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How procurement works

Get an overview of how the Government of Canada procurement process works, including information on what we buy, and relevant policies and guidelines. 

The information on this page applies to the Government of Canada procurement process only. For information on how procurement works for other Canadian public sector organizations, such as provincial or territorial governments, visit their websites.

What the government buys

The Government of Canada is the largest public buyer of goods and services in Canada. We buy just about every kind of good and service; from aircraft to paper clips, and from training services to scientific research.

Check out what the government buys.

Basics of the procurement process

PSPC buys goods and services on behalf of other federal departments, designated agencies and Crown corporations through an open, fair and transparent process. The process has four phases:

  • Pre-contract phase, when the planning happens before a tender opportunity is posted
  • Contracting phase, when the contract is bid on and awarded
  • Contract administration, when the contract is managed and monitored
  • Post-contract phase, when the final actions and file closeout take place

Learn more about the procurement process.

Methods for buying

We use these main methods for buying:

Find out more information on methods for buying.

Our guiding principles

We follow many policies, regulations and directives that ensure our procurement process is transparent and carried out with integrity. This includes policies on employment equity, purchasing goods and services that are less harmful to the environment, and more. Learn more about what applies to our process:

Updates to policies

Policy notifications are posted regularly to highlight changes, revisions or updates to our procurement policies and process.

See the list of policy notifications.

Buying guidelines

For more information on commonly used clauses and templates, our policies, relevant regulations, and more, refer to:

Process for resolving conflicts

Contact the contracting officer identified in the tender notice if you have any concerns about the procurement process. If you need further help resolving a conflict, there are other services available, including contacting the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman.

Learn more about the dispute management and complaint processes.

Recognizing bid-rigging

Bid‑rigging is a scheme by businesses to remove competition in the tendering process. It often results in higher prices and lower quality goods and services. Bid-rigging is a criminal offence under Canada’s Competition Act.

Learn more about how to prevent and report bid-rigging activity.

Download tenders information

You can download and view tenders data files that include all the information from tender notices. The files are provided for free in a format that allows you to sort and filter the information.

Learn more about how to download tender data.

Open Contracting Data Standard

The Open Contracting Data Standard is a free, non-proprietary and international open data standard for public contracting. It describes how to publish data and documents at all stages of the contracting process. The Government of Canada uses this standard to publish the data and documents in an accessible, structured and repeatable way.

Our commitment to open data advances the Government of Canada’s multi-year action plans on open government.

Some helpful information


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Find out how to prepare for buying for or selling to the Government of Canada.

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Search for tender notices on CanadaBuys.

Get all our latest news and learn about upcoming events.


Contact us directly, or find your answers using resource guides.

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