Finding and using UNSPSC codes
Added April 22, 2021
Public Services and Procurement Canada is using the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) to classify the goods or services it is buying. This resource guide will walk you through how to use the UNSPSC codes and where to find them.
A UNSPSC code is an attribute of a tender notice, which means you can use a code to find tender opportunities of interest in the CanadaBuys tendering service. For example, there are codes for computers, chairs, electrical services, landscaping and more.
On this page:
How the UNSPSC works
The Government of Canada began replacing its current system, the Goods and Services Identification Numbers (GSIN), with the UNSPSC in 2021. All the GSIN codes will eventually be mapped to UNSPSC codes. During this transition, UNSPSC and GSIN codes will be used in parallel. This means that for now, some federal government departments will still use GSIN . In addition, historical data will not be converted to UNSPSC codes and will keep GSIN codes.
Learn more about the UNSPSC and how it works.
Using the UNSPSC codes
This section is useful for businesses that already know the UNSPSC codes for the type tender opportunities they are searching for. Refer to the section Finding the UNSPSC codes if you don’t already know the codes.
Click on “Tender opportunities” in the navigational menu at the top of the website to go to the Tender opportunities page.
The Tender opportunities page is displayed with a list of tender notices under the Tender notices tab. Enter a UNSPSC code in the search bar near the top of the page and click the “Search” button.
A list of tender notices that use the UNSPSC code will be displayed. From here, you can choose to:
- Subscribe to receive notifications about this search by clicking “Follow this search” next to the bell icon (if you select this option, refer to the resource article Following a search or tender notice for more information)
- Open one of the tender notices to view or follow it by clicking on its title under the Title column (if you select this option, continue to step 4)
Once you open a tender notice, its details are displayed with the Description tab open by default. You can choose to review the information under the different tabs or set up a notification to follow this notice.
For steps on navigating the information of a tender notice, read the View the full details of a tender opportunity section of the resource article Refining a search for tender opportunities and accessing tender notices.
For steps on how to follow this notice, refer to the resource article Following a search or tender notice for more information.
Tip: The UNSPSC codes related to the tender notice are displayed in the Summary Information section on the right-hand side.
Finding the UNSPSC codes
This section is useful for businesses that would like to find a UNSPSC code that reflects what they supply.
Go to the Government of Canada’s Open data portal.
In the search bar on the homepage, type in “ UNSPSC ” and then click the “Find” button.
The search results will appear. Scroll down in the list to the result called “Mapping of Goods and Services Identification Number to United Nations Standard Products and Services Code” and click on the link.
The Mapping of Goods and Services Identification Number to United Nations Standard Products and Services Code page is displayed. Scroll down to the Data and Resources section. Find “Mapping of GSIN - UNSPSC ” and click the “Download” button next to it.
If you are using the web browsers Internet Explorer or Firefox, once you click the “Download” button a pop-up window will appear giving you the choice to open the file or save a copy on your computer or mobile device.
If you are using the web browsers Chrome, Edge or Safari, once you click the “Download” button the CSV file will automatically open in a new window or tab. Once it opens, right-click anywhere on the page, select “Save as” in the menu that appears and then you can save a copy of the file on your computer or mobile device.
If you haven’t already, open the CSV file from wherever you saved it. You will see the UNSPSC codes in the “ UNSPSC -Code” column (the first column that appears in the file).
Start a search for a UNSPSC code by pressing the CTRL and F keys together. The Find and Replace pop-up window is displayed. Enter your English or French search term or GSIN code in the Find what: field and click the “Find Next” button.
Note: Not all GSIN s are included in the list, so the best way to search for a code is by the description of the good or service you are looking for.
You may receive several results as multiple descriptions may include the same term.
Once you find a relevant UNSPSC code, you can use it to search for tender notices in the CanadaBuys tendering service. See the section Using the UNSPSC codes for steps on how to use the codes to search.