Purchasing and procurement

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 and 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.

Bidding opportunities

Invoice information

Invoice submission requirements 

It is important to the City of Medicine Hat to pay its suppliers on time. Adhering to the following guidelines will assist with those efforts. Invoices that do not meet the requirements outlined in this document are subject to rejection. Suppliers will need to correct and re-submit for processing.

Standard invoice requirements 

Ensure every invoice submitted to City of Medicine Hat is legible, does not contain handwritten information, and meets minimum standards required by tax authorities (e.g., Canada Revenue Agency). All invoices must contain the following information:

  • Supplier legal company name
  • Supplier remit-to address with postal code/zip code and telephone number
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice amount pre-tax, tax breakdown (e.g. PST, GST, VAT), and total amount with tax
  • Invoice currency (must match currency on the purchase order)
  • Unique invoice number
  • Tax registration number(s) (e.g. PST, GST) or VAT identification number
  • Purchase Order and Contract Number (when applicable)

All supporting documentation to support invoice charges should be included with the invoice submission to ensure charges can be appropriately verified. This includes, but is not limited to, breakdown of hours/rates, timesheets, third party invoices, intercompany charges, markups applied, etc. Additional detailed supporting information may be requested.   

City of Medicine Hat invoice coding requirements 

In addition to City of Medicine Hat standard invoice requirements, purchase order (PO) and non-purchase order invoices have the following additional requirements:


PO invoicesNon-PO invoices
  • City of Medicine Hat purchase order number
  • Invoiced items must reference applicable Purchase order line item
  • Invoiced items must be itemized to match PO/contract including:
    • Quantity
    • Units
    • Rates
    • Description of material or service (including part # where applicable)

Please note, only 1 purchase order can be billed per invoice.

  • City of Medicine Hat supplier number
  • Quantity
  • Units
    • Rates
    • Description of material or service (including part # where applicable)

Payment of an invoice does not constitute acceptance of charges and remains subject to attest and audit as per terms and conditions of the contract.

Invoice submission instructions 

How to submit an invoice: 

Invoice to the City of Medicine Hat. 

Sending your invoice directly to an internal City of Medicine Hat business unit or function will delay payment. City of Medicine Hat has a standard payment term of 30 days from the date of receipt of the invoice (Net 30) by Accounts Payable, unless otherwise agreed upon within a contract. 

Invoice to be submitted via email as an attachment in a PDF or MS Excel file format. Please include Business Name, PO number, Contract Number, Invoice Number in subject line. 

Email invoice to AP@medicinehat.ca 

Please adhere to the following requirements:

  • One attachment per email submission
  • One invoice per attachment, including all supporting documentation
  • All attachments must be in PDF for MS Excel file format

Attachments must not exceed 30MB.

Considerations when preparing a submission
  • Read the documents thoroughly
    • Don't make assumptions. If something is not clear, ask during the question-and-answer period.
    • Review the solicitation documents to determine how your bid will be evaluated.
  • Follow the detailed instructions and requested format.
    • If evaluators have to search for pertinent information, they may miss it.
    • Where information is requested in the solicitation document, the response in the submission should reference the applicable section numbers.
    • Structure your response in the same way as the question is asked. Reference your response back to the Specification/Scope of Work document, demonstrating your approach of how you will meet the requirements. For instance, if a question asks if you have a Quality Policy in place, don’t just say ‘yes’. Give details about what your quality policy focuses on and how this relates to your operation.
  • Answer all questions and include all requested pricing information in your submission.
    • Mandatory Technical Requirements, or other mandatory items, stated in the competition are pass/fail and must be passed prior to further evaluations of your submission. Ensure you are clear on mandatory requirements and fulfillment of such.
    • Break down the technical requirements that have been stated and create your bid to demonstrate your ability to deliver each of those requirements.
    • Respond fully to rated criteria – we can only evaluate on the information you have provided.
    • Ensure you understand the requirements, the “rating criteria” evaluation, the weighted criteria, and the breakdown of points on how the proponents will be ranked and become the successful candidate. 
  • Submit a bid that is complete, clear, concise, and demonstrates your understanding of the requirements; be as detailed and specific as possible and provide evidence in your ability to deliver the requirements. Don’t assume the evaluators “know you” and “know your company” from previous projects. Be sure to include enough details to convince an evaluator who has no previous history with your company.
  • Review your pricing to avoid miscalculation.
    • When there is a discrepancy, the unit price prevails. The evaluator will calculate the correct extended amount and send out a Bid Error Notice to bidder.
    • Price your submission competitively.
  • Ensure you are clear and understand the terms and conditions of the contract and the competitive process:
    • Read the competition carefully to determine if there is any flexibility for the final contract, or if the terms and conditions must be accepted as received.
    • If you have concerns or questions, ask during the question-and-answer period.
    • Pre-Bid meeting/Site visit, virtual or in-person meeting. If mandatory attendance is required, submissions will only be accepted from bidders who attended the meeting, all other submissions will be automatically rejected.
    • Deadline for Questions
    • Deadline for Issuing Addenda
    • Submission Deadline
    • Rectification Period
    • Anticipated Ranking of Proponents
    • Anticipated Short List Presentations and Interviews
    • Anticipated Contract Negotiation Period
    • Anticipated Execution of Agreement
  • Attend Briefing Events, pre-bid meetings when they are offered. This will provide detailed knowledge of the opportunity you are bidding for.
  • Know your deadlines for submitting a bid. Your submission must be submitted and received by the City by the deadline clearly identified within the competition documents. The City will not accept late submissions.
  • Request a Debrief - whether you are successful or unsuccessful, the debrief provides a better understanding of where improvements can be made for the next submission.
General conditions
Debriefing unsuccessful bidders
A debrief provides suppliers with a better understanding of where improvements can be made for their next submission. Suppliers can also provide feedback and suggest ways to improve our tendering process.  This is also an opportunity for the City to provide transparency into the procurement process.

Debriefing is simply the act of meeting with an unsuccessful bidder to explain why their bid was unsuccessful. Debriefing is a fragile process. The City wants to be as helpful as possible to the unsuccessful bidder, but we also must maintain the confidentiality of another suppliers’ information.

Generally, the information provided to the bidder includes strengths of the bidder’s proposal, weaknesses of the bidder’s proposal, and the reasons for not accepting the bidder’s proposal. This helps the bidder understand their outcome in the procurement process.  As well, bidders may need to explain why they were unsuccessful to their senior management.

Upon request, the City must offer a debrief to any bidder who has taken part in a competitive procurement process where the evaluation criteria, beyond pricing, was included in the solicitation. The debrief can be over the phone, email, virtual meeting, or face to face. Debrief request needs to be submitted in writing and within the timeframe as outlined in the bid solicitation document.

What to expect at the Debrief?

It will take about 20-30 minutes for the debrief and the supplier's questions (unless email due to low complexity and low dollar spend).

The City representative in general should:

  • Be transparent on what the organization can and cannot disclose.
  • Explain the overall evaluation and scoring process.
  • Explain that debriefing is a way to help suppliers improve their competitive performance.
  • State that this is an informal discussion to explain how the supplier's bid performed against the evaluation criteria and not a forum to re-litigate the evaluation process.
  • Focus on the supplier; the strengths and/or opportunities to improve their proposal. Remember it is not personal.
  • State the number of proposals received.
  • Provide the reasons why the bid was not successful.
  • Explain how the bid performed against the evaluation criteria – explain why they scored lower – what was missing.
  • Indicate the advantages of the successful bidder at a general high-level (i.e. they were more competitive and/or technically ranked higher). 
  • answer any concerns or questions from the proponent.
  • If appropriate, identify how a Bidder could have achieved a higher score.  E.g. more points could have been achieved if this [specific type of information] (as requested in the criterion) was provided / described / specified. Was the Bid technically compliant but lost on price?
  • Be clear that commercial sensitivity and confidentiality (in relation to the other bids) place some restrictions on what you can say. State that you can’t provide detailed information on pricing. You can say where the supplier ranked on total cost. (i.e. you were competitive, lower or higher – nothing more detailed than this).
  • Stick to the facts.
  • Document and keep accurate records of the debrief in a file note.
  • Ask the provider for their feedback on the procurement process.

The City representative should not:

  • Say who the successful supplier was (nothing should be shared until the contract is signed).
  • Show the supplier anyone else’s offer documents or evaluation material.
  • Offer any admissions of fault or wrongdoing on the part of the City in relation to the scoring or the procurement process in general.

After the Debrief the City representative should:

  • Document the meeting on the debrief discussion (i.e. what information was provided and what questions were asked etc.).
  • Follow up on any outstanding points with the supplier in writing.
  • Give the supplier a summary of the debrief, if they ask for it.

Frequently asked questions

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 a plan 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.

Withdrawal of bids after Submission Deadline is not allowed when bid irrevocability period was included in the competition.

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 and 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. In order to work for the City of Medicine Hat, all contractors are to subscribe to ComplyWorks and upload the required documentation unless the contractor is considered exempt.

At the time of bid submission all Contractors must have an account with ComplyWorks which is linked to the City of Medicine Hat and be designated as “Low Risk” status in order to be considered. Verification of compliance will be done in-house.


  • Professional Service Providers (Consultants:  If Consultants are doing on-site direction of work, they are required to be in ComplyWorks. (i.e.: A consultant who is directing how/where an excavator is digging or directing the work of workers on site) Consultants/Engineering firms that do not direct the on-site work are not required to be registered in ComplyWorks.)
  • Material Suppliers
  • Contractors with less than 3 employees. The number of employees include owners and sub-contractors that have been hired by the contractor.
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. 


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 email purchasing@medicinehat.ca.