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Bid Dispute Process

Government of Ontario’s Bid Dispute Process

The Government of Ontario has a bid dispute process to respond to complaints from vendors participating in Ontario government procurement processes.  This formal bid dispute process addresses complaints from suppliers observing or participating in procurement processes by Ministries and some Agencies. Please note that it does not address complaints about procurement processes conducted by Broader Public Sector (BPS) organizations (e.g. healthcare, education and municipalities, etc.). If your complaint is related to a BPS procurement process please reach out the procurement contact for that agency for issue resolution.

The bid dispute process ensures that procurement complaints are addressed and resolved quickly and efficiently. Complaints should be limited to those issues related to a breach of procurement policy or process. Any contract management issues should be resolved with the contract manager.

Before initiating a complaint, vendors must raise their concerns with the designated procurement contact and try to resolve the issue at the Ministry level.  As a vendor, you also have the opportunity to raise your concerns through the question and answer period of the procurement process or through a vendor debriefing meeting after the contract award. If you are not satisfied with the Ministry’s response, you may file a complaint and Supply Chain Ontario will address the issue through a formal review process. All applicable complaints will be reviewed and vendors will be provided a formal response.

Certain procurements may be subject to trade commitments to which Ontario is a party including The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), The Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement (OQTCA) and The World Trade Organization (WTO).

If your complaint is received before a contract is awarded, where appropriate, the government will try to preserve your opportunity to participate in the procurement.

If your complaint is successful after a contract award, you may be eligible for limited monetary compensation to cover your costs of preparing a proposal, or making a complaint, or both. There will be no compensation for lost profits, and procurement award decisions will not be overturned.

Note: Filing a complaint does not affect your ability to participate in ongoing or future procurement or seek any other legal recourse that may be available to you. If you have already initiated legal action related to your complaint, however, you may not use this bid dispute process.

How to file a complaint

To make a complaint about an Ontario government procurement, please:

All documentation must be addressed to the Director, Program and Policy Enablement Branch, Supply Chain Ontario, Ontario Shared Services, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and sent to:

Options following a central review

Following a central review, your legal rights related to the procurement process remain unchanged.

If you submitted a complaint about a competitive procurement, you may have a contractual right to seek recourse in Ontario’s court system and you should seek independent legal advice about initiating action.

If you submitted a complaint about a non-competitive procurement covered by Ontario’s trade commitments, and you do not have a contractual right to seek recourse in Ontario’s court system, you may seek recourse through an arbitration process and should notify the Director in writing if you wish to do so.

Taking these steps is subject to your independent legal advice. The procedure for the arbitration process and all available remedies will be in accordance with the requirements of Ontario’s trade commitments.

Note: This document is made publicly available to vendors to enable an understanding of the bid dispute process. Please contact doingbusiness@ontario.ca if you have any questions.