Government procurement glossary of terms

You may come across unfamiliar terms when looking for information about selling to the government at the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels. These organizations use a variety of different terms. Use this glossary to help you with your research.

Bid: An indication of willingness to buy or sell goods or services or to undertake a task, at a specific price and within a specific timeframe.

Business Number: A unique, 9-digit business number that is assigned to your registered business by the Canada Revenue Agency as an identifier A free online tendering tool that helps you identify opportunities to sell your products and services or submit proposals to the federal government.

Call for tender/proposal: see Request for Proposal

Call-up: A business that holds a standing offer to supply goods or services to the government receives a call-up when the goods are required.

Commodity: A good or service that is bought and/or sold.

Contract: A pre-defined requirement or scope of work that sets the terms and conditions of the work or deliverables including pre-determined quantities, prices or pricing basis, and delivery date.

Invitation to bid: see Request for Proposal

Procurement Business Number: A number assigned to your business when you register it in the Supplier Registration Information service using your Business Number.

Proposal: A submission by one party to supply certain goods or services to another party. Unlike an offer, a proposal is not a promise or commitment but, if accepted by the other party, creates an expectation for the negotiation and establishment of a binding contract. If submitted in response to a Request for Proposal, it normally constitutes a bid.

Request for Information: A request made by the government to the supplier community for information and feedback on a proposed procurement strategy, prior to a Request for Proposal.

Request for Proposal: A document that solicits a proposal, made through a bidding process. Depending on factors such as the type of work being sought or the value of the goods being requested, different terms are used to ask bidders to show interest in a specific business opportunity. Some of the most common invitations or advertisements are: Call for tender, Invitation to bid, Request for proposal, Request for tender and Request for quotation.

Request for standing offer: Issued when a need is anticipated for a range of goods or services for a specific purpose, but the actual demand is not known, and delivery is to be made when a requirement arises.

Request for supply arrangement: Used to solicit arrangements from suppliers for the establishment of supply arrangements.

Request for tenders: see Request for Proposal

Request for quotations: see Request for Proposal

Standing Offer: Prearranged prices, terms and conditions are offered by a potential supplier to provide goods and/or services to the government on a recurring basis for a specific period of time. This takes place when government departments have recurring needs for goods such as office equipment or services such as repairs. No contractual obligation exists in a standing offer.

Supplier Registration Information: Supplier Registration Information is a database of registered government suppliers.

Supply arrangement: Negotiable prices with predetermined terms and conditions are offered by a supplier to provide goods, but most commonly services, to the government on an as-required basis for a specific period of time. Supply arrangements are used, in lieu of standing offers, when the methods/bases of payment frequently change or when a statement of work or commodity can't be predetermined.

Tender: A sealed bid submitted in response to a request for tenders and containing detailed information on requirements and terms associated with a potential contract.

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