Changes to procurement rules by the broader public sector were announced by the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec today in Toronto.  The Premiers have agreed in principle to an update of the 2009 Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement (OQTCA) Public Procurement Chapter to align it with the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Since 2009, the OQTCA has covered buying by provincial ministries, schoolboards and municipalities, and other public sector organizations.  For municipal governments thresholds remain at $100,000 for goods, services, and construction.  The Chapter will be updated to align with CETA on public disclosures, information needs, qualification of suppliers, and other matters.  As well, the Chapter will include a protest process for unsuccessful bids, including municipal procurements.  Professional services and procurements covering cultural industries, non-profits, and indigenous communities are not covered.

The thresholds in OQTCA for municipal governments are lower than those in either the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) or the CETA.  AMO will be seeking clarification from Minister Duguid on the specific impacts that today’s announcement has for municipal governments including the need to adjust procurement by-laws and procedures to reflect the other requirements in the OQTCA Procurement Chapter.

Talks on the AIT are also being held by the provinces, territories and the federal government, and updates to the AIT are likely forthcoming.  However, no information is available at this time.

OQTCA changes will come into force for municipalities in September 2016.

For more information and details on procurement thresholds in each agreement, please see: OCTCA - Procurement Chapter.

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