Following up on a bid

Suppliers can ask for a debriefing of their bid submission once a contract is awarded following a competition. There are also processes in place that suppliers can use to challenge when a bid submission is rejected. 

Request a debriefing

You can contact the contracting officer responsible for the opportunity you bid on to request a debriefing. You can do this once you have been notified of the bid evaluation results or if the contract has been awarded to someone else. This includes when supply arrangements and standing offers are issued. Debriefings can be done in person, by phone or in writing.

You have the right to request this debriefing according to the Directive on the Management of Procurement and some trade agreements.

Why is a debriefing important?

A debriefing can help you understand the decision that led to awarding the contract to a specific supplier. It can also help you prepare for your next bid by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in your submission. Debriefings can vary depending on the process used and number of bidders. 

Before your debriefing, we recommend you review your bid and prepare any relevant questions. Keep in mind that the contracting officer can only discuss the contents of your bid, and not others. 

What information is in a debriefing? 

A typical debriefing includes information such as: 

  • the name of the successful supplier;
  • the value of the contract awarded, supply arrangement, or standing offer issued;
  • the overall evaluation result of the successful supplier;
  • an outline of the reasons the supplier being debriefed was not successful, referring back to the evaluation criteria and selection method;
  • very general information on the relative strengths of the successful bid, as appropriate, while ensuring that no confidential commercial information is shared.

Refer to section 7.40 of the Supply Manual for more information about supplier debriefings

Challenging a bid after contract award

If you have an objection or complaint about a rejected bid submission, we recommend that you first contact the contracting authority of the procurement. You may also use one of the options described below to further challenge the bid. Contacting the contracting authority does not prevent you from seeking recourse elsewhere.

Note that the options below do not apply to every procurement and supplier and that there can be strict deadlines for filing objections or complaints. Each situation is considered on a case-by-case basis. The option you use also depends on several factors, such as which trade agreements apply, the dollar value of the procurement, that status of contract award and more.

Refer to section 1.35 of the Supply Manual for more information about the challenge process

Office of the Procurement Ombudsman

The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) is a neutral and impartial entity that can review complaints about the award of certain federal contracts valued below $30,300 for goods and $121,200 for services, and where certain criteria apply. These criteria include:

  • the complainant is a Canadian supplier
  • the complaint must be filed in writing within strict timelines
  • the facts and grounds of the complaint have not been before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal or a court
  • the subject of the contract is not one of the exemptions or exceptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement

OPO can also review complaints about the administration of contracts, regardless of dollar value.

In most cases, you have 30 working days after public notice of the contract award to file a written complaint. If there was no public notice, you have 30 working days from when you became aware, or should have become aware, of the contract award.

For more information: 

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body that may conduct an inquiry into a complaint by a bidder or prospective bidder that relates to any aspect of the federal government procurement process for eligible contracts.

To file a complaint with the Tribunal, the procurement in question must be covered by at least one of the trade agreements under which Canada has government procurement obligations.

Before filing a complaint with the Tribunal, you can first try to settle your objection with the government institution in charge of the procurement. You have 10 working days after the public notice of the contract award to file a complaint. If there is no public notice, you have 10 working days from when you became aware, or should have become aware, of the contract award.

If the institution does not address your objection, you can then send your complaint to the Tribunal within 10 working days of being informed that the institution has denied your request.

For more information:

Other  ways to challenge a bid

Other bid challenge options may also be available to you. For example, you may be able to seek recourse through the Federal Court of Canada or the provincial or territorial superior court system. These options also have time limits.

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