Sourcing FAQs


Two things. Value and Protection. You’re the experts, but you’re busy and don’t always have time to properly source. It’s imperative we ensure we’re always getting the best value for public dollar and being open, fair and transparent. As well, there’s federal, provincial and Queen’s legislation/policies around the ‘rules’ for buying. We’re here to safeguard and ensure the regulations we’re obligated to follow are being adhered to.

When you're investigating which buying threshold you need to follow, think about the total cost of your purchase. The total cost will include the expected costs you'll incur over the lifetime of the purchase, net of taxes. If you plan to have software in place for 5 years, you should be thinking about the upfront costs plus the yearly maintenance, licensing, etc. If your purchase is for CFI Research, the in-kind discount is included in your total price.


A purchase requisition (PR) is a Request to buy. You need approval before committing the University's money. The PR should be entered at the beginning of the purchase process. It will flow through workflow, then a PO will be issued to a supplier which is their notice that they can ship the goods, or provide the services. Questions will be asked when PRs come through Procurement and there are invoices attached as backup.

Technically, when you're putting your PR through acQuire, you don't. The system workflow will handle it for you. The Policy can be found here though: Purchase of Goods and Services Contracts Signing Authority

Preferred Suppliers

The Preferred Supplier program offers better value and service to the Queen's community, while adhering to the provincially legislated Broader Public Sector (BPS) Procurement Directive, 2011.

Since the release of the BPS Procurement Directive, higher education institutions are now held to the same standard as provincial government departments when spending public money on purchasing products and services with a focus on obtaining the best value via an open competitive and transparent process.

The Preferred Supplier program provides the Queen's community with a choice of suppliers that offer the best value and service for a variety of commodities. Each supplier has qualified through a fair, open and transparent process based on the merit of their proposal, either through a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ).

In addition, Queen's has been able to leverage campus-wide spend to offer the best deals to the entire campus community rather than individual departments or faculties.  The resulting agreements are being centrally managed and if any suppliers fail to meet their promised levels of product delivery and/or service, they could face removal from the program.

Further commodities will be considered for additional programs. Decisions on adding additional programs are based on spend data and feedback from the Queen's community.

Information is located on Queen's Preferred Suppliers pages.

Evaluation teams are selected from across campus based on users who are knowledgeable with the commodity and/or their department is a high user of the product or service. The procurement process is lead by a member of the Strategic Sourcing to ensure compliance to legislation and trade treaties.

The evaluation teams selected from across campus look at spend data for the university, along with market data to determine a suitable number of Preferred Suppliers for each commodity programs. The target is to cover at least 90% of spend and provide a choice of qualified vendors.

As an organization under the Broader Public Sector (BPA, Queen's has access to a number of collaborative agreements.  In some cases, these agreements provide the university with better value due to the larger spend/number of organizations involved.

Queen's can access the following agreements: Kinetic GPOMinistry of Government & Consumer Services (MGCS)Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM)Ontario University Procurement Management Association (OUPMA); or another collaborative contract/association that Queen's University is permitted to access.

Strategic Procurement determines the best path for setting up a Preferred Supplier program and collaborative contracts are considered, where appropriate.

Queen’s has made every attempt to invite incumbent suppliers for each category.  In some cases, suppliers chose not to respond to the open procurement process.  Strategic Procurement Services recommends that you contact the Preferred Suppliers to see if they can supply you what you need however if none of the Preferred Suppliers can provide you with a suitable replacement for a similar price then a purchase from a non-Preferred Supplier is allowable. 

We recognize that, for Research in particular, there are some very specialized products that can only be supplied by certain suppliers for a variety of reasons and users are still permitted to do so.  The purchase of an in-scope commodity from a Supplier other than one on the Preferred Supplier list will only be permitted with the consent of your Faculty/Administrative Unit and Strategic Procurement Services.

Queen's University has qualified three vendors to supply furniture.  These suppliers offer a large array of products at various price points and in various standards while ensuring compliance to the specifications the university must adhere to as a public institution.  These specifications include quality, safety, ergonomic and environmental standards.  Further details on the specification are available online: Furniture Safety and Performance Standards - this document is maintained by the Architecture and Design team team in Physical Plant Services.

The products supplied by the furniture Preferred Suppliers often appear to be expensive compared to those available via retail operations (i.e. Wayfair, Ikea, etc.) however the quality and durability of these products means they offer much better lifetime value while adhering to the standards required by a public institution.

If the Preferred Suppliers are unable to provide furniture to you or you have a special furniture order, an exception request will need to be made to Strategic Procurement Services and prior sign off from the Architecture and Design team will need to be obtained prior to the PO being approved.  Details can be found on the Furniture Preferred Supplier page.

On each of the Preferred Supplier webpages, there is a Strategic Procurement Contact noted. Please contact that individual to either get assistance with troubleshooting an issue or leave feedback regarding your experience. Preferred Suppliers have signed an agreement that states they must provide the service and products that they have included in their proposal and that they will be subject to regular performance and pricing reviews.

If a particular supplier continually fails to meet the terms of the agreement, Strategic Procurement has recourse within the terms of the agreement.

Depends on the commodity. On each of the Preferred Supplier webpages, the term of agreement is stated and whether an extension term is available. Please view the applicable Preferred Supplier page to view the agreement term.

Queen's is supporting the process of central contract and procurement management as directed by the Broader Public Sector (BPS) Procurement Directive. Centrally managed contracts offer the opportunity to leverage campus-wide spend to gain better deals for everyone on campus compared to decentralized contracts negotiated by individual departments.