Whether you feel that a public body has acted improperly in its tendering procedure, or you’d like to obtain information on the tendering and bidding process, we’re here to help!
While many questions can be answered with the help of the guides, sample letters and forms in our legal toolkit, an independent jurist affiliated with PSP Legal will always be happy to help you by answering any questions you may have.
Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner take charge of your situation and intervene directly and quickly on your behalf, you can also request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal represent you by clicking here.
What are calls for tender and bids?
A call for tenders is a procedure used by a public authority to select its co-contractor, inviting all interested parties to propose their services for the performance of work specified in a public notice. This type of procedure is not mandatory for construction contracts under $25,000, under articles 935 and 936 of the Quebec Municipal Code.
When implemented, the call for tenders process creates contractual obligations for both the client and the bidder. However, the call for tenders is subject to the reservation that the public body may not enter into the proposed contract in the event of a procedural flaw.
The content of the call for tenders differs from one contract to another. However, it must define with sufficient precision the obligations arising from the contract to be awarded. Here are some of the documents included in a call for tenders:
- The notice ;
- Instructions to bidders;
- Tender forms;
- Bonding and insurance forms;
- Plans and specifications;
- Studies and appraisals;
- Contract form.
In the private sector, invitations to tender are not required, as the client is free to choose his contractor. However, in the case of large-scale projects, it is often advisable to call for tenders in order to compare the offers of several competing companies.
A bid is the written document by which a person or company, in response to a call for tenders, offers its services for the execution of work and indicates the price for which it is prepared to carry them out. The bid is submitted in response to a call for tenders. It constitutes an offer to contract, not an acceptance to conclude. The bid is made in accordance with the requirements of the call for tenders. By submitting a bid, the bidder undertakes to comply with all the stipulations contained in the call for tenders, should the bid be accepted by the administration.
The aim of this procedure for awarding public or private contracts is to ensure that the work is carried out at the best possible cost to the taxpayer, or to the contractor in the private sector. The use of this process at government level also reflects the legislator’s desire to award contracts to entities governed by public law with transparency and impartiality, by promoting access for all suppliers to this considerable market constituted by the purchase of goods and services by the public administration, thus ensuring competition favourable to the latter.
Rights and obligations
The public body assumes its responsibilities as soon as it issues a call for tenders, even before the contract has been awarded to one of the bidders. In particular, the public authority undertakes to treat all bidders fairly and to respect the conditions it has itself issued. These obligations are necessary, as the call for tenders is a contract of adhesion, the clauses of which are fixed beforehand and unilaterally by one of the parties. This standard contract leaves the member with no choice but to accept the contract in its entirety or to refuse to contract. Tender specifications may specify, among other things, the origin of suppliers and labor for the execution of a particular contract, measures to promote general economy, and contractual provisions aimed at integrating certain groups (e.g., equal opportunity program).
It is therefore important for bidders to ensure that their bids are well drafted and understood, as they will be committing themselves to the public authority if their bids are accepted. What’s more, in the event of a call for tenders being cancelled for irregularity, a bidder’s right to bid a second time on the same call for tenders generally entails waiver of any recourse for damages in connection with the cancellation.
How we can help
Our legal toolkit includes a variety of online resources and links to templates and guides to help you better understand your obligations.
However, should the Legal Toolkit prove insufficient in your situation, you can obtain additional assistance by speaking with one of PSP Legal’s affiliated jurists:
Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner handle your situation, you can always request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal intervene on your behalf by clicking here. He or she will then be able to intervene directly and rapidly on your behalf by:
- Preparing, negotiating and drafting applications, procedures or any other legal documents related to your situation;
- Assisting and advising you on your legal rights and obligations;
- Representing you before the courts when legal action is taken;
- Guiding you through the choices available to you, leading to a fair and satisfactory solution.
PSP Legal, because you deserve expert advice!
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