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Competitive Procurement

As a publicly-funded institution, all procurement activity at the University of Toronto should be conducted in a competitive manner to ensure the best value for public dollars. Best value for money does not necessarily mean selecting the lowest price option. It can include non-cost factors such as fitness for purpose, quality, service and support as well as cost-related factors such as life-cycle and transaction costs associated with using, maintaining and disposing of the goods or services.

Receiving maximum value is a fundamental objective when procuring goods and services for University business purposes; value can be measured in terms of quality and process outcomes achieved through supplier competition that results in:

  • Quality at optimal pricing
  • Reliable service and performance expectations
  • Consistent and efficient processes

Obtaining supplier quotations (up to $100,000) or issuing an open tender call (at or greater than $100,000) is required to allow suppliers in the marketplace a fair (that is, free from favouritism, self-interest or preference in judgment) and transparent (that is, timely information about existing conditions, decisions and actions relating to the procurement is made accessible, visible and understandable) opportunity to supply the University with needed goods and services.

Faculties and departments have delegated authority to purchase goods and services that do not exceed $100,000. These purchases must be compliant with the approval authority framework outlined in the Approval Authority Schedule.

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Procurement Thresholds

At the University of Toronto, competitive procurement for goods and services is a shared responsibility based on type, dollar threshold (before tax), documentation and authority.

Total Procurement Value: Thresholds Requiring Competitive Procurement

University of Toronto Procurement Policy
and BPS Procurement Directive
Procurement Method INFORMAL
(1 written quote)
(2 written quotes)
(3 written quotes)
(Tender Call / RFx)
Goods Up to $9,999 $10,000 – $49,999 $50,000 – $99,999 $100,000
Non-Consulting Services Up to $9,999 $10,000 – $49,999 $50,000 – $99,999 $100,000
Consulting Services i
N/A N/A Up to $99,999 $100,000
Construction Up to $9,999 $10,000 – $49,999 $50,000 – $99,999 $100,000

Procurement Authority

Local Unit Procurement Services
  1. Consulting Services must be competitively sourced regardless of dollar value.

uSOURCE and Approved Suppliers

To ensure value for money (price and administrative effort), Procurement Services established competitively-procured agreements with suppliers of commonly-used goods and services. These agreements can be used easily and effectively prior to selecting an alternate process; they are specifically designed to reduce the administrative effort which would otherwise require the community to source these products and services on an individual basis.

  • uSOURCE is the University of Toronto’s online marketplace; it is an eProcurement platform that provides a one-stop-shopping experience that will save time and money, offer more choice, and take the guess-work out of routine purchases. If the product or service is available through uSOURCE, orders may be placed directly without additional quotations, and invoices are paid automatically by the system. New suppliers and their offerings are added to uSOURCE when possible.
  • Approved Suppliers and Vendor of Record arrangements are established with suppliers for commonly purchased goods or services, and offer the following benefits:
    • Compliance with the University’s Procurement Policy
    • Leverage the spending power of the University, and the broader public sector (e.g. Ontario’s Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (MPBSD), the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM))
    • Provide competitive pricing and discounts
    • Have set terms and conditions
    • Reduce or eliminate requirement to obtain additional quotations

Obtaining Supplier Quotations

When the product/service is not available from a supplier on uSOURCE or from an Approved Supplier, the following should be used for guidance:

  • Make direct purchases for goods and services that are below $10,000 (informal procurement) without a Purchase Order (PO) by using the PCard or certified invoice;
  • Make purchases between $10,000 and below $50,000 provided these are supported by at least 2 supplier quotations and the purchase confirmed by PO; and
  • Make purchases between $50,000 and below $100,000 provided these are supported by a minimum of 3 supplier quotations and the purchase confirmed by PO.

Supplier quotation templates are available for use by the University community:

  • Invitation to Quote for Goods
  • Invitation to Quote for Services
  • Invitation to Quote for CFI-funded projects

For instructions and quote templates, see the Invitation to Quote SOP.

Competitive Procurement $100,000+

The purchase of goods and services at or greater than $100,000 must be available to all qualified suppliers in the market, and issued via open tender calls by Procurement Services on behalf of Faculties, Divisions, and Departments at the St. George campus. Purchase Orders of this value can only be released by:

  • Central Procurement Services for the St. George campus; or
  • Procurement for the Mississauga campus; or
  • Procurement for the Scarborough campus; or
  • Capital Projects Group in Planning, Design & Construction, University Operations (for major capital construction projects only).

To start the competitive bid process:

  • For St. George Campus, please complete the Competitive Bid Request form
  • For UTM and UTSC, email your respective procurement campus contact