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Doing Business With Durham Region

You are invited to join the many other businesses currently providing goods and services to Durham Region. We have developed this guide to assist you in doing business with Durham Region.

Selling goods and services to Durham Region is very much a two way street. Durham Region cannot operate without the goods and services provided by private businesses. On the other hand, taxpayers expect their taxes to be spent in a fair and equitable manner for jobs that are well done. For this reason Durham Region purchases required goods and services in an open competitive environment.

What Durham Region Buys

Durham Region purchases a variety of goods and services, in fact too many to list here. The following list however provides a high level overview of the most commonly purchased goods and services:

  • Buildings and Facilities; Repairs, Maintenance, & Janitorial
  • Computer & Network, Hardware & Software
  • Construction of Roads, Buildings and Other Regional Infrastructure.
  • Consulting and Professional Financial, Business Management, Medical, Engineering and Architectural Services
  • Energy, Fuels, Storage, and Dispensing Systems
  • Fleet (Works and Transit) Vehicles, Equipment and Related Parts and Services
  • Food, Beverages, Kitchen Supplies and Equipment and Catering Services
  • Landscaping, Grounds Maintenance and Winter Snow Clearing Services (Regional Facilities)
  • Hardware, Electrical, Plumbing and Safety Supplies & Equipment
  • Laboratory Supplies and Services
  • Laundry Equipment, Maintenance, Supplies and Services, and Linens for EMS
  • EMS/Nursing/Public Health Medical and Dental Supplies & Equipment
  • Office Supplies, Furniture, Equipment, Stationery, Forms, Fine Papers
  • Phones, Cellular, and Two Way Radio
  • Roads, Traffic, Water main and Sewer Maintenance and Materials
  • Security Services, Systems and Armoured Car Services
  • Transportation, Customs Clearance and Moving Services
  • Waste and Recycling
  • Water and Sewage Plant Maintenance and Chemicals
  • Work Clothing and Uniforms
  • Printing and Promotional Needs
  • Daycare Supplies and Equipment

How We Buy

The majority of the goods and services purchased by Durham Region are through a competitive bidding process. The following is a brief explanation of the various types of procurement processes. The specific policies are contained in the Region’s Purchasing By-law 68-2000. A more detailed explanation of the following processes is contained in A Guide to Purchasing By Durham Region.

A Standing Agreement is for items in great demand throughout the year. Chemicals, tires, and office supplies, are some examples of the vast number of term contracts issued. These contracts are generally awarded as a result of a competitive bidding process and are let for one to three years in duration. The various Regional Departments normally release the goods or services directly from these contracts.

An Open Market purchase is for a one-time purchase. The following categories of Open Market purchases are possible:

  • An Informal Quotation is allowed when the purchase totals less than $40,000 but more than $5,000. Generally the Procurement Officer obtains prices verbally or in writing from suppliers and then awards the Purchase Order to the most advantageous supplier.
  • A Formal Quotation is required when the purchase totals less than $125,000 but more than $40,000. Formal written quotations are obtained from a minimum of 3 suppliers, wherever possible, and an award is made to the most advantageous supplier.  Formal Quotations may be faxed, or if distributed electronically, emailed directly to the Procurement Officer. Note that certain Formal Quotations are posted on this site and may be downloaded at no charge.
  • Formal Sealed Bidding is required when the purchase total exceeds $125,000. The process may be in the form of a Sealed Tender or a Request for Proposals ("RFP").
    • These bids must be submitted in a clearly identified sealed envelope following the instructions in the bid documents and are opened in a public meeting.
    • All Requests to Tender and Request for Proposals are posted on the Region’s website under Bidding Opportunities.
    • The requirements may also be advertised in newspapers or trade journals.
    • Certain Requests for Tender may also be Pre-Qualified. In these situations, a public invitation to submit a request to be pre-qualified will be posted on the Region’s website under Bidding Opportunities, and may also be advertised in newspapers or trade journals.
  • Tender Pre-Qualification, Expression of Interest ("EOI"), or Request for Information ("RFI") is issued when it has been determined that a preliminary qualification of bidders against a future tender call is required, or when the interest and general qualifications of potential bidders needs to be gauged to prepare terms of reference for a future project or formal bid opportunity.
    • These are preliminary submissions that are used only in special circumstances where the complexity, scope, or technological requirements are such that a preliminary qualification of bidders, or a submission of information in advance of preparing detailed terms of reference or tender specifications is deemed appropriate.
    • Bid prices are not requested for any of the above since these are submitted against a future tender or RFP.
    • Special Approval by Regional Council is required before issuing a Tender Prequalification since this results in an invited bid list for a future tender.
  • Small Value Purchases - There is a price limit to which the Region may purchase without going through a competitive bid, although every effort is made to obtain the best price. That limit is $5,000. For more detailed information about small value purchases click here.
  • Professional Service Contracts - Contracts for professional services may be handled in a slightly different manner than those for goods and services. Assignments for more than $50,000 are generally solicited, negotiated, and awarded through a competitive, sealed proposal process. Assignments may also be awarded to a specific company or individual with the approval of Regional Council. Assignments for less than $50,000 may be solicited, negotiated, and awarded without a competitive sealed process if certain conditions have been met.
  • More information is provided in the Region of Durham Purchasing Guide, which is provided in the Standard Documents and Forms Section.

Who Gets the Contract?

The Region generally awards contracts to the lowest responsible bidder for quotations and tenders. The lowest responsible bidder is one who:

  • Meets specifications;
  • Meets terms and conditions of the bid, formal or informal;
  • Provides the lowest price (subject to the availability of funds).

In the case of RFP’s, the criteria for award are specified in each RFP document. For purchases in excess of $125,000, Council approval of the award is required.