The IRB Policy within the Government of Canada Procurement Process
Industry Canada, as the Government of Canada's IRB Authority, works with other federal government departments in the procurement process. It is most commonly the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Coast Guard that are purchasing equipment or services. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is the organization that handles all the contracting services for each project. The IRB Policy is part of the PWGSC procurement contract, and defines separate IRB terms and conditions that govern the application of the Policy.
Industry Canada works closely with the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED-Q), and Western Economic Diversification (WD). These agencies assist IRB contractors in making connections with companies in their respective regions. They are also involved in the development of IRB procurement strategies and the evaluation of bid proposals.
Once the Government of Canada decides on a procurement strategy for a particular project, a notice is released to the public. This can take the form of a Request for Information (RFI) or a Letter of Interest (LOI) and it is published on MERX, Canada's electronic tendering service. Interested bidders (potential IRB contractors) then begin the search for Canadian capabilities and possible business partnership opportunities that meet the IRB requirements to be outlined in the Request for Proposals (RFP). Typical outreach opportunities include:
- Major defence and security trade shows, industry days sector outlook presentations and conferences.
- Visiting the IRB website for more information on the IRB Policy, IRB obligations, current and future projects, and key contacts for each project.
- Engaging the RDAs for marketing assistance or to inquire about matchmaking opportunities or for IRB contractors who are looking for specific Canadian capabilities.
In due course, the Government of Canada, through PWGSC, publishes the specific project RFP. As part of a response to an RFP, bidders will need to submit an IRB proposal, along with their technical and pricing proposals. The IRB proposal contains plans that outline how the bidder will meet the IRB obligation. The proposal also contains specific IRB transactions equal to at least 30 percent of its bid price. Example: Company "A" responds to an RFP with a $100-million bid to sell military helicopters to DND. As part of its response, Company "A" would need to identify at least $30 million in IRB transactions. These plans and specific transactions would form the basis of the contractual commitments by the successful bidder.
Once the proposals are submitted, Industry Canada, along with the RDAs, conducts an evaluation of the bidders IRB proposals. The IRB evaluation team evaluates the bidder's IRB plans and specific transactions to ensure that they meet the requirements set out in the RFP. The plans and transactions are rated by a combination of quality and risk indicators. The bidder's IRB proposal must meet a minimum score to pass the IRB section of the evaluation.
The IRB proposal is a mandatory requirement of the overall project evaluation. If a bidder fails the IRB component, their entire bid would be eliminated from the procurement process.
The IRB results are rolled up with the technical and price proposals and a bidder is awarded the contract. Once the contract is signed, IRB contractors are then required to report on its achievements against its commitments on a yearly basis through an IRB annual report.
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