Procurement Procedure

Table of Contents

  1. Getting Started
  2. Procurement Processes
  3. Reporting Requirements to the Capital Assets and Finance Committee of the Board
  4. Exceptions to the Competitive Bid Process
  5. Collaboration with Other Organizations
  6. Suppliers
  7. Definitions and Information
  8. For More Information


This procedure describes how to purchase goods and/or services on behalf of Queen's.


1.      Getting Started:

Follow these five (5) steps and procedures prior to ordering, receiving the goods and/or services for smooth, efficient, and compliant purchasing.

Step 1:  Identify your requirements and specifications for a good or service. If you are planning to purchase a service (rather than a product / good), determine if it is Consulting or Professional Services. (See section 7 for definitions.)

Step 2: Determine the anticipated total Contract Value of your purchase.  “Contract Value” means the total dollar including the cash and in-kind commitments of a contract and or agreement, aggregated over its term and any contractually contemplated extension of its term, excluding all taxes.  Check to ensure there is sufficient funds available to pay for the purchase.  If a multi-year agreement is required, check that there will be adequate funds in future years to cover the purchase.

Step 3: Determine if there is an existing contract for the required goods or services by checking the Strategic Procurement Services web page for Preferred Suppliers and or contact Strategic Procurement Services (SPS). If there is an existing Vendor of Record (VOR) contract in place, an approved purchase requisition is required to be submitted into acQuire.  As the University has a contract in place, no additional quotes are required.

Step 4:  Based on the total Contract Value, determine the appropriate Procurement method and approval(s) required. (See Section 2 for details)

Step 5:  If the total Contract Value is under $100,000, you may proceed to obtain quotations on behalf of your department in accordance with the table in the procurement policy. If the spend is greater than $100,000, contact Strategic Procurement Services to assist in completing the purchasing process for a competitive bid.


Dollar threshold limits for procurement processes are outlined in the Procurement Policy. 

For purchases $10,000 - $99,999:

Supplier quotations can be obtained by direct email or telephone with minimal involvement of Strategic Procurement Services. Remember:

  • All quotations must include at a minimum (as applicable): validity for the current period, price, description of goods, quotation expiry date, part numbers and/or services, delivery Free On Board (FOB) to Queen’s, quantity and Net 60 terms of payment.  Improved payment terms are negotiable if suppliers support Visa Payables Automation.
  •  Quotations must be scanned and attached to your electronic purchase requisition.
  • Goods and or service work cannot be delivered or commence until Strategic Procurement Services has issued a confirmation Purchase Order to the successful supplier.  Any amendment to a contract must be administered by SPS.

For purchases >$100,000:

Open competitive process is mandatory.

  • Open competitive bids must be posted by Strategic Procurement Services on Biddingo (an online open competitive bid system) for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days. The Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ) templates may be used for this process.
  • Planning is essential to allow for the proper project management of complex competitive bids.  Strategic Procurement Services will work closely with you on confirming a timeline, appointing evaluation committee members and preparing the requirements and specifications for the RFP process. 
  • All contracts must be executed in accordance with the University’s Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Invoices, including Board of Trustees approval if applicable.


On a quarterly basis, sole source contracts greater than $2.5 million (50% of the Board approval threshold per the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Invoices) will be reported.

Each year, in December vendors with whom Queen’s has spent more than $10 million during the fiscal year (2x the Board approval threshold per the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Invoices) will be reported.



There are exceptions that allow the competitive bid process to be waived (per the Agreement for Internal Trade (AIT) and the Broader Public Sector (BPS) guidelines).

Refer to the Exception to Procurement Policy forms if you wish to use an exception, or are seeking a single/sole source exemption from the competitive bid process (see definitions section 6).

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that sufficient planning and timing be allowed for the competitive bid process to be implemented. Poor planning is not a sufficient reason to waive the process and proceed with single / sole sourcing.

A Special Note About Consulting Services and an Exception to Policy form (P0001C)

If the contract is for consulting services, a competitive quotation is mandatory, regardless of the dollar value of the spend.  Waiving the competitive bid process for consulting services requires approval from the Principal and for $1,000,000 or greater the Principal and the Board of Trustees.

Prior to engaging the supplier, provide the completed Exception to Procurement Policy form to Strategic Procurement Services. Strategic Procurement Services will assist in obtaining the appropriate approvals.

Exemption Examples:

There are exemptions and exclusions to the Purchasing Policy where a competitive bid is not required. A few examples are:

  • Personnel (benefits, wage and salary administration)
  • Goods purchased for resale
  • Utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.)
  • Insurance
  • Investment services
  • Library collections materials
  • Travel and business meal expenses
  • Advertising
  • Memberships
  • Emergencies

For further details, refer to the Exception to Procurement Policy form where they are listed or contact Strategic Procurement Services.


As one of the Broader Public Sector (BPS) organizations defined by the Government of Ontario, Queen’s University has the opportunity to participate in many of the Ministry of Government Services (MGS) contracts which have been issued as result of a competitive bid.

Queen’s can also elect to participate with the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM)’s VOR agreements.  Strategic Procurement Services can advise you on the categories that are available.

A contract is required to participate with either of the above organizations agreements.

Queen’s Strategic Procurement Services will assist in the preparation of the contract, with your input and a final review by Queen’s Legal department.

There are a number of preferred vendor contracts established through the Canadian Association of Universities Business Officers (CAUBO).  These contracts, which include information on pricing and rates for hotels, couriers, customs, etc, may be found on the Strategic Procurement Services web site. A contract is not required to participate in the CAUBO list of selected vendors.


Suppliers interested in viewing and responding to competitive bids for Queen’s are required to contact Biddingo, one of the Ontario Government approved electronic sites. Queen’s is not obligated to accept proposals that have not been accessed through Biddingo.  All competitive bids over $100,000 will be posted for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days.

Expenses incurred by suppliers will not be reimbursed unless specifically outlined in the contract

Suppliers are encouraged to support Visa Payable Automation; otherwise payment term will be Net 60.  For information on registering for either, contact the Strategic Procurement Services specialist.

For goods being shipped to Queen’s originating outside of Canada, Canada Customs documentation is required. Refer to the directions provided on the Queen’s purchase order.


Approver  The individual who has the authorized approval authority to approve a purchase or payment for the total spend amount (normally one level up). Refer to the Execution of Contacts and Documents / Approval Authority Schedule and/or applicable Policy.  

Bid – A supplier submission in response to Queen’s posting a competitive bid request (RFx).

Competitive Bid or Competitive Bidding – The purchasing process by which potential suppliers are invited to bid on the supply of goods and or services.

Consulting Services – The provision of expertise or strategic advice that is presented for consideration and decision making.

Controlled Goods – Items that are on the Canadian Export Control List. The Canadian Export Control list consists of a catalogue of goods and technologies whose possession and export are controlled by the Government of Canada. The list is divided into seven groups and different governmental agencies have authority to regulate specific groups. The Canadian Controlled Goods Directorate regulates three of these groups and classifies the items in them as controlled goods and technology, e.g., military, strategic, and military-related goods and technology, as well as dual-use goods such as specified advanced materials, and specified telecommunications systems and equipment.

Customs Brokerage – Any goods entering Canada are required to have the proper documentation provided with the goods and instructions for distribution in accordance with the Purchase Order or Contract issued.

Debriefs – Within the RFx templates listed above, there are provisions that allow any supplier, upon receipt of notification of Queen’s award for a project (successful or unsuccessful) to request a debrief within sixty (60) days of the notice being posted by Strategic Procurement Services. Any supplier request for a debrief must be directed to Strategic Procurement Services prime who lead the RFX;

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)  Payment may be deposited in the bank account directly, without issuing a cheque or other form of payment.  This is available to employees for reimbursement of eligible expenses and to suppliers for goods delivered or services completed to the satisfaction of the client. To register for EFT, obtain and complete the relevant form available from the Manager, Accounts Payable.

Emergency Purchase – A circumstance in which an immediate purchase or purchasing decision is necessary to prevent a serious delay, which could result in a threat to human life, serious damage to property, or suspension of the provision of an essential service.

Purchase the needed goods or services required to relieve the problem and seek the required approvals as soon as possible. Prepare a purchase requisition and note “emergency purchase required”.

External (Funding) Agencies  Organizations that provide research or other funding may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • Canada Research Chairs (CRC)
  • Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) (US)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Networks of Centers of Excellence (NCE)
  • Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

FOB – Free on board (shipping term).

Life of the contract – Initial contract period plus potential renewal periods.

Procure to Pay (P2P) – The process of the complete purchase through to payment.

Professional Services (non-consulting) – Those services provided by individuals or firms possessing the necessary professional licenses, certifications or training to undertake work within their specialization to contribute to the normal operation (in their regulated capacity) or contribution to defined and approved projects.  Some examples include licensed professionals such as Chartered Accountants, Professional Engineers, Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Architects as well as particular specializations from IT professionals, etc.

Helpful Tip:  Most of the time, you are probably hiring professional services.  These are the organizations or individuals who are “do-ers” (vs. consultants, which might be considered “thinkers”). Professional Service providers tend to have a hands-on role, actively creating, executing, or handling the work.  Contact your Departmental Service advisor for help determining if you are contracting a Professional Services provider or Consultant (consulting service provider), as different purchasing processes apply.

Purchase Order – A legal contract; a document generated by Strategic Procurement Services from the client-approved purchase requisition.

Purchase Requisition – An order for goods or services created in acQuire by the client; mandatory for goods or services not being purchased with the Queen’s Purchasing Card or purchased through acQuire.

Qualified Supplier - A supplier who is capable of meeting the specifications and requirements of a competitive bid.

Queen's Segregation Framework – Procurement roles requiring segregation of duties

Request for Quotation (RFQ) – An invitation to potential suppliers to demonstrate that they are willing and able to meet the specifications and requirements to provide the requested goods or services.  RFQs are not required to be posted on Biddingo for spends under $100,000 (cumulative dollar value), when the specifications of a product or service are known and price is the main or only factor in selecting the successful bidder.

Request for Proposal (RFP) – An invitation to potential suppliers to demonstrate that they are willing and able to meet the specifications and requirements to provide the requested goods or services. RFPs are generally required for large, complex projects estimated to have a total cumulative spend over $100,000. The RFP is posted on Biddingo to enable suppliers to view and respond with a proposal for pricing, specifications, requirements and company/staffing information, etc.

Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ) – A request for qualified supplier(s) to respond to a bid posted on Biddingo for specific goods and/or services, as the first stage in establishing a list of vendors of record (VORs) for subsequent project work.

Scoring Criteria  The attributes that apply to a specific competitive bid, e.g. price, quality, specification compliance, terms, conditions, experience and reputation. These are used to evaluate bid submissions and select the goods or service provider.

Segregation of Duties – Effective control in an organization includes both the delegation of authority and segregation of duties across functions and individuals. Segregation of duties prevents any one person from controlling the entire purchasing process by segregating approvals for the key stages of the supply chain process.

Sole Supplier – There may be circumstances in which there is clearly only one supplier who can provide the goods and/or service. (Eg. Oracle hardware and support.) You should obtain supporting documentation from the supplier that demonstrates that no other source is available. Complete the Exception to Procurement Policy form, and once you have it approved, attach it to your electronic submission for routing within acQuire to Strategic Procurement Services for processing.

Single Source – To ‘single source’ is to waive the competitive bid process entirely and directly select a supplier, even if there are other suppliers capable of fulfilling the requested order for goods or services.

Single sourcing requires a form signed by the Department Head and clearly indicating the reason for waiving the competitive bid process.

Statement of Work (SOW) – A formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline for a pre-qualified supplier or Vendor or Record, determined through a completed RFSQ.  The SOW includes detailed requirements and pricing.

Terms of Payment – Period of time available for payment without interest or penalty. Queen’s terms of payment for all supplier invoices are Net 60 days from the receipt of the invoice.  Any supplier requiring different terms must be approved by the Director, Strategic Procurement Services and Financial Services.

Vendor of Record - A Vendor of Record is a vendor with whom the university has a formalized relationship for a set of products or commodities, but one that is not necessarily exclusive.  A Vendor of Record has been established through an open Request for Supplier Qualification process which also includes the purchasing thresholds for that commodity.


For further information on Financial Services, visit:

For personal assistance regarding the above procedures, contact either the Director, Strategic Procurement Services at extension 32175 or the Associate Director, Strategic Procurement Services at extension 33380.   




Purchase Requisition

Authorize Strategic Procurement Services to place an order

Purchaser requesting the product or service and approved as per Contract Signing Authority Policy


Authorize that funding is available to cover the cost of the order

Authorized budget manager

Purchase Order

Authorize release of the order to the supplier under agreed-upon contract terms

Strategic Procurement Services as the Supply Chain Department


Authorize that the order was physically received, correct and complete

Individual receiving the products


Authorize release of payment to the supplier

Accounts Payable role within Financial Services

Date Approved:  April 2017

Approval Authority:   Vice-Principals' Operations Committee 

Date of Commencement:  May 2017

Amendment Dates: N/A

Date for Next Review:  Apirl 2022

Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines:  

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