Updated August 7, 2020
NOTE Reference to "OPS Organization" includes all ministries, all provincial agencies, Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator.
Changes to the Ontario Public Service Procurement Directive (OPS PD)
Effective September 1, 2020, amendments to the Ontario Public Service Procurement Directive (OPS PD) establish new requirements regarding the use of Consultants and Senior Advisors in Government.
Changes appear in the OPS PD Interim Measures (Appendix B) and include:
An additional amendment to the Interim Measures includes the introduction of ‘government entities’ to be consistent with the terminology in the Supply Chain Management Act.
The checklist and other guidance materials can be found under the Procurement Tools and Template.
We have been working diligently to engage stakeholders as their feedback is critical to the success of this initiative. Through stakeholder engagement, we have received feedback from broader public sector organizations about the value threshold for submitting Procurement Rationale Reports. In response to this feedback, government is making the following change to the Interim Measures:
1. Can provincial agencies, Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator access Ontario's enterprise-wide VOR program?
Yes. Information about accessing the VORs can be found on the Doing Business with Ontario website.
Buyers must be registered to access the VORs. Information about how to register is provided on this website.
2. Where can provincial agencies, Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator learn about the goods and services available related to the Ontario Vendor of Record program?
Once registered (see question #5), buyers can access a complete list of the goods and services available through the VOR program, along with details about each contract, including pricing. The access link will be provided in a registration confirmation email. If there are questions about a specific VOR, buyers can contact the VOR Contract Manager noted in the VOR user guide.
3. I work in an "OPS Organization" and obtained a quote that is cheaper than the enterprise VOR price. Do I still need to use the enterprise VOR?
Yes, you are required to use the VOR if the good/service meets your business needs. Various factors (in addition to price) have been considered when VOR arrangements are developed. In limited and exceptional circumstances, where there could be a strong business case for not using an existing VOR, you must submit a Procurement Rationale Report Form to Supply Chain Ontario (SCO) at least 45 calendar days before the procurement is released to the vendor community.
Although you must still use the VOR, please provide the information you have on lower costs to the contract manager of the VOR in SCO, so that we can factor that in to our ongoing reviews and planning.
4. I have been advised by the OPS enterprise VOR vendor that they are unable to provide us with the goods or services that I want to purchase. What do I do?
Please immediately contact the VOR Contract Manager at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services who will assess the issue and identify options for resolution.
5. Our OPS Organization has OPS Organization specific VOR arrangements. Can we still continue to use them?
Yes, current VOR arrangements that are OPS Organization-specific or shared between two or more ministries can still be used. New VOR arrangements specific to an OPS Organization should follow the requirements of the OPS Procurement Directive, including the OPS interim measures (Appendix B of the Directive).
If you have access to two VOR arrangements for the same goods and services, you should use the OPS enterprise-wide VOR arrangement. In the limited and exceptional circumstances where this is not possible or appropriate, please submit a Procurement Rationale Report Form - see question 25 for more information.
6. Our organization has access to contracts through Shared Services Organizations, Group Purchasing Organizations and other co-operative purchasing groups. Can we continue to use those contracts?
Yes, current contracts available to your organization through Shared Services Organizations, Group Purchasing Organizations and other co-operative purchasing groups can still be used by your organization.
7. How do ministries find information on contracts that may be available through other entities that may meet our business needs, where no current Enterprise or OPS Organization-specific VOR arrangement exists?
There is currently no central repository of contracts available for ministries, provincial agencies or BPS organizations. As information is collected as part of the interim measures, a central repository of contracts will be built and made available.
Further information will be provided to ministries, provincial agencies and BPS organizations over the coming months as we gather and share information on new contracts, best practices and other information sharing opportunities.
8. I'm doing a second stage selection using a vendor of record. Do I need to submit a PRRF form for a statement of work over 2 years in length?
No, the procurement was completed when the enterprise wide VOR was established.
9. I'm doing a second stage selection using a multi-ministry VOR that is over two years and over $25,000 do I need to fill out a PRRF?
No, the procurement was completed when the VOR was established.
10. Why are there new interim measures?
These interim measures - support opportunities for collaborative purchasing, while protecting continuity of business and services during the building of a centralized system. The measures also support the collection of data that is necessary for building the centralized system.
11. What are the benefits of the interim measures?
The new measures will help us gather information and identify opportunities to pursue collaborative bulk buying opportunities to achieve efficiencies and leverage other spend opportunities to support centralization. For example, the interim measures may allow us to identify cases where multiple organizations plan to procure similar goods and/or services which would allow for a more collaborative approach rather than each organization acting independently.
12. Who do the interim measures apply to?
The measures include requirements for the OPS that apply to all ministries, provincial agencies, Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator.
The measures also establish expectations for select BPS organizations, specifically hospitals; school boards; universities; colleges of applied arts and technology and post-secondary institutions; children's aid societies; and, corporations controlled by one or more designated broader public sector organizations that exist solely or primarily for the purpose of purchasing goods or services for the designated broader public sector organization or organizations, specifically shared services organizations and group purchasing organizations.
Funding ministries will inform these BPS organizations of how the measures will apply to them. Depending on the existing legislative authority, ministries may be able to direct the select BPS organizations to follow all or some of the measures. In other cases, the funding ministry will request that the BPS organization to comply voluntarily with the measures.
The 'funding ministry' refers to the ministry that maintains the primary funding relationship with the select BPS organization.
13. Do these new interim measures affect any of the procurements that are currently posted or closed?
No. Procurements that are already posted or closed are not affected. The interim measures apply to new procurements. See question 16 below
14. Am I supposed to break any contracts that we already have that are longer than two years?
No, the interim measures do not affect contracts that are already in place.
15. Are all types of procurement covered by the interim measures?
The interim measures apply to:
The measures do not apply:
16. Which procurements are considered "new"?
A "new" procurement refers to any process (i.e. a Request for Bids, a Request for Information, an invitational procurement, etc.) of acquiring a good or service that begins (e.g. released to the vendor community) after the Interim measures come into effect, and where there is no pre-existing commitment to acquire the good or service on the part of the buyer. An option to extend a pre-existing contract is a new procurement for the purposes of the interim measures. Using Vendor of Record arrangements is not considered a procurement.
17. Can I exercise the extension options that we have in some of our contracts?
Your extension option should be assessed against the interim measures. If the extension meets the requirements of the interim measures, then you can exercise the option. If the extension option does not meet the interim measures, you may want to consider other options (i.e. to determine if there is an enterprise VOR, you can contact Supply Chain Ontario at BPSSupplyChain@ontario.ca) to explore the availability of enterprise contracts or opportunities for collaboration that are available for your consideration. Note that Supply Chain Ontario will share information about inquiries with funding ministries on a regular basis.
Should you decide to continue with an extension that does not meet interim measures, please complete and submit the Procurement Rationale Report Form. (see chart for additional details on the form and process).
18. What is the plan to communicate with provincial agencies, and how will they be supported as they implement the new interim measures?
Each ministry will send information about the interim measures to the provincial agencies for which they are responsible; the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines will communicate with Ontario Power Generation and the Independent Electricity System Operator. Supply Chain Ontario is also available to provide support, advice and guidance to agencies. Note that Supply Chain Ontario will share information about inquiries with funding ministries on a regular basis.
19. What is the plan to communicate with the select BPS organizations, and how will they be supported as they implement the new interim measures?
Each ministry will send information about the interim measures to the BPS entities for which they are the primary funding source. Supply Chain Ontario is also available to provide support, advice and guidance to agencies. Note that Supply Chain Ontario will share information about inquiries with funding ministries on a regular basis.
20. When do these new interim measures take effect?
The new interim measures and corresponding business procedures for procurement reporting and procurement rationale reviews become effective as of March 18, 2019. Any procurements released to the vendor community before this date may continue as planned.
21. How long will the Interim measures be in effect?
The interim measures will be in effect until further notice.
22. Should ministries consider updating the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their provincial agencies to reflect the Interim measures for the OPS? What about Transfer Payment (TP) agreements with a select BPS organization to reflect interim measures for the BPS?
No, it is not necessary or appropriate to update MOUs with provincial agencies or TP agreements with select BPS organizations.
23. Are BPS organizations required to use a shared service organization or a bulk buying agreement?
Note that funding ministries will inform BPS organizations how the interim measures will apply to them - please refer to question 12. If the interim measures apply:
BPS organizations should use available VOR arrangements, where one exists. BPS Organizations can use OPS Enterprise VORs, or Shared Services Organizations (SSO) and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) master agreements. SSO and GPO master agreements or other bulk buying arrangements often provide excellent value for money, and if they have been established using fair, open transparent and trade compliant procurement process they meet the definition of Vendor of Record arrangement for the purposes of interim measures.
Where use of a VOR or bulk buying arrangement is not possible or appropriate, the select BPS organizations may be required to submit a Procurement Rationale Report Form to their funding ministry at least 45 calendar days before the procurement is released to the vendor community.
24. If I use an Ontario Public Service (OPS) enterprise-wide VOR arrangement or an SSO or GPO master agreement, may I sign a contract longer than two years?
Yes. The procurement activity for VOR arrangements happens when the contract is established.
25. When should a Procurement Rationale Report Form be completed?
For the OPS: Please complete the Procurement Rationale Report Form for all new in-scope procurements that are:
For select BPS organizations: If the funding ministry has informed the BPS organization that this is a requirement, then the BPS organization would submit the Procurement Rationale Report Form for all new in-scope procurements that are:
The table below shows scenarios where a procurement rationale form may be required
|$350,000 good/service, not available on VOR-type arrangement, contract less than 2 years with extensions||NO||Contract 2 years or under|
|$100,000 good/service using enterprise-wide Volume Licensing Agreement, 3-year contract including extensions||NO||Using enterprise-wide agreement|
|$20,000 good, invitational, not available on VOR, 4-year contract||NO||Value under $25,000, measures do not apply|
|$100,000 good/service, sole source, 3-year contract||YES||Contract over 2-years|
|$5M construction related, 5-year contract||NO||Not required for construction|
|$600,000 goods, not on VOR, 3-year contract, already have organizational approval but not posted||YES||Contract over 2 years and not posted before March 18. 2019|
|$40,000 service, not available on VOR, 5-year contract, posted March 10, 2019 but contract not signed||NO||Posted prior to March 18, 2019 announcement|
|Good/service over $25,000; 1-year contract + 1-year extension||NO||Total contract 2 years or under|
If it is not a requirement, then the organization may voluntarily submit the Form
26. Where can I find the Procurement Rationale Report Form and how do I complete it?
The Procurement Rationale Report Form is available from the Ontario Forms Repository and includes instructions on how to complete it.
In addition, SCO will be hosting information sessions for ministries, provincial agencies and BPS organizations about the interim measures. Dates and registration information will be available in the "Information for Buyers" section of the Doing Business with Ontario website.
Further, you can contact your responsible ministry for more information. In addition, SCO is available to provide advice and guidance at BPSSupplyChain@ontario.ca if you have questions or comments that are not addressed in the FAQs or the information sessions. Note that SCO will share information about inquiries with funding ministries on a regular basis.
27. What is the process for the BPS/provincial agency to submit a completed Procurement Rationale Report Form for review?
Provincial agencies should submit Forms directly to SCO. Your responsible ministry may ask for a copy to be provided to them
BPS organizations should submit the forms directly to their responsible ministry.
28. Where do ministries send the Procurement Rationale Report Form received from the select BPS organizations?
The Form should be sent to BPSSupplyChain@ontario.ca within 10 days of receipt.
29. Who needs to sign the Procurement Rationale Report Form before submitting it?
OPS: The signator is at the discretion of the OPS organization.
30. After I submit the Procurement Rationale Report Form, do I need approval from SCO/the funding ministry in order to proceed with the procurement?
No, SCO will engage with BPS organizations on potential opportunities, where available, after reviewing the rationale. The submission of the Form does not change the organization's authority to proceed with the procurement as planned. For clarity, once the Form is submitted, the organization can post the procurement when planned.
31. Are maintenance and equipment servicing contracts also covered by the interim measures?
Yes, these types of service contracts are included, unless the contract:
32. What will the Procurement Rationale Report Form be used for?
This Form provides information needed to identify savings opportunities across the OPS and the BPS. Using the information provided SCO will provide a response to organizations. This response may provide advice on contract terms, collaboration or use of enterprise contracts for consideration, after reviewing the Form. The submission of the Procurement Rationale Report Form does not change the organization's authority to proceed with the procurement as planned. For clarity, once the Form is submitted, the organization can post the procurement when planned.
33. Is there a standard procurement forecast report and guideline to be used by all organizations?
Information about planned procurement reporting will be provided soon. We will also be scheduling information sessions specific to reporting obligations throughout the interim period. There will be opportunities for stakeholders to participate.
34. What time period needs to be included on the forecast of procurements?
The forecast should include procurements planned for 2019, 2020 and 2021 and should be updated every six months as part of the Activity Update Report.
35. Will omnibus submissions be allowed? For example, a number of "like" projects or projects that are linked captured in one rational report.
The procurement rationale form is designed to address individual procurements and each form has an electronic 'submit' button. The information on individual procurements is required to help identify opportunities to pursue collaborative bulk buying opportunities to achieve efficiencies and leverage other spend opportunities to support centralization. As such, an omnibus approach is not being used.
36. Will data and summary reports be shared with ministry procurement teams?
There is no plan to share the summary reports with procurement teams at this time. The Ministry MGCS is working to gather procurement information on an enterprise level to identify opportunities to pursue potential collaborative bulk buying arrangements that opportunities to achieve efficiencies and leverage other spend opportunities.
37. How do the measures relate to the legislation that governs an agency? Specifically the regulations in an act that enable an agency to procure independently. For example, Metrolinx Act, 2006, Section 8 "Duties of Corporation re procurement". Will modifications be made/required to the act(s) to address/support centralization activities?
The interim measures are mandatory for ministries and agencies. Each oversight ministry has been directed by Cabinet to look into the applicable policy tools that govern their agency/BPS to facilitate compliance with the transition rules.