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Types of bid solicitations

If you are buying for the Government of Canada, find out more information on what types of bid solicitations are available and when to use them. 

Invitation to Tender

You should use the Invitation to Tender (ITT) approach when all of the following applies:

  • two or more suppliers are capable of filling the requirement
  • the evaluation of tenders against clearly stated criteria
  • tenders have a common pricing basis
  • the lowest-priced responsive tender is accepted without negotiations

You should consider having a public opening for any tender where the contract award will attract publicity.

For more information, see the Supply Manual: Chapter 4, section 4.10.10 - Invitation to Tender.

Letter of Interest or Request for Information

Use a Request for Information (RFI) or Letter of Interest (LOI) when detailed information and feedback are required from suppliers. Preparing proposals is often costly to businesses. To keep the total cost down and ensure that potential suppliers hear about the requirement and have a chance to compete, you could solicit proposals in two steps:

  1. ask potential suppliers to provide letters of interest and qualifications, to develop a short list 
  2. issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) asking the potential suppliers on the short list to submit detailed proposals

For more information, please see the Supply Manual: Chapter 4, section 4.5.5 - Request for Information or Letter of Interest.

Request for Proposal

An RFP is the method you should use when:

  • only one source is being solicited 
  • you have to negotiate with one or more bidders about aspects of the requirement
  • the requirement is not clear-cut; suppliers propose a solution to a problem, requirement or objective and selection is based on the effectiveness of the solution rather than on price alone

Proposals should be evaluated according to the specific criteria set out in the RFP.

For more information, see the Supply Manual: Chapter 4, section 4.10.15 - Bid solicitation.

Request for Quotation

Use the Request for Quotation (RFQ) method when the requirements are estimated at $25,000 or less. Quotations are not offers to supply. For a contract, there must be an offer and an acceptance of the offer.

There may be times when it will be better to solicit bids using an ITT or an RFP.

For more information, see the Supply Manual: Chapter 4, section 4.10.1 - Request for Quotation.

Request for Standing Offer

A standing offer is not a contract. It is an offer from a potential supplier to provide goods or services at pre-arranged prices, under set terms and conditions. 

Use a Request for Standing Offers when:

  • one or more clients repetitively order the same goods or services, and the actual demand is not known in advance
  • a need is anticipated for a range of goods or services for a specific purpose, but the actual demand is not known at the outset, and delivery is to be made when a requirement arises

Use a Request for Supply Arrangement instead when:

  • prices or terms are not stated or are subject to change at any time on the decision of the bidder (an exception to this is where ceiling unit prices, subject to downward adjustment, are specified)
  • it is intended that clients negotiate further from base level prices or terms that PSPC may have established

For more information 

Request for Supply Arrangement

A supply arrangement is a method of supply where the client solicit bids from a pool of pre-screened suppliers. A supply arrangement is not a contract and neither party is legally bound as a result of the signing of this document alone.

A supply arrangement should be considered if:

  • a commodity is procured on a regular basis (goods or services)
  • a standing offer is not suitable, due to variables in resulting call-ups, such as different methods or basis of payment, or the statement of work cannot be defined in advance
  • the commodity or service value is best expressed as a ceiling price
  • clients can negotiate price reductions from the ceiling price
  • it is more efficient for PSPC to operate as the provider of the framework and not as contractual authority

For more information


A Telephone-Buy is a form of RFQ in which you ask for price quotations over the telephone for requirements of up to $5,000 (competitive) and $10,000 (non-competitive). Your bidder doesn't have to confirm the bid in writing, but you should record the details of the telephone bid on the procurement file. If you accept a bid over the phone, you must confirm the contract in writing.

For more information, see the Supply Manual: Chapter 4, section 4.10.5 - Telephone Buy.



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