Procurement FAQs

The City of Medicine Hat (City) Supply Chain is responsible for the management and oversight of procurement functions throughout the Organization.

As a public entity, all procurement activities are subject to regional, national and international trade agreements - i.e. Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA); New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) - as well as internal governance, policies and procedures & the Municipal Government Act.

Bidding opportunities are posted publicly for interested bidders who can fulfill the bid requirements outlined in the bid documentation. Generally, these bid opportunities include goods, services (including engineering/consulting) and construction and cover a broad range of procurement opportunities to support all City departments and their requirements. Due to the vast number of suppliers who are able and interested in providing goods and services, the City of Medicine Hat does not have a list of preferred suppliers.

Where does the City advertise bidding opportunities?

All open competitions are advertised on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) website, and on the City’s Bids & Tenders electronic bidding platform.
How do I obtain a bid package?
All competitive bid packages are uploaded to Bids & Tenders, including any/all addenda that may be issued. Interested bidders must create a free vendor account and register as plan a taker to be able to download the bid opportunity documents and submit responses or clarification questions through the Bids & Tenders portal.

What are the different types of competitive bidding the City uses and how does the City decide what format to use?

Generally, the City issues bid opportunities in three main categories: Goods, Services (including Engineering/Consulting) and Construction. Typically, the project team, in conjunction with procurement, determines the evaluation criteria and the solicitation format. Each project and each scope of work is unique. The format of the competition can vary based on the nature and complexity of the work as well as the operational needs of the end-user department. The evaluation criteria (technical and commercial) are outlined in the bid package.

  • Invitation to Tender (ITT) – it is used where there is a need for legally binding, irrevocable bids, typically supported by bid security, and price is the primary consideration. Will include well-defined specifications, requirements and Contract terms and conditions, as post-bid negotiations are typically not permitted.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) No-Negotiation (Contract A) – it is used where there is a need for legally binding, irrevocable bids and where factors other than price will be evaluated. Will include well-defined specifications, requirements and Contract terms and conditions, as post-bid negotiations are typically not permitted.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) Consecutive Negotiations – it is used where proposals will be ranked on price and non-price factors and the top-ranked proponent will be invited to negotiate the final Contract. This format allows for a more flexible process to encourage innovative and creative proposals that may help in the development of final specifications or performance terms through the negotiation of the final Contract.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) Concurrent Negotiation (Dialogue/BAFO) – it is used where proposal will be ranked on price and non-price factors to create a short-list of proponents that will be invited to engage in negotiation or discussions with the City prior to submitting a best and final offer (BAFO). This format allows for a more flexible process to encourage innovative and creative proposals, and is particularly useful where the nature of the project may allow for a variety of potential approaches and solutions that the City could consider and use to refine the requirements prior to the submission of BAFOs and final ranking and selection of bidders.
  • Request for Quotation (RFQ) Low-Bid – it is used on the basis of lowest price and standard contract terms that will not require negotiation.
  • Request for Quotation (RFQ) High-Score – it is used on the basis of straightforward high-score evaluation criteria and standard Contract terms that will not require negotiation.
  • Request for Information (RFI) it is used to conduct structured & transparent market research & information gathering from potential suppliers. It is not to be used to pre-qualify bidders or restrict participation in future competitive process.
  • Expression of Interest (EOI) – it is used for the purposes of gathering information about the marketplace in order to assist in the determination of future purchasing options or requirements.

Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ) – Prequalification – it is used to prequalify suppliers in the first stage of a two-stage Open Competition. Bidders who meet the requirements of the RFSQ are eligible to participate in the second stage procurement process and are invited to respond to a subsequent solicitation document. The second stage procurement can be any format of the ITT, RFP or RFQ detailed above.

How do I submit a bid?

Bids must be submitted through the City’s electronic bidding system (Bids & Tenders). Only electronic submissions are accepted. Instructions for submitting responses are contained in the bid package and Bidders are required to respond as instructed. The bid submission process is managed by the Bids & Tenders website and not the City. With any technical issues please contact the Bids & Tenders helpdesk. It is the sole responsibility of the respondent to ensure their submission is posted (uploaded and submitted) to Bids & Tenders prior to the stipulated closing date/time. The date/time of a submission is determined by the system's web clock. The bidding system will close the competition at closing time, late submissions are automatically rejected. 

Uploading large documents may take significant time, depending on the file size and internet connection speed. We strongly recommend that you give yourself sufficient time and at least one day before Closing Time to begin the uploading process and to finalize your submission. Bidders will receive an email confirmation receipt with a confirmation number upon finalizing their submission.

When do bids open?
Bid openings occur shortly after the stated closing date/time. All openings are non-public.

Can I make changes or withdraw my bid?

Making changes to, or withdrawing a submission is possible prior to the Submission Deadline. Bidders can un-submit the bid through the “withdrawal submission” function in the bidding system. At bid submission time the system locks all access for bidders and no further modifications are possible.

To withdraw a bid after the Submission Deadline, a notice of withdrawal, signed by an authorized representative of the bidder must be sent to the Procurement contact listed in the solicitation documents.

What happens to my bid after submission? How long do I need to wait for the results of a competitive bid and how do I know if I won?

The City of Medicine Hat awards contracts based on the lowest price or best evaluated submission. Evaluation criteria (technical and commercial) are used to determine the best evaluated submission, and these are clearly stated in the bid package, along with the weighting for each rated criterion.

The evaluation process starts with Procurement conducting the commercial review after bid opening and continues with the user department conducting the technical evaluation after. Once the successful bid submission is selected the user department prepares an award recommendation which needs to be approved at the appropriate level (i.e. City Manager, Admin Committee). These steps could take up to a couple of weeks depending on the complexity and value of the project. 

Contract award information, such as the name of successful contractor and the value of the contract award are posted on both the APC and the City’s Bids & Tenders site. Please note that the value of unsuccessful bids will not be posted. The applicable trade agreements mandate the City to post award information within 72 days of awarding a contract. 

A preliminary bid summary with the list of bid submissions is available after bid closing time. This summary also details the value of the submitted bids when the evaluation is solely based on lowest price. In case the bids are evaluated on various criteria the summary will only include the names of bidders only. A copy of the bid summary can be requested in writing from the buyer who is responsible for the project. The City will not post these summaries automatically.

Does the City provide debriefs?

Debriefings are provided to unsuccessful bidders upon request. The process to request a debrief is outlined in the bid solicitation documents.

The purpose of debriefing is to provide feedback to bidders of the strength and areas for improvements of their own submission to help better understand the competitive bidding process and the quality of their submissions so as to enhance the quality of their submissions in future. Information regarding other proponents’ submissions will not be provided.

Debriefs are not provided when cost is the only factor in the competitive Bid (i.e. Invitation to Tender).

Does the City pre-qualify contractors?

The City pre-qualifies contractors when the nature of the desired goods/services warrant it. Bidders who meet the requirements of the pre-qualification are eligible to participate in the second stage procurement process and are invited to respond to a subsequent solicitation document. The second stage procurement can be any format of the ITT, RFP or RFQ detailed above. The length and conditions of the pre-qualification are outlined in the RFSQ solicitation documents. 

Vendor qualification is typically used under the following circumstances:

  • where a department or multiple departments require the same type of goods or services on a regular or recurring basis, so it may not be efficient or cost-effective to initiate a completely new open competitive procurement process each time that particular good or service is required.
  • the goods or services being purchased are unique in nature or there is a high-risk regarding consequences of failure and pre-qualification is necessary to identify Vendors that are qualified to provide the goods or services.

Do I need to be registered in ComplyWorks to bid on City projects?

The City is firmly committed to the prevention of workplace injuries and safety. To ensure health, safety and environment (HSE) practices are adhered to at the workplace, the City has enhanced its requirements for Contractors wishing to bid on City projects. With the exception of exemptions listed below all Bidders must have an account with ComplyWorks which is linked to the City of Medicine Hat and designated as “Low Risk” status at the time of bid submission in order to be considered for a bid. Verification of compliance is done in-house.

Exemptions are:

  • Professional Service Providers
  • Material Suppliers
  • Contractors with less than 4 employees/owners

How to register for ComplyWorks?

If you do not have a ComplyWorks account or your account is not linked to the City of Medicine Hat, please contact our HSE department via e-mail hsecompliance@medicinehat.ca for assistance. Please be aware that after registration you will be required to complete a questionnaire and will be asked upload safety documentation which might take some time. Please do not leave ComplyWorks registration to the last minute.

My company is in ComplyWorks, why do I still need to provide documents (COI, BL) when I win a project?

For most projects, the City requires contractors to have very specific insurance policies. These requirements are dictated by the nature of the work and are included in the solicitation documents. ComplyWorks only verifies the expiry date of the uploaded certificate but does not verify/check those project specific requirements. 

Inquiries

For general inquiries regarding a specific project that has been posted, contact the Buyer listed in the advertisement.

For general inquiries on the City’s open competition process, please contact:
Supply Chain - Procurement
Email: purchasing@medicinehat.ca