Chapter Five (Procurement) of the Agreement on Internal Trade introduced new regulations on how public organizations approach the procurement of goods and services. The objectives of the agreement are to provide for open, non-discriminatory procurement practices for all federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Annex 502-4 of the Agreement describes the procurement provisions as they apply to the M.A.S.H. (Municipalities, Municipal Organizations, School Boards, publicly funded academic, health and social service entities) sector. This Annex is applicable to all purchases made by these entities for goods and services exceeding $100,000 and construction contracts exceeding $250,000. Under the Annex, the M.A.S.H. sector has a number of commitments or obligations with respect to their procurement practices:
Tendering managers shall not differentiate or discriminate between suppliers/contractors on the basis of geographic location. All forms of discrimination based on the province of origin of goods, services, construction materials, the supplier of such goods, services or construction materials shall be prohibited from the procurement practices of the entities covered by the Annex. This equates to open and fair competitive bidding practices where suppliers/contractors from other provinces shall be given as equal an opportunity to do business and be the successful bidder, as the local suppliers.
Fair Acquisition Process
Procurements covered by the Annex ($100,000 goods and services, $250,000 construction contracts) shall be conducted through a Competitive Bid process. All bidders participating in the competitive bid process must be treated in an equal and fair manner throughout the competitive bid process and award.
Entities participating in group purchasing activities through Buying Groups or Consortiums shall ensure that such activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the Annex.