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 May 2017      

 

What to expect from the new Canada Free Trade Agreement 

 

On April 7th, the Government of Canada released the full text of the Canada Free Trade Agreement (CFTA). The intent of the agreement between the federal government and the provinces/territories is to promote economic growth, enhance Canadian competitiveness, and reduce and eliminate trade barriers between jurisdictions.

As it applies to the consulting engineering sector, initial review suggests that the new rules focus on removing geographical and jurisdictional barriers. In other words, a firm’s postal code cannot be used as a selection criterion. Furthermore “relevant experience” cannot be limited to a specific jurisdiction. The agreement also requires transparency and consistency of the procurement methodology and criteria to be used.

The agreement appears to preserve the ability to use prequalification, shortlisting and standing offers. Also of note, it allows a purchasing organization to engage in negotiations. Consequently, the agreement should not preclude the use of QBS. This is encouraging as it would appear the gains made by the Member Organizations on procurement, especially QBS, will not be compromised.

ACEC is seeking a more formal legal opinion on the implications of this new agreement on the business climate for the consulting engineering sector. Stay tuned to future issues of Source for a more detailed analysis of the CFTA and its implication for ACEC-Canada members.

In the meantime, the full text can be found here