Canada: New Public Procurement Complaints Process In Québec

A new procurement complaints process overseen by the Autorité des marchés publics (Autorité) will enter into force on May 25. This process will allow for the consolidated and uniform treatment of bid protests arising in the course of public sector procurements in Québec.

What you need to know

  • As of May 25, interested persons will be able to file complaints with the Autorité in relation to a public body’s decision in tendering and awarding public contracts.
  • The introduction of the process offers a more effective, transparent, and centralized manner of dealing with procurement issues.
  • The complaints process is subject to strict timelines and will require aggrieved parties to act swiftly in order to obtain redress with the Autorité.
  • The Autorité has broad remedial powers, which include:
    • ordering a public body to amend its tender documents or cancel the public call for tenders;
    • ordering a public body not to follow up on its intention to enter into a public contract by mutual agreement;
    • ordering the public body to call on an independent process auditor;
    • designating an independent person to act as member of a selection committee; and
    • suspending the performance of a public contract or canceling it.
  • In light of the new process, businesses participating in procurement processes should be aware of their rights and the relevant deadlines to file complaints and procuring entities subject to the new regime should ensure their procurement practices are compliant with all legal requirements.

What is the autorité des marchés publics?

The Autorité des marchés publics was created through the enactment of Bill 108, An Act to facilitate oversight of public bodies’ contracts and to establish the Autorité des marchés publics on December 1, 2017. This Bill was the Québec National Assembly’s answer to the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry, better known as the Charbonneau Commission. The creation of an independent body that would ensure the transparency and integrity of procurement processes in Québec was the Commission’s first recommendation.

The Autorité’s mission is to supervise all public contracts in Québec, including tendering and awarding processes, and to ensure their compliance with another key act, the Act respecting contracting by public bodies. The Autorité represents the creation of new administrative recourses to suppliers who partake in procurement processes, but also plays a key role in the continuous monitoring of public contracts and their performance.

How will the complaints process work?

Who is eligible, and for which contracts?

Any interested person or partnership, or their representative, may file a complaint with the Autorité regarding the tendering or awarding process for a public contract.1 The Autorité may also examine such contracts on its own initiative or at the request of the Chair of the Conseil du trésor or the minister responsible for municipal affairs.2

The scope of contracts for which the Autorité is responsible is quite large, and reflects the desire that the Autorité have the full latitude it requires in order to accomplish its mission.3 The Contracting Act defines the contracts that are subject to the Autorité’s oversight.4 These include supply contracts, construction contracts, and service contracts where public funds are spent, as well as PPP contracts. Of note, the Autorité also has powers in respect of contracts entered into by hospitals, schools, universities and municipal bodies.

Public contracts typically follow one of two processes: a public call for tenders or mutual agreement.

In a tendering process, the relevant public body issues a call for tenders published on an electronic tendering system and assigns the contract to the lowest bidder that satisfies all criteria as set out in the tender documents.5

In an awarding process, the public body does not issue a call for tenders, but rather enters into the contract by mutual agreement with the contractor. Public bodies may only use this sole source process in limited circumstances, such as an emergency that threatens human safety or property, where there is only one possible supplier or where the public body considers it will be able to prove that a public call for tenders would not serve the public interest given the object of the contract concerned.6 In these cases, the public body is required to publish a notice of intention at least 15 days before it enters into the contract. This notice sets out the nature of the contract, the name of the contractor, the reason for entering into the contract by mutual agreement, and other details.7 An interested party may then express interest to the public body in executing the contract. The public body then decides whether or not it maintains its intention and notifies the party of this decision at least seven days before the projected date for the contract’s conclusion.8

What can a supplier complain about?

An Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics (AMP Act) provides three main bases for complaints:

  • In the context of a tendering process, where tender documents contain conditions which do not ensure the honest and fair treatment of tenderers, do not allow tenderers to compete despite their qualifications, or are otherwise not compliant with the normative framework;9
  • In the context of an awarding process, where after the supplier has expressed interest in carrying out the contract to the public body that published a notice of intention, the supplier disagrees with the public body’s decision to maintain its intention;10 and
  • In the context of an awarding process, where the notice of intention was not published in the electronic tendering system.11

Moreover, a person can provide the Autorité with information on an anonymous basis about the tendering and performance of a contract where it appears the public body is not in compliance with the normative framework.12

What can the Autorité do?

The Autorité has broad remedial and investigative powers allowing it to intervene in a variety of ways where public contracts are concerned. Once an audit or investigation is concluded, the Autorité may do any of the following.

  • Order that the tender documents be amended.
  • Order that the public call for tenders be cancelled.
  • Order the public body not to follow up on its intention to enter into a public contract by mutual agreement.
  • Order the public body to call on an independent process auditor.
  • Designate an independent person to act as member of a selection committee.
  • Review and approve the composition of a selection committee.
  • Suspend the performance of any public contract or cancel such a contract.13

The Autorité also has powers allowing it to ensure compliance with any orders it has made, namely to require information necessary to its monitoring function or to be informed of steps taken to follow up on its recommendations.14

How does a supplier prepare a complaint?

The complaints process is administered through an electronic form which will become available shortly on the Autorité’s website. Deadlines for filing complaints are short so swift and diligent action will be necessary.

The first step for an aggrieved interested person, regardless whether the contract is concluded through a tendering or awarding process, is to bring its complaint to the attention of the relevant public body. This step is necessary before resorting to the Autorité’s complaints process.15

Where a person is not satisfied with the public body’s decision, it must file its complaint to the Autorité no later than three days after receiving the public body’s decision.16 These deadlines are adjusted for cases where the public body does not issue a decision before the closing date for the tendering process, or the projected contract date, in cases of contracts by mutual agreement.17

It is important to note that the Autorité will not process a complaint if a judicial remedy is already being sought.18


These new provisions represent an important new tool for participants in public procurement processes. They ensure a uniform treatment of complaints across industries and consolidate the process for many public bodies in Québec. Businesses should be sure to keep them close at hand when participating in tendering processes and public bodies should ensure that their procurement practices are compliant with the requirements of the Contracting Act.


1 An Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics, c. A-33.2.1, sub section 37-43.

2 AMP Act, section 53.

3 Québec, Assemblée Nationale, Journal des débats, 41st Leg, 1st Sess, Vol 44, No 212 (23 November 2016) at 12952 (Carlos Laitão).

4 Contracting Act, sub section 3-4.

5 Contracting Act, section 11.

6 Contracting Act, section 13.

7 Contracting Act, section 13.1.

8 Contracting Act, section 13.2.

9 AMP Act, sub section 37, 39. The notion of “normative framework” means the rules that apply to a particular body in procurement processes beyond those which are enumerated.

10 AMP Act, sub section 38-39.

11 AMP Act, section 42.

12 AMP Act, section 56 ff.

13 AMP Act, section 29.

14 AMP Act, section 34-35.

15 AMP Act, section 46(5).

16 AMP Act, sub section 37-38.

17 AMP Act, sub section 39-41.

18 AMP Act, section 46(7).

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions