity of the procurement process.
41. Of the 40 competitive solicitation processes reviewed, 36 included a technical evaluation leading to contract award and 4 were awarded on the basis of price alone. The 36 files that included a technical evaluation were examined to determine whether a process had been established to ensure the consistent evaluation of bids and that the evaluation of bids had been carried out in accordance with the planned approach. All 40 files were examined to determine if they were adequately documented.
Inconsistencies in the evaluation of bids and deviations from the planned approach were noted and in several instances contracts were incorrectly awarded
42. In the 36 applicable files reviewed, 16 files showed inconsistencies in the evaluation of bids and deviations from the planned approach, including 4 files where contracts were awarded to non-compliant bidders and 1 file where a contract was awarded to the incorrect responsive bidder.
43. The file that resulted in a contract awarded to the incorrect responsive bidder was a solicitation for a review of commercial and institutional buildings energy use and energy intensity across Canada. The total points available for all point-rated criteria was 130 and a selection method of highest combined rating of technical merit (70%) and price (30%) was used. One of the point-rated criteria was worth a total of 10 points but the evaluation grid incorrectly awarded up to 25 points for this criterion. Because of this mistake, the calculation of the technical merit score used the 130 point-scale provided in the solicitation but bids were evaluated with 145 points available. This resulted in higher technical points achieved by both bidders and by dividing by 130 in the technical points achieved calculation, resulting scores were inflated. With the criterion’s scoring corrected to a maximum of 10 points to correspond to the solicitation, the unsuccessful bidder ranks first and should have been recommended for contract award.
44. In 6 files, mandatory criteria were incorrectly evaluated, including 4 files where a contract was awarded to a non-compliant bidder. Examples were the following:
- In a file for laboratory analysis services, a mandatory criterion required “proof of accreditation, including ISO 17025 accreditation [emphasis added]” for the contracted laboratory. The successful supplier’s bid clearly stated that all but one of the requested laboratory tests would be performed at a location that did not yet have ISO accreditation. As such, the bidder should have been deemed non-compliant on this criterion and should not have been awarded a contract. Of further concern, the wording of this mandatory criterion in the evaluation grid used by evaluators was not identical to the wording of the criterion in the solicitation document sent to invited suppliers. The mandatory criterion in the evaluation grid required “proof of accreditation, including ISO 9001 and/or ISO 17025 accreditation [emphasis added]”. Another bidder provided proof of ISO 9001 accreditation and was deemed compliant. This bidder should have also been deemed non-compliant on this criterion since the bidder did not provide proof of ISO 17025 accreditation.
- In a file for vegetation control services, a mandatory criterion required bidders to “demonstrate that, over the five (5) years preceding from the closing date of the request for proposals, the bidder has completed at least three (3) contracts regarding forest vegetation control, valued at a total of $200,000 or more.” The only bid received provided information on 3 previous projects, one of which appeared to be a similar NRCan project, but provided no details regarding the dollar value of the contracts. The bidder was deemed compliant with a comment noting that the previous NRCan project ranged from $200,000 to $400,000 per year for 3 years. To make this determination, the evaluator had to use information not provided in the bid. As submitted, the bid was non-compliant on this criterion.
- In a file for fire smarting services, a mandatory criterion required bidders provide information related to the “brush clearing equipment (excavator and brush cutter)” including: “1. Name and address of the owner of the equipment; 2. Brand, model, and year of the equipment; and 3. Engine power of the equipment.” Out of 2 bids, 1 was deemed non-compliant on this criterion for not disclosing the model and year of the brush cutter. The winning bid did not provide the engine power or the name and address of the owner of the equipment and should have also been deemed non-compliant on this criterion.
- In a file for employment systems review services, a mandatory criterion required that the project submitted “must have been delivered on time and on budget.” The only bidder did not address this mandatory requirement in its bid. This was not assessed by evaluators and the bidder was incorrectly marked compliant for this criterion.
45. In 7 files, point-rated criteria were not evaluated in accordance with the scoring grid provided in the solicitation document. These were all cases where partial points were awarded. For example, evaluators awarded 1.5 points for a criterion when only 0, 1, or 2 points were available options in the scoring grid or did not award points on the basis of “Excellent (100%)”, “Very good (80%)”, “Good (60%)”, “Unsatisfactory (40%), “Poor (20%)” or “Unacceptable (0%)”, as required in the solicitation and evaluation grid.
46. In 6 files, the proper process or planned approach was not followed. Examples included the following:
- In 1 file, a bid was received late but was still accepted and evaluated. In this file, there was also no evidence that the successful bidder’s bid was received on time.
- In 1 file, the consensus evaluation was dated before individual evaluations, suggesting the proper order was not followed (i.e. individual evaluations followed by the consensus evaluation).
- In 2 files, bids that failed mandatory criteria or that did not meet the minimum pass mark were still included in the financial evaluation. In one of these files, a bidder also did not submit its financial bid in accordance with the requirements of the solicitation (missing pricing for certain milestones). This bid was non-compliant but was still fully evaluated. Per the selection methodology in both files, bids not meeting either mandatory criteria, the minimum required points in the point-rated technical, or that otherwise do not comply with all the requirements of the bid solicitation are to be declared non-responsive and not considered further. Including non-responsive bids in the financial evaluation can skew the results if, for example, a non-responsive bid with lowest evaluated price would be inadvertently used to establish the pricing score of all responsive bids.
- In 1 file for financial management services, an evaluator defined ambiguous terms and determined an approach to evaluating a point-rated criterion during the evaluation. For example, for 1 point-rated criterion, the evaluator developed rating scales to award points for 7 sub-criteria which were not established beforehand. In another criterion that awarded points on the basis of whether a bidder’s workplan was “workable and appropriate”, the evaluator developed a rating scale and defined workable as “feasible / reasonable” and appropriate as “sufficient to achieve objectives”, information that was not in the solicitation or established beforehand. While the evaluator may have made efforts to clarify ambiguities or missing information in the point-rated criteria and scoring grids, there was no evidence on file showing that other evaluators followed the same approach and such details must be determined prior to soliciting bids.
- In 1 file, there was an insufficient number of evaluators (only 1 evaluator when instructions required 3).
47. Evaluations not conducted consistently and in the manner prescribed by the solicitation call into question the integrity of the procurement process. By not adhering strictly to the evaluation criteria, NRCan has exposed itself to the risk that ambiguities in the selection process result in the contract being wrongly awarded. It also means NRCan may not be able to defend and explain its decisions and actions and prove that they were made in accordance with the applicable laws, regulations, and policies.
48. NRCan clarified to OPO during the review that there is no policy in place with respect to providing an instructions document to evaluators and that it is up to the procurement officer’s discretion whether this document is shared with evaluators. NRCan’s Instructions to Evaluators document details how evaluations should be conducted and is “intended to protect the integrity and ensure fairness of the evaluation process.” OPO found that Instructions to Evaluators were shared with evaluators in 22 of the 40 files reviewed.
NRCan should establish processes to ensure that: (1) evaluation instructions are consistently provided to evaluators; (2) non-compliant bids are disqualified and not further assessed; and (3) technical evaluations adhere strictly to the evaluation criteria and scoring grids in solicitations; and are carried out in accordance with planned approaches.
In several files, file documentation was incomplete
49. Section 12.3.1 of the TBCP requires that procurement files facilitate management oversight with a complete audit trail containing details related to relevant communications and decisions, including the identification of the involved officials and contracting approval authorities. The requirement to ensure adequate file documentation extends to the actions undertaken during the solicitation period, the evaluation of bids, as well as the overall procurement file.
50. Documentation supporting the evaluations was found to be insufficient in 12 out of 40 files. This included instances where individual or consensus evaluations were missing evaluator names, signatures, and/or dates, instances where documents were missing (for example, missing individual or financial evaluations and missing pages from individual evaluations), and instances where there were no or few comments in consensus evaluations supporting the assessment and allocation of points for point-rated evaluation criteria.
51. Further, procurement file documentation was found to be incomplete in 15 out of 40 files. Examples of incomplete file documentation included missing confirmation of integrity verifications, missing Intellectual Property Ownership Approval Request forms, evidence that supplier debriefs were provided after being requested by suppliers, missing contract signed by the supplier, missing solicitation emails, missing evidence that a successful supplier’s bid was received by the closing date and time, and solicitation documents on file not corresponding to the versions sent to suppliers.
52. Incomplete procurement files resulted in inadequately supported procurement actions that risk undermining the integrity, fairness and transparency of the procurement process. Keeping complete and detailed evaluation records is crucial for demonstrating that evaluation criteria have been applied equally to all competing bids, and demonstrating that the procurement has been carried out in a manner consistent with NRCan’s obligations under the TBCP and applicable trade agreements.
53. NRCan’s Contracting Desktop Procedures do provide guidance regarding electronic record keeping including document and folder naming conventions and provide lists of the documentation that should be saved in procurement files. Since the lists are mostly complete, the observations highlighted above appear to be caused by a lack of effective supervision and review mechanisms to ensure complete file documentation.
NRCan should establish processes to ensure: (1) evaluations are appropriately documented to support the transparency of the award process; and (2) procurement files are complete and kept up-to-date.
54. OPO regularly hears from both Canadian businesses and federal officials who believe the contracting process is unnecessarily complex. In reviewing NRCan’s procurement practices, OPO sought to identify opportunities to alleviate unnecessary administrative burdens placed on bidders and federal procurement officials, and draw attention to good practices for simplifying the procurement process.
Standardization of procurement documents
55. NRCan generally uses federal government “standard” solicitation documents and processes. This contributes to simplification by improving consistency and uniformity across procurement processes.
56. In the files reviewed, 2 were contracts for land survey services awarded by 1 of NRCan’s program areas with delegated contracting authority. Both solicitations did not use standard processes. Information was instead sent using 3 documents: individualized solicitation emails, cover letters and a solicitation document. In one case, the first page of the solicitation document was incomplete with most fields left blank. This could be simplified by sending one solicitation email to all invited suppliers with a more complete solicitation document requiring fewer supporting documents. This would also eliminate any risk of suppliers not receiving the same solicitation document or not receiving the solicitation document at the same time.
Contracts often included option years
57. Of the 40 files reviewed, option years were included in the resulting contract in 9 cases where there were recurring needs. This good practice supports the simplification of government procurement by reducing the number of solicitation processes and, consequently, reduces the cost to both government and suppliers. This practice allows departments to continue working with well-performing suppliers, while being transparent about the amount and value of work associated with a contract during the initial solicitation process.
Simplification of evaluation criteria
58. There were certain cases where evaluation criteria were unnecessary and could have been removed to reduce the number of evaluation criteria used and simplify the process. For example:
- In 2 solicitations, a mandatory criterion was included requiring bidders to “submit a signed proposal accepting the Terms and Conditions of the Request for Proposal.” Such mandatory criteria are redundant with bidder instructions already instructing bidders to sign and date page 1 of the solicitation document as part of their bid indicating acceptance of the terms and conditions.
- In 1 solicitation, a point-rated criterion awarded 10 points to bidders for meeting all mandatory criteria. Again, this is unrelated to a bidder’s ability to perform the work and adds no value since all bidders meeting the mandatory criteria receive the 10 points.
V. Other observations
Perception of contract splitting
59. The TBCP defines contract splitting as “the practice of unnecessarily dividing an aggregate requirement into a number of smaller contracts thereby avoiding controls on the duration of assignments or contract approval authorities.” Section 11.2.7 of the TBCP further states that contracting authorities “must not split contracts or contract amendments in order to avoid obtaining either the approval required by statute, the Treasury Board Contracts Directive or appropriate management approval within the department or agency.”
60. Article 1001.4 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) states: “No Party may prepare, design or otherwise structure any procurement contract in order to avoid the obligations of this Chapter.” Article 503 of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) also states: “A procuring entity shall not prepare, design, or otherwise structure a procurement, select a valuation method, or divide procurement requirements in order to avoid the obligations of this Agreement.”
61. As part of the 40 files reviewed, 2 files were for laboratory analysis services on an as-and-when requested basis. Both solicitations were similar with one for water sample analysis and the other for petroleum and bio-oil sample analysis. Both solicitations were sent to the same 3 suppliers one day apart with the same contracting and project authorities in both processes. Estimated contract values for these procurements were $86,000 and $88,500. A review of the contracting data provided by NRCan also shows a third contract valued at $79,730 for “Trace metal analysis” awarded to the same supplier and on the same date as the water sample analysis contract noted above. Since the combined estimated value of these procurements exceeded NAFTA and CFTA thresholds, this creates the perception that the requirement may have been split in order to avoid trade agreement obligations.
NRCan should establish a process to review planned procurements to ensure aggregate requirements are not inappropriately divided to avoid controls or trade agreement obligations.
In one case, internal procedures were not followed with respect to a requirement subject to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
62. In a file for janitorial services, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) applied. The objective of Article 24 (Government Contracts) of the NLCA is for the Government of Canada to “provide reasonable support and assistance to Inuit firms… to enable them to compete for government contracts.” Section 24.4.3 of the NLCA states: “Where the Government of Canada… intends to invite bids for government contracts to be performed in the Nunavut Settlement Area, it shall take all reasonable measures to inform Inuit firms of such bids, and provide Inuit firms with a fair and reasonable opportunity to submit bids.” The contract planning form on file states that the notice of the procurement opportunity is to be sent out to all applicable claimant groups identified and janitorial businesses within the claimant groups. NRCan confirmed to OPO that this was not done.
63. Section 24.6.1 of the NLCA further states that the following bid criteria (or as many as appropriate) shall be included as evaluation criteria “[w]henever practicable, and consistent with sound procurement management, and subject to Canada’s international obligations”:
- The existence of head offices, administrative offices or other facilities in the Nunavut Settlement Area;
- The employment of Inuit labour, engagement of Inuit professional services, or use of suppliers that are Inuit firms in carrying out the contracts; or
- The undertaking of commitments, under the contract, with respect to on-the-job training or skills development for Inuit.
64. Other than noting that the NLCA applied, this solicitation included no information or evaluation criteria aimed at increasing Inuit participation. NRCan clarified to OPO that Article 24 of the NLCA was not considered as technical criteria and that it was decided to address the requirements with the winning bidder at the time of contract award. However, these requirements, listed in the previous paragraph, were applicable at the solicitation and evaluation stages and not at the time of contract award. After the contract was awarded, NRCan contacted the supplier by email on two occasions, asking the supplier to confirm (a) and (b) of Section 24.6.1 of the NLCA and no responses were found on file. NRCan clarified to OPO that a response from the supplier was not obtained. Per the Indigenous designation certification completed in this supplier’s bid, the supplier was not an Indigenous business.
65. NRCan’s Contracting Desktop Procedures provide detailed information and steps to be followed when Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements apply, including notification instructions. When the NLCA applies, NRCan’s procedures indicate an obligation to perform searches in the applicable Inuit firm registries and a requirement to have economic benefit information represented in the solicitation for requirements exceeding $400,000. This monetary threshold is not found in Article 24 of the NLCA, which includes no monetary thresholds. The Treasury Board (TB) Directive on Government Contracts, Including Real Property Leases, in the Nunavut Settlement Area, which became effective in December 2019 (after the requirement was solicited), does indicate a threshold of $100,000 for goods, services and construction services. For estimated contract values above this threshold, contracting authorities are responsible for including all benefits criteria listed in the directive (which align with Article 24 of the NLCA) in applicable solicitation documents. For estimated contract values at or below this threshold, best efforts are to be made to include all benefits criteria in applicable solicitation documents. In this case, for a procurement that resulted in the award of a contract valued at up to $1.8M for up to 5 years for services delivered in the Nunavut Settlement Area, NRCan did not follow established internal procedures and did not inform Inuit firms of the opportunity or enable them to compete for this contract.
NRCan should update its Contracting Desktop Procedures to comply with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and Treasury Board Directive on Government Contracts, Including Real Property Leases, in the Nunavut Settlement Area and establish a process to ensure its procedures are followed with respect to Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement obligations.
Estimated procurement value not established before soliciting bids and contract value exceeded the Temporary Help Services Supply Arrangement limit
66. Section 10.5.1 of the TBCP reads in part, “[r]equirements should be defined and specifications and estimates established before bids are solicited and contracts let, so that all prospective contractors are treated equally.” Prior to soliciting bids for a requirement using the Temporary Help Services (THS) Supply Arrangement (SA), the procurement value was estimated at one dollar. Following the bid closing date and during evaluations, Section 32 commitment authority was requested based on the bid price. Since the estimated procurement value helps inform what tendering process must be followed, it should not be established after soliciting bids from suppliers. Further, to avoid the risk of being unable to award a contract due to lack of funds, a procurement’s estimated value should be established and commitment authority obtained before soliciting bids.
67. Further, the final contract value related to this solicitation was $488,160 (taxes included). The contract was originally put in place in November 2018 with a value of $325,440 and was later increased by $162,720 in contract amendment 01 in September 2019. According to the THS SA: “Each individual contract issued under the Supply Arrangement must not exceed the sum of $400,000.00 (Travel expenses, Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax, overtime and all amendments included) [emphasis added].” Therefore, the contract exceeded the financial limitation of the THS SA.
68. NRCan’s procurement practices pertaining to evaluation and selection plans, solicitation, and evaluation of bids and contract award were assessed for consistency with Canada’s obligations under sections of applicable national and international trade agreements, the Financial Administration Act and regulations made under it, the TBCP and departmental guidelines, and to determine if they supported the principles of fairness, openness and transparency.
69. Mandatory criteria in solicitation documents were aligned with requirements and were not overly restrictive; however, a majority of files did not define mandatory criteria in a clear, precise and measurable manner. For the most part, point-rated criteria were not overly restrictive, were aligned with the requirement and reflected the relative importance of the criteria; however, point-rated criteria and scoring grids could be improved to increase clarity and minimize subjectivity. Bidders were consistently advised of the manner in which the contract would be awarded.
70. Solicitation documentation was mostly complete; however, several opportunities for improvement were noted regarding the description of requirements and instructions to bidders. Solicitations also contained inappropriate wording with respect to a certification required before contract award. Most communications with suppliers were appropriate and supported the preparation of responsive bids, however, some communication records were found to be incomplete.
71. Inconsistencies in the evaluation of bids and deviations from the planned approach were noted and in several instances contracts were incorrectly awarded. File documentation was also incomplete in several files.
72. Other observations made through the analysis of this review’s LOEs included the perception of contract splitting, one case where internal procedures were not followed with respect to a requirement subject to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, and one case where the estimated value of a requirement was not established before soliciting bids.
73. In order to address issues identified, OPO made 8 recommendations. These recommendations can be found in Annex I of this report. OPO will conduct a follow-up review in 2 years to assess the implementation of NRCan’s action plan to address these recommendations.
VII. Organizational response
74. In accordance with section 5 of the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations, the Procurement Ombudsman provided NRCan with the opportunity to comment on the proposed recommendations in this review and the reasons for them. NRCan was further given the opportunity to comment on the review’s findings, and many of these comments were taken into consideration and integrated into the final version of the report.
75. In response to this review, NRCan will continue to enhance its procurement practices and remains committed to fair, open and transparent procurement.
76. OPO wishes to express its appreciation to the staff of NRCan’s PSU and Procurement Policy Analysis and Reporting group for the assistance and cooperation extended to the reviewers during this assessment.
Annex I: Organizational response and action plan
Procurement Practice Review of Evaluation and Selection Plans, Solicitation, and Evaluation of Bids and Contract Award at Natural Resources Canada.
|No.||Recommendation||NRCan response / Action plan||Timeline for implementation|
|1||NRCan should establish a quality control process to ensure mandatory criteria are adequately defined and communicated in a clear, precise and measurable manner.||
1. NRCan will establish a peer review process to review mandatory criteria (prior to solicitation release) in procurement files identified using a risk-based approach. Internal guidance documents (for example, Desktop Procedures) will be updated to reflect the new process.
|June 30, 2022|
2. The scope of the existing Quality Assurance program will be expanded to address evaluation criteria review.
|June 30, 2022|
|2||NRCan should update its internal guidance to provide information with respect to the development of evaluation criteria and selections plans and ensure that evaluation criteria, scoring grids and selection methodologies are communicated in solicitations in a clear, precise, and measurable manner.||
1. NRCan will update and communicate its internal guidance documents (for example, Desktop Procedures) to ensure evaluation criteria instructions are clear.
|June 30, 2022|
2. NRCan will develop and communicate an Evaluation Guide for use by both the Contracting Authorities and Technical Authorities to assist in developing evaluation criteria.
|June 30, 2022|
|3. The implementation of the peer review process in response to recommendation #1 will further strengthen evaluation criteria and selection methodologies.||June 30, 2022|
|3||NRCan should correct the wording used in its RFP template(s) so that the purpose of the Indigenous designation certification is clear to all potential bidders.||
1. NRCan has revised its RFP template to clarify the purpose of Indigenous designation certification.
|4||NRCan should establish a process to ensure that information communicated to suppliers prior to bid closing is clear and that adequate documentation of these communications is retained to facilitate management oversight. In addition, NRCan should establish a process to ensure that contract award notices for applicable files are published within the required timeframe and that regret letters are always sent to unsuccessful suppliers in a timely manner.||
1. NRCan will update and communicate its internal guidance documents (for example, Desktop Procedures) to a) include instructions clarifying the roles and responsibilities related to communications with suppliers pre-bid closing and b) add a mandatory requirement to issue regret letters for competitive procurements and provide a standard letter template.
|March 31, 2022|
|2. NRCan will review and update its “Online Procurement Checklist” to ensure both the Regret Letters and Contract Award Notices have been sent and posted accordingly within the prescribed time period, as appropriate.||June 30, 2022|
|5||NRCan should establish processes to ensure that: (1) evaluation instructions are consistently provided evaluators; (2) non-compliant bids are disqualified and not further assessed; and (3) technical evaluations adhere strictly to the evaluation criteria and scoring grids in solicitations; and are carried out in accordance with planned approaches.||
1. NRCan will ensure the three (3) identified elements are appropriately reflected in internal guidance documents, including the new Evaluation Guide to be developed.
|June 30, 2022|
|6||NRCan should establish processes to ensure: (1) evaluations are appropriately documented to support the transparency of the award process; and (2) procurement files are complete and kept up-to-date.||
1. NRCan will update “Instructions to Evaluators” document to state that the Contracting Authority will not proceed with contract award until duly signed technical evaluation documents are received.
|June 30, 2022|
|2. Internal guidance documents will be updated to explicitly state the requirement to ensure the procurement file is appropriately documented.||June 30, 2022|
|7||NRCan should establish a process to review planned procurements to ensure aggregate requirements are not inappropriately divided to avoid controls or trade agreement obligations.||
1. NRCan will modify its existing procurement tracking system to help identify similar requirements emanating from the same Branch.
|June 30, 2022|
|2. NRCan will update its internal guidance documents (for example, Desktop procedures) to reflect the system enhancement.||June 30, 2022|
|8||NRCan should update its Contracting Desktop Procedures to comply with the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and Treasury Board Directive on Government Contracts, Including Real Property Leases, in the Nunavut Settlement Area and establish a process to ensure its procedures are followed with respect to Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement obligations.||
1. NRCan will review the existing NLCA information in its internal guidance documents, and ensure alignment with government-wide direction of the NLCA. NRCan will continue to engage with contracting authorities, including a planned Information Session to share lessons learned from recent procurements. This will complement information and instructions previously communicated as part of the policy implementation in 2019.
|December 31, 2021|
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