Saskatchewan Government Introduces “Best Value” Procurement Legislation

This post was written prior to our January 2017 merger, under our previous firm name, MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP.

Authors: Braden Marianchuk, Nathan Schissel

Earlier this year, the Saskatchewan government released its Procurement Action Plan with the goal of improving fairness and consistency for Saskatchewan businesses participating in government procurement processes (including businesses that participate in procurement processes for IT projects and technology initiatives).   This week, the Province has followed through on one aspect of the Procurement Action Plan by introducing Bill 188, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Awarding of Contracts.

Bill 188 would amend The Highways and Transportation Act, 1997 and The Public Works and Services Act by implementing “best value” selection as the selection method for any public tenders that are issued under these Acts. The Acts currently require that all contracts be awarded on the basis of lowest price. Under best value selection, the Province would have the flexibility to evaluate bids on a broader range of criteria (such as experience, technical qualification, or knowledge of local regulations), which can be tailored to suit the needs of each individual procurement.

Aside from Bill 188 and best value procurement, the Province has announced the following additional policies to fulfill commitments originally made in the Procurement Action Plan:

  • Requiring vendors to declare any potential and perceived conflicts of interests, and requiring the procuring entity to address those conflicts
  • Requiring mandatory multi-staged procurement, with a process to short-list bidders having a reasonable chances of success, for goods and services contracts over $10 million, and complex projects of any size
  • Allowing vendors to request a debriefing following any procurement, in order to provide for feedback between the procuring entity and vendors

These policies are being implemented across all government ministries and Crown corporations. The Province has also committed to developing a “Procurement Code of Conduct” which would describe to both vendors and government purchasers what behaviors are expected in the procurement process.[1]

We will update readers on any developments relating to government procurement policy in Saskatchewan as this information becomes available.