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  • Related Documents:  Purchasing Policy
  • Approval Dates:  December 2006, February 2012
  • Approved by:  Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Jurisdiction:  Vice President, Administration and Finance, Financial Services



This procedure describes how to purchase goods and/or services on behalf of Ryerson University.

Applies to:

Faculty and Staff

What You Need to Know:

Ryerson University has specific policies and procedures in place to ensure that Ryerson abides by the Government of Ontario’s current Procurement Directives, which emphasize the importance of sound      management of public funds through competitive bids and transaction that are “fair, open and transparent”.

1.     Getting Started:

Follow these six steps and procedures prior to ordering, receiving the goods and/or services commencing or accepting an invoice for payment to ensure the correct processes are used for the purchase you need to make.

Step 1:  Identify your requirements and specifications for a good or service. If you are planning to contract for a type of ‘service’ (rather than a product / good), determine if it is Consulting or Professional Services. (See section 8 for definitions.)

Step 2: Determine how much the project will cost, or the anticipated total cumulative spend (dollar value). Check to ensure there is sufficient budget available for it.  If a multi-year agreement is required, check that the department has sufficient budget in this fiscal year and beyond.

Step 3: Determine if there is an existing contract for the required goods or services by checking the Purchasing and Payment Services web page for Preferred Suppliers. If there is an existing contract in place, an approved purchase requisition is required to be sent to Purchasing Services.

Step 4:  Based on the total cumulative spend, determine the appropriate purchasing method and approval(s) required to obtain a purchase requisition through Purchasing Services. (See Chart A.)

Step 5:  If the spend is under $25,000, you may proceed to obtain quotations on behalf of your department. If the spend is greater than $25,000, contact Purchasing Services to complete the purchasing process for a competitive bid.

Step 6:  All supplier invoices are required to be sent directly to Financial Services for scanning into the system.  It is very important that all invoices reference the Ryerson Purchase Order number – not the purchase requisition number or any other reference number.  Payment Services is responsible for electronically forwarding the invoice to you (as the requestor) for approval if it is over $5,000 as you have an important responsibility to confirm that the goods have been received or that the services have been completed to your satisfaction.  Invoices under $5,000 do not require your electronic approval and will be processed for payment if they match the Purchase Order. 

CHART A:   Purchasing Methods and Approval Levels

Table 1. Approval Authority Schedule (AAS) - Goods and “Professional” (or ‘Non Consulting’) Services (See Definitions, section 8)

Procurement Value $

Procurement method

Approval Authority

1 - 100

Petty cash

Purchase card

Manager, Chair or equivalent, or higher

1 - 5,000

Purchase card

Purchase order

Manager, Chair or equivalent, or higher

5,001 - 25,000

Invitational Competitive

3 quotes recommended

Manager, Chair or equivalent, or higher

25,001 - 100,000

Invitational Competitive

3 quotes required

Assistant Vice President, Dean, Senior Director or equivalent, or higher

100,001 - 1,000,000

Open Competitive (RFP)

ONE OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair, President, Vice President, Board Secretary

1,000,001 - 5,000,000

Open Competitive (RFP)

TWO OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair, President, Vice President, Board Secretary


Open Competitive (RFP)

ONE OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair, AND ONE OF: President, Vice President, Board Secretary


Table 2. Approval Authority Schedule (AAS) – Consulting Services (see Definitions, section 8)

Procurement Value $

Procurement method

Approval Authority

0 - 25,000

Invitational Competitive

3 quotes required

Manager, Chair or equivalent, or higher

25,001 - 100,000

Invitational Competitive

3 quotes required

Assistant Vice President, Dean, Senior Director or equivalent, or higher

100,001 - 1,000,000

Open Competitive (RFP)

ONE OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair, President, Vice President, Board Secretary

1,000,001 - 5,000,000

Open Competitive (RFP)

TWO OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair, President, Vice President, Board Secretary


Open Competitive (RFP)

ONE OF: Board Chair or Vice Chair  AND ONE OF: President ,Vice President, Board Secretary


As you can see in Chart A, the total cumulative spend determines which purchasing method applies and the authority approval required. In particular:

  • It is recommended that you use a Ryerson Purchasing Card to purchase goods or services (excluding consulting services) up to $5,000.  
  • Three (3) competitive bids are mandatory for purchases of goods or non-consulting (‘professional’) services over $25,000. For purchases in this category under $25,000, competitive bids are recommended but not required. (Table 1, above)
  • All consulting services, regardless of the spend, require an approved purchase requisition and a competitive bid to be completed. (Table 2, above)

Here’s your complete guide to determine which type of competitive bid process applies to your purchase:

A.   Goods or Professional Services (excluding Consulting Services) with a total cumulative spend between $5,000 and $25,000:

Three (3) competitive bids by invitation are recommended.

The three (3) invitational competitive bids are recommended but not mandatory.  Supplier quotations can be obtained by direct email or telephone with minimal involvement of Purchasing Services. Remember:

  • All bids must include at minimum: price, description of goods, part numbers and/or services, delivery FOB to Ryerson, quantity and terms of payment Net 45 days.
  • Bids may be scanned and attached to your electronic purchase requisition when forwarding to Purchasing Services.
  • Goods and or service work cannot be delivered or commence until Purchasing Services has issued a confirmation Purchase Order to the successful supplier.

B.   Purchases of Goods or Professional Services (excluding consulting services) with a total cumulative spend over $25,000 but under $100 000;

- OR -

ANY Consulting services, $0 up to $100,000:

Three (3) invitational competitive bids are mandatory.  

The Request for Quotation (RFQ) template is used for these quotations.  Purchasing Services will work with you to prepare the template with the appropriate requirements and specifications.

  • Quotations from a minimum of three suppliers are required and these can be directed.
  • All suppliers interested in bidding on these goods and/or services are to direct their submissions to Purchasing Services.

C.    All purchases of Goods or Professional Services over $100,000;

- OR -

All Consulting Services over $100,000:

Open competitive bids are mandatory.

  • Open competitive bids are required to be posted by Purchasing Services on MERX (the Government of Ontario’s online open competitive bid system) for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days. The Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ) templates may be used for this process.
  • Planning is essential to allow for the proper project management of complex competitive bids.  Email or telephone the Manager, Purchasing who will assign a Purchasing Agent to structure the RFP or RFSQ.  Please ensure you have finalized your requirements which include all similar scope specifications that you may need in the next three to five years.  Also, determine if one supplier is to be awarded (RFP) or if a pool of pre-qualified suppliers is your preferred option (RFSQ).  This will ensure the competitive bid is inclusive and complete as well as provides your department with a document that will meet your future requirements without having to repeat the RFP process each year.
  • Submit an approved purchase requisition (PR); make sure you have clearly identified the total budget funds to be encumbered.
  • If the total spend is unknown, and a (PR) is unable to be prepared with the required information, a Request for Competitive Bid document is required to be completed and approved signaling your Departments Heads approval to proceed with the project.
  • Purchasing Services will work closely with you on confirming a timeline, appointing evaluation committee members and preparing the requirements and specifications for the RFP. 
  • Also, keep in mind that the Oracle i-Procurement system is set-up with the appropriate hierarchy department approvals required to commit Ryerson dollars to a your PR before it is forwarded to Purchasing Services to create the PO and send to the Supplier.

Helpful Tip: If you have an approved budget spend, do not to create separate PR’s to split the order to the same Supplier or to avoid a competitive bid. Departments may elect to create one blanket purchase order annually per supplier.  If you are interested, please contact Purchasing Services for additional information.

FAQ #1:  What’s the difference between the process for an RFQ (Quotation) vs. that of an RFP (Proposal) and RFSQ (Qualification)?

Answer:  In the RFP and RFSQ process, evaluation committees of (minimum three (3) ) Subject Matter Experts (SME) are involved early in the process to finalize and prepare the requirements, timeline, questions and responses to the suppliers as well as agreement for the scoring criteria.

Once a supplier has been selected, following the completion of the scoring, Purchasing Services provides notice that the competitive bid has been awarded on MERX and the Ryerson website, as well as issuance of formal letters to all successful and unsuccessful suppliers.  Purchasing Services completes the process by preparing an Executive Summary for sign-off by the evaluation committee, Department Head (Stakeholder) and Director of Purchasing.

NOTE: The Government of Ontario’s BPS Directive allows suppliers to request a debrief within thirty days of posting the award.  All requests are to be made in writing to Manager, Purchasing Services.  If the Supplier is not satisfied with the outcome of the debrief, a formal bid dispute is required in writing to the Director, Purchasing and Payment Services.

FAQ #2:  How is a Vendor of Record (VOR) or Preferred Supplier established?

Answer:  There are a few Preferred Supplier relationships already established through CAUBO.  Refer to the Purchasing Services website.   Also, Suppliers who meet the qualifications in a RFP or RFSQ competitive bid process are deemed to be a “Vendor of Record” (VOR - a pool of prequalified suppliers) or a Preferred Supplier (single) to Ryerson University.  The RFP and RFSQ competitive bid process is outlined in section 2C above.

Vendors of Record:   following signing of a Master Services Agreement (MSA), Ryerson will issue a Statement of Work (SOW) for upcoming related projects to the pre-qualified VORs in accordance to Chart B below.  This establishes individual project pricing, availability and capacity to complete the work on time, along with any additional instructions.

The SOW specifications and requirements are to be forwarded to Purchasing Services for projects expected to exceed $25,000.  If the spend is below $25,000 the department my direct the SOW to one of the VOR’s on the prequalified list.

FAQ #3:  What is the process for obtaining supplier contract/agreement approvals?

AnswerSuppliers are required to sign Master Service Agreements (MSAs) before any goods or services can commence. The MSA is normally for a period of three (3) to five (5) years. (See Execution of Contracts and Documents policy for approval authority guidelines.)  Ryerson’s Purchasing Services will assist in the preparation of the contract, agreement or memorandum of understanding with your input and a final review by Ryerson’s Legal department. This process requires that a Risk Management Checklist template is completed and attached to the contract for internal review and approvals.  All agreements,  including supplier contracts, memorandum/ letters of understanding or lease agreements with a cumulative spend exceeding $25,000 require a Risk Management Checklist to be prepared and submitted by the client with the agreement for signature approvals regardless of whether they are multi-year or one time only.


The following table outlines the number of recommended VORs to be invited to submit quotes during the second stage selection process based on the individual project value.  However, in an emergency situation any of the VORs may be contacted directly to address and remedy the emergency.

Total Cumulative Value of Project:

Number of VORs to Direct SOW to:


One or more VORs may be selected to bid

>$25,000 but <$100,000

Minimum of three or more VORs must be included
>$100,000 but not to exceed $5,000,000 All VORs on the list must be included



            (Including exemptions and exceptions):


There are exceptions that allow the competitive bid process to be waived (per the Agreement for Internal Trade (AIT) and the Broader Public Sector (BPS) guidelines).

Refer to the Request to Waive (RTW) document found at Use this document if you wish to claim an exception, or are seeking a single/sole source exemption from the competitive bid process (see definitions section 8).

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that sufficient planning and timing be allowed for the competitive bid process to be implemented. Poor planning is not sufficient reason to waive the process and proceed with single sourcing.

A Special Note About Consulting Services and a Request to Waive

If the contract is for consulting services, a competitive bid is mandatory, regardless of the dollar value of the spend.  Waiving the competitive bid process for consulting services requires approval from the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Vice President, who will then request the approval of the President (for purchases up to $999,999), and by the Board of Governors if greater than this amount.

Prior to engaging the supplier, provide the completed Request to Waive document to Purchasing Services. Purchasing Services will assist in obtaining the appropriate approvals.

Exemption Examples:

There are exemptions and exclusions to the Purchasing Policy where a competitive bid is not required. A few examples are:

  • personnel (benefits, wage and salary administration)
  • goods purchased for resale
  • utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.)
  • insurance
  • investment services
  • library collections materials
  • travel and business meal expenses
  • emergencies

For further details, refer to the Request to Waive document where they are listed or contact Purchasing Services.



As one of the Broader Public Sector (BPS) organizations defined by the Government of Ontario, Ryerson University has the opportunity to participate in many of the Ministry of Government Services (MGS) contracts which have been issued as result of a competitive bid.

Ryerson can also elect to participate with the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM)’s VOR agreements.  Purchasing Services can advise you on the categories that are available.

A contract is required to participate with either of the above organizations.

Ryerson’s Purchasing Services will assist in the preparation of the contract, with your input and a final review by Ryerson’s Legal department. This process requires that a Checklist for Risk Management template is completed and attached to the contract for internal review and approvals.

There are a number of preferred vendor contracts established through Canadian Association of Universities Business Officers (CAUBO).  These contracts, which include information on pricing and rates for hotels, couriers, customs, etc, may be found on the Purchasing Services web site. A contract is not required to participate in the CAUBO list of selected vendors.


For externally funded research grants and contracts, refer to their respective guidelines. All such guidelines and applicable university policies and standards must be met.


Suppliers interested in viewing and responding to competitive bids for Ryerson are required to contact MERX, the Ontario Government approved electronic site. Ryerson is not obligated to accept proposals that have not been accessed through MERX.  All competitive bids over $100,000 will be posted for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days.

Effective September 1, 2011, expenses incurred by suppliers will no longer be reimbursed unless allowed under a current contract.

Suppliers are encouraged to participate in Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) for efficient payment of invoices.  For information on registering for EFT, contact the Manager, Payment Services.

For goods being shipped to Ryerson originating outside of Canada, the required Canada Customs documentation is required. Refer to the directions on the Ryerson purchase order.


Approver The individual who has the authorized approval authority to approve a purchase or payment for the total spend amount (normally one level up). Refer to the Execution of Contacts and Documents / Approval Authority Schedule and/or applicable Policy.  

Bid - A supplier submission in response to Ryerson posting a competitive bid request (RFx).

Competitive Bid or Competitive Bidding – The purchasing process by which potential suppliers are invited to bid on the supply of goods and/or services.

Consulting Services - The provision of expertise or strategic advice that is presented for consideration and decision making.

Helpful Tip:  Generally, these are companies, organizations or individuals providing ‘strategic advice’ or expertise. Their advice often results in a report with recommendations presented for consideration and decision-making. Sometimes we consider these types of advisors as “thinkers”. These can include such services as business management planning, information technology (IT) and research and development consulting services, among others. Contact your Departmental Service advisor for help determining if you are contracting a Consultant or a Professional Services provider, as different purchasing processes apply.

Customs Brokerage – Any goods entering Canada are required to have the proper documentation provided with the goods and instructions for distribution in accordance with the Purchase Order or Contract issued.

Debriefs – Within the RFx templates listed above, there are provisions that allow any supplier, upon receipt of notification of Ryerson’s award for a project (successful or unsuccessful) to request a debrief within sixty (60) days of the notice being posted by Purchasing Services. Any supplier request for a debrief should be directed to Purchasing Services; your department has the option to participate.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – Payment may be deposited in the bank account directly, without issuing a cheque or other forms of payment.  This is available to employees for reimbursement of eligible expenses AND to suppliers for goods delivered or services completed to the satisfaction of the client. To register for EFT, obtain and complete the relevant form available from the Manager, Payment Services.

Emergency Purchase - A circumstance in which an immediate purchase or purchasing decision is necessary to prevent a serious delay, which could result in a threat to human life, serious damage to property, or suspension of the provision of an essential service.

Purchase the needed goods or services required to relieve the problem and seek the required approvals as soon as possible. Prepare a purchase requisition and note “emergency purchase required”.

External (Funding) Agencies – Organizations that provide research or other funding may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • Canada Research Chairs (CRC)
  • Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) (US)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE)
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Professional Services (non-consulting):  Those services provided by individuals or firms possessing the necessary professional licenses, certifications or training to undertake work within their specialization to contribute to the normal operation (in their regulated capacity) or contribution to defined and approved projects.  Some examples include licensed professionals such as Chartered Accountants, Professional Engineers, Medical Doctors, Lawyers, Architects as well as particular specializations from IT professionals, etc.

Helpful Tip:  Most of the time, you are probably hiring professional services.  These are the organizations or individuals who are “do-ers” (vs. consultants, which might be considered “thinkers”). Professional Service providers tend to have a hands-on role, actively creating, executing, or handling the work.  Contact your Departmental Service advisor for help determining if you are contracting a Professional Services provider or Consultant (consulting service provider), as different purchasing processes apply.

Purchase Order – A legal contract; a document generated by Purchasing Services from the client-approved purchase requisition.

Purchase Requisition – A order for goods or services created in i-Procurement by the client; mandatory for goods or services over $100.00 that are not being purchased with the Ryerson Purchasing Card.

Qualified Supplier - A supplier who is capable of meeting the specifications and requirements of a competitive bid.

Request for Quotation (RFQ) – An invitation to potential suppliers to demonstrate that they are willing and able to meet the specifications and requirements to provide the requested goods or services.  RFQs are not required to be posted on MERX for spends under $100,000 (cumulative dollar value), when the specifications of a product or service are known and price is the main or only factor in selecting the successful bidder.

Request for Proposal (RFP) – An invitation to potential suppliers to demonstrate that they are willing and able to meet the specifications and requirements to provide the requested goods or services. RFPs are generally required for large, complex projects estimated to have a total cumulative spend over $100,000. The RFP is posted on MERX to enable suppliers to view and respond with a proposal for pricing, specifications, requirements and company/staffing information, etc.

Request for Supplier Qualification (RFSQ) – A request for qualified supplier(s) to respond to a bid posted on MERX for specific goods and/or services, as the first stage in establishing a list of vendors of record (VORs) for subsequent project work.

Request to Waive (RTW) – A Purchasing Services template required when electing to not follow the competitive bid process as otherwise required by Ryerson policy.

Scoring Criteria –The attributes that apply to a specific competitive bid, e.g. price, quality, specification compliance, terms, conditions, experience and reputation. These are used to evaluate bid submissions and select the goods or service provider.

Sole Supplier:   There may be circumstances in which there is clearly only one supplier who can provide the goods and/or service. (Eg.:Oracle hardware and support.) You should obtain supporting documentation from the supplier that demonstrates that no other source is available. Complete the Request to Waive (RTW) document, and once you have it approved, forward it to Purchasing Services with your approved purchase requisition.

Single Source:   To ‘single source’ is to waive the competitive bid process entirely and directly select a supplier, even if there are other suppliers capable of fulfilling the requested order for goods or services.

Single sourcing requires a RTW document signed by the Department Head and clearly indicating the reason for waiving the competitive bid process.

Statement of Work (SOW) -- A formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline for a pre-qualified supplier or Vendor or Record, determined through a completed RFSQ.  The SOW includes detailed requirements and pricing.

Terms of Payment – Period of time available for payment without interest or penalty. Ryerson’s terms of payment for all supplier invoices are Net 45 days from the receipt of the invoice.  Any supplier requiring different terms must be approved by the Director of Purchasing and Payment Services.


For further information on Financial Services, visit our web site:

For personal assistance regarding the above procedures, contact the Manager, Purchasing Services, x6981 or call your Departmental Services Advisor.   

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