The Ontario government has released new guidelines for hiring
consultants. All consulting contracts will now be subject to a
competitive hiring process and consultants may no longer bill the
government for hospitality, food expenses or incidental costs.
The new guidelines apply broadly and affect all consultants, all
contracts regardless of dollar value, and all Ontario ministries
Under the old rules, contracts valued under $25,000 were not
subject to a competitive hiring process. Now, contracts valued at
less than $100,000 must use either an invitational competitive
process with a minimum of three qualified vendors or an open
competitive process. Contracts valued over $100,000 must all use an
open competitive process.
Exceptions may only be made in a limited set of circumstances
security/protection of human, animal, or plant life or
absence of any bids in response to an open tendering process;
where only one supplier is able to meet requirements due to
compatibility with existing products or statutory monopolies.
Any of the above exceptions relating to a Ministry contract or a
contract from a classified agency without operational independence
(i.e., adjudicative, regulatory, and advisory agencies) must be
approved by the relevant Minister.
Exceptions relating to a contract from a classified agency with
operational independence (i.e., operational services, operational
enterprises, Crown foundations and trusts) or a non-classified
entity (i.e., entities where the government appoints the Chair/CEO
but not the majority of board members) only require Minister
approval where the dollar value is greater than $100,000.
Consultants will still be able to bill for travel and
accommodation expenses that are directly related to an assignment
in accordance with the Travel, Meal, and Hospitality Expenses
Directive. However, these expenses must be pre-approved.
The government has stated that it will continue to use Vendor of
Record (VOR) arrangements as they are established through a
McCarthy Tétrault Notes:
Businesses and consultants engaging in contracts with the
government or its agencies should be prepared to participate in
competitive processes where they may not have been required to in
the past. This may also provide opportunities for new entrants to
participate in the tendering process and for existing providers of
services to expand their dealings through the competitive selection
processes. (For tips on how to improve the quality of proposals,
read our article on "
Responding to RFPs.")
Given the government's sensitivity to incidental expenses on
bills, companies that provide services to the government may wish
to review their internal billing guidelines and practices.
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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