There is a question among suppliers regarding the tender and procurement websites that are available in Canada. In order to clarify the muddle and compare and contrast the options here is an explanation on the options in Canada.
There are several portals for accessing, participating in, bidding and winning business, which is advertised through a RFx, which is an acronym that is a variation on RFP, RFI or its lesser-used sibling RFQ. Suppliers can access competitive contracts and bid for the business available publicly.
The majority of this business is centred on the Public Sector as the government, and its related entities and organizations, is bound by legislation to offer its business openly, but on occasion private business is offered to bidders and suppliers on the private portals as well.
- Name: Biddingo (www.biddingo.com)
- Cost: $75/month (for national coverage)
Toronto-based Biddingo competes with Merx and roughly provides the same service. It hosts tenders for provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as related pubic sector contracts. It also scours the Internet for a limited number of private sector procurement bids. As of this writing Biddingo showed 1,884 tenders available for the last 30 days.
Biddingo offers pay-as-you-go access and pricing as well.
- Name: Buyandsell.gc.ca (www.buyandsell.gc.ca/procurement-data/tenders)
- Cost: Free
The Government Of Canada began making its tenders available on this portal beginning June 1, 2013. It is a free portal that hosts all current (and expired) Federal Government tenders and does not require registration. However, by registering a supplier could leave a profile behind and obtain its Procurement Business Number. Once an organization wins a contract the organization can get on a Standing Offer. The portal is run by Public Works And Government Services Canada (PWGSC). More recently, the government made moves to decentralize some purchases away from Public Works, but this portal remains the main source for procuring government needs. Since the government has various laws and international trade agreements it abides by there is a minimum threshold for bids which must appear on the website. As such, contracts for lesser amounts (typically less than $25,000) may or may not appear on the website.
Update: The government of Canada is transitioning to CanadaBuys as of 2020. Buyandsell.gc.ca will remain active for the foreseeable future.
- Name: Merx (www.merx.com)
- Cost: $233 (annual)
Ottawa-based Merx was previously the sole portal for hosting the Federal Government Of Canada’s tenders. This contract ended on May 31, 2013 and the Government Of Canada moved its tenders to Buyandsell.gc.ca. It hosts provincial and other government tenders now as it competes with Biddingo. As of this writing Merx showed 2,998 tenders available for the last 30 days. The portal is a unit of Montreal-based Mediagrif.
- Name: Ontario Tenders Portal (https://ontariotenders.app.jaggaer.com/esop/nac-host/public/web/login.html)
- Cost: Free
Here is a bonus inclusion as it is pertains to only one province. The Ontario Tenders’ Portal was run by US-based BravoSolution since April 1, 2014, which was acquired by Jaggaer in 2017. This website hosts Ontario Provincial government’s tenders. Its interface and search capability are archaic, but is the source for tenders for Canada’s largest province. All procurement opportunities valued at or above $25,000 for goods and at or above $100,000 for services and construction are posted on OTPM. As of April 1, 2018 vendors will no longer be required to pay user fees for online bid submissions on the Ontario Tenders Portal.
On occasion buyers break up their purchases into several chunks in order to push the value below the minimum amounts stated above and buy directly without using the portals.
All the above-mentioned websites offer search and e-mail notification services.
Post it in the Comments’ section if you have a question about any of these and I can help.