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OQTCA - Procurement Chapter

Backgrounder

OQTCA - Procurement Chapter

Office of the Premier

Last fall, the Premiers of Ontario and Québec signed a memorandum of understanding confirming their intention to reinvigorate and strengthen the trade relations between the two provinces.

They committed to explore opportunities to align the chapters of the Ontario-Québec Trade and Cooperation Agreement (OQTCA) with those in the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Ontario and Québec have now reached an agreement in principle on a revised OQTCA government procurement chapter. This is the most ambitious procurement agreement either Québec or Ontario has ever negotiated.

Key points

The chapter includes rules on the conditions for participation, publication, technical specifications, qualification of suppliers, disclosure of information, deadlines, bid protest, etc.

Almost all of the contracting entities of the two provinces are covered by the new chapter: ministries, agencies, municipalities, education and health networks, and state enterprises. All goods and construction service contracts are covered. Moreover, all service contracts are covered, with the exception of health and social services, financial services and services provided by certain professionals: doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians, surveyors, accountants, lawyers and notaries. The coverage of the new chapter is the most ambitious ever offered by Québec and Ontario to a trading partner.

The thresholds applicable to the new chapter are lower than those of the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) and CETA. The chart below shows the thresholds applying under those agreements. The thresholds will be adjusted in line with inflation every two years, which is a new feature compared to the current OQTCA chapter and the AIT.

Overall, the new chapter simplifies and streamlines various requirements within existing international agreements, making it more user-friendly for vendors and suppliers. Public bodies and taxpayers will also benefit from open, competitive and non-discriminatory procurement rules that ensure value for money in public procurement.

The revised chapter improves upon existing commitments to better reflect current procurement practices of both parties as well as covering a greater portion of procurement contracts.

Exceptions

The new chapter does not cover procurement of cultural industries, indigenous communities and non-profit organizations. Measures necessary for the protection of the environment, health, and consumers are excluded from the scope of the chapter. The Agreement also includes party-specific exceptions.

Entry into force

The Agreement will enter into force in two subsequent phases: January 1, 2016 for ministries and agencies and September 1, 2016 for other entities. The revised chapter of the OQTCA will come into force in 2016 ahead of the implementation of CETA and the renewal of the AIT.

Thresholds applying in the OQTCA, AIT and CETA

(Procurement)

Covered entitiesContractsOQTCAAITCETA*

Ministries and agencies 

Goods

$25,000 

$25,000

$315,000 

Services

$100,000  

$100,000 

$315,000 

Construction services

$100,000 

$100,000 

$7,800,000

School boards, academic, health and social services entities, and municipalities

Goods and services

$100,000 

$100,000 

$315,000 

Construction services

$100,000

$250,000 

$7,800,000 

Entities of a commercial or industrial nature

Goods and services

$500,000 

$500,000 

$630,000 

Construction services

$5,000,000 

$5,000,000 

$7,800,000 

*Note that the CETA thresholds are fixed in special drawing rights.


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