The Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) came into force in 1995
and is an agreement between Canada and the provinces and
territories (other than Nunavut). It has been amended and developed
over the years. The provisions on procurement apply to the
provinces and territories, and to identified Crown corporations.
There are specific provisions that apply to the MASH sector.
As with the NWTPA, the basic aim of the AIT is to avoid
discrimination between suppliers from different parts of Canada.
The AIT provides specific examples of measures that would be
inconsistent with the duty not to discriminate between suppliers.
biasing technical specifications in favour of, or against,
particular goods or services
timing events in the procurement process so as to prevent
suppliers from submitting
specifying quantities and delivery schedules of a scale and
frequency that may reasonably be judged as deliberately designed to
prevent suppliers from meeting the requirements
While these examples are specific to the AIT, they provide a
useful checklist for ensuring compliance with the other trade
The financial thresholds that apply under the AIT are larger
than in the NWTPA - $25,000 for goods, $100,000 for services and
$100,000 for construction. The thresholds are higher again for the
There are a number of exemptions to the procurement rules,
where an unforeseeable situation of emergency exists and
the goods, services or construction could not be obtained in time
by means of open procurement procedures
where the acquisition is of a confidential or privileged
nature and disclosure could reasonably be expected to compromise
government confidentiality, cause economic disruption or be
contrary to the public interest
where compliance with the open procurement provisions
would interfere with a party's ability to maintain security or
to protect human, animal or plant life or health
the absence of receipt of any bids in response to a call
where only one supplier is able to meet the requirements
of a procurement, but only in the specific circumstances,
to ensure compatibility with existing products, to recognize
exclusive rights or to maintain specialized products
where there is an absence of competition for technical
Although many of the exceptions are similar to those under the
NWPTA, there are differences, both in the particular wording and in
the overall scope of the exceptions. As always, the devil is in the
details. If a government entity wishes to take advantage of one of
the exceptions, care must be taken to review the exact wording and
to apply the relevant facts. Care must always be taken to ensure
that the exception is not being used as a reason to avoid
competition – there must be a legitimate reason underlying
the use of the exception.
The AIT has a similar dispute resolution process to the NWPTA,
although complaints must be made within 90 days after the
complainant acquired, or should have acquired, knowledge of the
facts that gave rise to the complaint. Complaints against the
federal government must be brought in the CITT, with the strict
time deadlines that apply there -
see previous blog posts.
Government entities should have a formal complaint process in
force to allow suppliers who consider that there has been a breach
of the AIT's procurement rules.
Next we will look at the international trade agreements to which
Canada is a party.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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While that agreement mandated export measures on Canadian softwood lumber exports destined for the United States, it also protected those lumber exports from the potential imposition of onerous import measures by the U.S.
On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its first tariff classification decision since Canada signed the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in 1998.
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