N.W.T. lowers threshold to bid on gov't contracts $10K

·2 min read
A construction vehicle sits at the site of an overflow on the Mackenzie Valley winter road in March 2019. (John Last/CBC - image credit)
A construction vehicle sits at the site of an overflow on the Mackenzie Valley winter road in March 2019. (John Last/CBC - image credit)

The Northwest Territories government is set to lower the threshold for formal tender processes from $25,000 to $10,000 to help more northern businesses get a "fair and equal" opportunity to compete for territorial contracts.

The change comes into effect on April 1 and will last until July 31, according to a government news release issued Tuesday.

"GNWT procurement is a significant contributor to the N.W.T.'s economy and to businesses all across our territory," said Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek in a statement.

"This change to the [government's] procurement process is being enacted to ensure that more northern businesses feel they have a fair and equal opportunity to compete for GNWT contracts."

Procurement is the process used by the N.W.T. government to buy and contract goods and services. Previously, the government could purchase goods or services worth less than $25,000 using a simple purchase agreement or contract.

For expenses over $25,000, departments were generally required to undertake a "competitive process." That means taking bids from companies in the form of a request for proposals (RFP) or a request for tenders (RFT).

Under the change announced Tuesday, expenses worth more than $10,000 can enter the competitive process.

Northwest Territories Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek picture in February. The minister says the change to the territory's procurement process is meant to ensure more northern businesses 'feel they have a fair and equal opportunity.'
Northwest Territories Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek picture in February. The minister says the change to the territory's procurement process is meant to ensure more northern businesses 'feel they have a fair and equal opportunity.'(Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

The release says purchases of general goods and services under $10,000 will continue under the current hierarchy for purchasing.

The short-term policy change is being implemented by the Departments of Finance and Industry, Tourism, and Investment using feedback from business development staff and the N.W.T. business community.

In late January, the territory announced it established an independent three-person panel to support the review of government procurement. This newly announced temporary change is set to be evaluated and assessed as part of the that review.