Elections Canada Supplier Recourse Mechanisms
Suppliers sometimes feel they should have been awarded a particular contract or that their proposal was wrongly rejected. When seeking recourse in either instance, suppliers should note that there may be strict deadlines for filing objections or complaints and that time periods vary, depending on the particular recourse mechanism. Suppliers are therefore urged to exercise vigilance in order to preserve their right to recourse and that an objection directed to Elections Canada does not prevent a supplier from seeking recourse elsewhere such as the Federal Court of Canada or the provincial or territorial superior court system.
The following recourse mechanisms are presented for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to every procurement or to every supplier. The applicable recourse mechanism will depend on several factors, which may include the applicability of the trade agreements, the basis of complaint, the dollar value in question, the status of contract award, etc.
Supplier recourse mechanisms may include:
A supplier is encouraged to first contact the Elections Canada contracting authority associated with the procurement process, or submit their request by email using the following address: Fournisseur-Supplier@elections.ca.
Chief Procurement Officer
Alternatively, should a supplier feel that further review and attention is required, they may raise their concerns with the Elections Canada Chief Procurement Officer:
Chief Procurement Officer
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, QC K1A 0M6
Office of the Procurement Ombudsman
The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) is a neutral and impartial entity that can review complaints about the award of certain federal contracts valued below $26,400 for goods and $105,700 for services—provided that certain criteria apply. These criteria include: that the complaint be filed in writing, that the supplier be Canadian, that filing be done within strict timeframes; that the facts and grounds of the complaint not be before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, or a court; and that the subject of the contract not be one of the exemptions or exceptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
In most cases, a supplier has 30 working days after public notice of the award of the contract to file a written complaint with the OPO. If there was no public notice, the supplier has 30 working days after the day on which the supplier became aware, or should have become aware, of the award of the contract.
The OPO can also review complaints about the administration of certain contracts, regardless of dollar value.
For full details, consult the Procurement Ombudsman Regulations, sections 7–14 for complaints regarding contract award, and sections 15–22 for complaints regarding contract administration.
In all instances, suppliers should act quickly due to the strict deadlines that may apply. For more information, please visit the OPO's Frequently asked questions on how to make a complaint, or contact the OPO by calling 1-866-734-5169 (toll-free) or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT or the "Tribunal") may conduct an inquiry into a complaint by a supplier that relates to any aspect of Elections Canada's procurement process for a designated contract.
In order to be considered a "designated contract," the Elections Canada procurement in question must be covered by at least one of the trade agreements under which Elections Canada has obligations with respect to procurement. You will find a list of these trade agreements on the CITT website.
As a general rule, a complaint regarding a procurement process must be filed with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal within 10 working days from the date on which a supplier becomes aware, or should have reasonably become aware, of a ground of complaint.
Alternatively, within that time frame, a supplier may first choose to raise its ground of complaint by way of an objection to Elections Canada; if Elections Canada denies the relief being sought, a supplier may then file a complaint with the Tribunal within 10 working days of that denial. In certain exceptional circumstances, a 30‑day timeframe for filing a complaint with the Tribunal may apply.
More information can be obtained on the Tribunal's website, by contacting the Deputy Registrar of the Tribunal at 613-993-3595, or visiting the CITT's Frequently Asked Questions – Procurement Inquiries page.