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Promoting Your Goods and Services

It pays to promote your goods and services to federal government departments, to let them know what goods and services you have and why you should be their supplier. If you\'re not persistent, departments won\'t get to know your products or services. This fact sheet tells you how to dig for opportunities.

* Goods Contracts Under $ 5,000
* Contracts Under $ 25,000
* Service Contracts
* Know the End User\'s Needs
* Emphasize Your Unique Features
* Focus Your Energy

Goods Contracts Under $ 5,000

Many departments do not use Public Works and Government Services Canada\'s (PWGSC) procurement or contracting services for goods contracts under $ 5,000. They hold their own competitions by getting bids from companies listed with them. Getting to know the materiel managers in the departments that need your goods or services, will probably enhance your chances of obtaining contracts.


Contracts Under $ 25,000

Promoting your goods and services should also help you in your chances to bid on opportunities valued at less than $ 25,000 ($10,000 for printing). These are the requirements where PWGSC uses source lists (except for Science, Informatics and Professional Services opportunities which are advertised on MERX™, unless a service requiring special accreditation is required). When departments send PWGSC a requisition for goods or services, they also list suggested sources. We include these suggested suppliers on the bidders\' list.

Doing a good job promoting your goods and services to client departments, could get you named as a suggested source.


Services Contracts

PWGSC is responsible for buying about 18 percent of all services for client departments. They must work through PWGSC for mandatory services: that is, services that must be provided by a common service organization. These include, for example, architectural and engineering services, legal services and the disposal of surplus goods.

Departments can choose to do their own contracting for services that aren\'t mandatory. Find out how departments buy your services and market them accordingly.


Know the End User\'s Needs
When you\'re writing a proposal or making a bid, you\'re not allowed to talk to the end-users in the client departments. If you have questions about the bid opportunity, you have to ask the PWGSC procurement officer. If you\'ve spent time getting to know the end-users, you\'ll know what they need and what they like - and you can try to meet those special requirements in your bid or proposal.


Emphasize Your Unique Features

Make departments aware of your special selling features. Advise them of the qualities that differentiate you from your competitors.

For example, say your management consulting firm comprises a group of consultants and technical specialists with post-graduate degrees and 10 years\' experience. You may want to mention these special assets to the managers with whom you would like to do business.

If your products are environmentally friendly, you should mention this to prospective government clients. Departments are being encouraged to buy \"green\" and are looking for products and services that help or do not harm the environment.


Focus Your Energy

To save time before you pound the pavement, research your government market and focus your marketing energy on the right people. Blanketing the marketplace with promotional flyers, or telephoning everyone in sight will only waste your time, energy and money.

* Target departments and agencies that use your goods and services.
* Use government phone books (regional and National Capital editions) and departmental organization charts to pinpoint potential areas of business. Phone books (print or CD ROM version) can be ordered from Canadian Government Publishing at (613) 941-5995 (National Capital area) or 1 800 635-7943. To request copies of organization charts, contact the Communications or External Relations Branch of the applicable department.
* Contact the people in the organizations, directorates and divisions within departments that need your goods and services. Most departments will designate one person as a technical authority or coordinator for a particular product or service. Ask for the names of people who have the financial authority to make purchases.
* Often, materiel managers make great contacts. They\'re responsible for identifying their departments\' requirements, forwarding requisitions to PWGSC and figuring out specifications. Many departments have regional materiel managers as well; ask your local PWGSC office for a copy of the list of regional materiel managers.

How the Government of Canada Buys Goods and Services

* Process
* Competition
* Exceptions
* Methods of supply
* Contracts
* Standing Offers
* Supply Arrangements

The Government of Canada spends about $20 billion a year on goods and services. As the Government’s main purchasing arm, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) plays a key role by helping departments define their requirements or scope of work, and obtain the goods and services they need at the right price.

PWGSC must meet the contracting objectives of the Government of Canada—to procure goods and services in a way that enhances access and competition, treats industry fairly, and gets the best value for Canadians. Every purchase is subject to Canadian laws, regulations, government policies, and must meet Canada’s trade obligations.


In keeping with Government of Canada policy, PWGSC purchases goods and services using a competitive procurement process whenever possible and only follows a non-competitive process on an exceptional basis.

There are several ways of doing business with us:

1. By selling directly to government departments and agencies via cash, acquisition card (credit card), local purchase order or contract.
* Goods: Departments have authority to buy up to $5,000 directly from suppliers. Over $5,000 they must go to PWGSC.
* Services: Departments can buy services directly (with a few exceptions).
2. By accessing MERX™, the electronic tendering service.
3. By registering on-line as a supplier for goods and services


The Government of Canada advertises procurement opportunities to solicit bids from potential suppliers. Once bids have been received, PWGSC and government departments work together to evaluate the bids based on predetermined criteria, and the supplier that offers the best value wins the contract.

The Government Electronic Tendering Service, through MERX, is the Government of Canada’s tool for advertising government procurement opportunities. PWGSC uses MERX to advertise most requirements for:

* printing services worth $10,000 or more;
* goods and services estimated at $25,000 or more;
* communications services valued at $50,000 or more;
* construction and leasing services worth $100,000 or more; and
* architectural and engineering consulting services estimated at $76,500 or more (in effect Jan. 1, 2008).

For more information about MERX, call 1-800-964-MERX (6379) or visit the MERX Web site at


The Government of Canada can enter into a contract with a supplier, without soliciting other bids, only when:

* there is a pressing emergency, such as a an life-threatening situation, a disaster which endangers the lives of Canadians or may result in loss or damage to government property;
* the estimated value is less than $25,000 for goods and services or $100,000 for architectural, engineering and construction services, where it is not cost effective to use a competitive process;
* it would not be in the public interest due to the nature of the work (for example, requirements dealing with national security such as military projects to ensure that future needs of government can be met); or
* only one supplier is capable of fulfilling the requirement or performing the work, such as when a supplier owns a copyright or a licence.

Methods of supply

PWGSC buys goods and services using the following methods:

* contracts;
* standing offers; and
* supply arrangements.


Contracts between PWGSC and its suppliers contain a pre-defined requirement or scope of work, and set terms and conditions including pre-determined quantities, prices or pricing basis, and delivery date. A contract is the best method of supply when the requirement is customized and unique to one government department.

Sometimes, for contracts for services only, when the Government is unable to define the precise nature and timing of a service in advance, PWGSC includes a provision for “task authorizations”. A task authorization is a structured administrative process to authorize work by a supplier on an \"as and when requested\" basis in accordance with the terms and conditions of an existing contract. In other words, w hen the services are eventually required, the Government issues a task authorization to the supplier. This task authorization identifies the scope of the services, the timing, and any specific instructions (such as expenditure reporting based on pre-established financial limits). Examples of services where task authorization contracts might be considered appropriate are professional services for translation, informatics professional services, and some types of repair and overhaul services.

Standing offers

Standing offers are the preferred method of supply when one or many government departments repeatedly order the same goods or services, which are readily available, or when the actual demand (i.e. quantity, delivery date) is not known in advance. Standing offers are put in place, for a specific period of time with pre-qualified suppliers who have met the technical criteria, and include set terms and conditions, which cannot be further negotiated.

Standing offers save the Government time and money, as a separate process does not need to be conducted for each purchase and prices are often reduced due to volume discounts. The Government is not obliged to purchase any goods or services until a need arises, at which time a contract is put in place. Items bought through this method of supply include food, fuel, pharmaceutical supplies, spare parts, paper supplies, office equipment, and some professional services.

Supply Arrangements

Supply arrangements, like standing offers, are put in place for goods or services that are purchased on a regular basis from pre-qualified suppliers but the Government is not obliged to purchase any goods or services until a need arises, at which time a contract is put in place.

However, although supply arrangements include some set terms and conditions that will apply to any subsequent contracts, not all are predetermined. For example, prices, pricing basis or terms and conditions for hazardous waste disposal or cleanup may be further negotiated based on the actual requirement or scope of work. PWGSC routinely purchases IM/IT professional services using this method of supply.

Supplier Registration

Register in the Supplier Registration Information (SRI) service as a potential supplier to the Government of Canada. SRI is used by federal government buyers to identify potential suppliers for purchases not subject to any of the trade agreements (for which they use MERX).

An important feature of SRI is the Procurement Business Number (PBN) created using your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Business Number to uniquely identify a branch, division, or office of your company. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is using the PBN for its purchasing and payment systems as a supplier identifier code. Other federal government departments are gradually adopting the PBN as part of their purchasing activities.

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