Town of Canmore

Purchasing Policy

Date Approved:
May 21, 2013
council resolution:

1. Policy Statement

1.1. It is the policy of the Town of Canmore to foster open, transparent, and accountable purchasing practices that comply with provincial legislation and relevant agreement such as AIT and NWPTA.

2. Purpose

2.1. The purpose of this policy is to establish the practices under which the Town conducts purchasing activities.

3. Definitions

3.1. “Advertise” means publishing a notice in one local newspaper and on the Town of Canmore website;

3.2. “AIT” means the Agreement on Internal Trade, an intergovernmental Canadian trade agreement established to, among other things, prevent governments from establishing new trade barriers and to reduce existing barriers by eliminating local price preferences, biased technical specifications, unfair registration requirement and other discriminatory practices for non-resident suppliers.

3.3. “Best value for money” means the most advantageous balance between performance, price and quality;

3.4. “Essential services” are municipal services essential to the daily lives of Canmore residents, including but not limited to: supply of potable water, treatment of wastewater, road care and maintenance, waste pick-up, and emergency and protective services;

3.5. “NWPTA” means the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, an agreement between the Governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to form a barrier-free interprovincial market.

3.6. “Purchase” means to acquire goods, services, or construction in response to a business need;

3.7. “Request for proposal” means an invitation for a supplier to propose a solution to a problem, requirement or objective. It defines the scope of the project, deliverables or supplies and the criteria that will be used to identify the successful proposal;

3.8. “Request for quotation” means a request for a supplier to provide prices on specific products and/or services;

3.9. “Tender” means a formal public invitation to suppliers to bid on the provision of a service at a specific price, based on detailed specifications.


4.1. The chief administrative officer, general managers and managers are authorized to approve expenditures within the capital and operating budgets approved by council for their service area or areas.

4.2. An expenditure not included in the approved operating or capital budget must be approved by council before the expenditure is made, unless the purchase is due to an emergency.

4.3. In the event of an emergency, the chief administrative officer is authorized to make expenditures not included in the approved operating or capital budget to ensure continuous delivery of the Town’s essential services. 


5.1. All purchasing decisions shall be based on the principle of obtaining best value for money, taking into account any of the following criteria, as applicable:

a) fitness for purpose,
b) quality,
c)  reliability,
d) price,
e) lifetime costs and transaction costs,
f) useful-life expectancy,
g) innovation,
h) sustainability,
i) assurance of supply and deliverability,
j) anticipated customer service,
k) past performance, and
l) experience.

5.2. The lowest price will normally be accepted, but shall not be the sole determinate of best value for money.

5.3. Purchase from a business registered as being based in the Town of Canmore may be preferred if:

a) in the case of goods and services, the value is below $25,000, or
b) in the case of construction contracts, the value is below $100,000,


c) best value for money is obtained, and
d) the quotation, proposal or tender is within 5% of the lowest qualified alternative.

5.4. Joint purchasing with other agencies and municipalities is encouraged whenever it is in the interest of obtaining best value for money


6.1. For any purchase valued at $5,000 or less:

a) no competitive quote is required, and
b) where more than one supplier has been considered, the employee making the purchase must record the reason for their selection.

6.2. For purchases of goods and services valued between $5,001 and $74,999 and construction valued between $5,001 and $199,000:

a) a request for quotations or request for proposals must be issued, and
b)  a minimum of three written quotations or proposals must be received.

6.3. For purchases of goods and services valued at $75,000 or greater, and for construction valued at $200,000 or greater:

a)  a request for quotations, request for proposals or tender must be issued, advertised, and posted through an electronic tendering system such as the Alberta Purchasing Connection, in accordance with NWPTA and AIT.
b)  a minimum of three written quotations or proposals must be received.

6.4. In the event that the number of responses received are insufficient to meet the requirements in this policy, the employee initiating the purchase has the discretion to:

a) extend the deadline for responses, or
b) select from among the responses received, if this is approved by the next level of management.

6.5. Exceptions to the purchasing process may be authorized by a general manager or the chief administrative officer:

a) where the compatibility of a purchase with existing equipment, facilities, or service is a paramount consideration,
b) where the purchase can only be made from a single source,
c) where an item is purchased for testing or trial use,
d) where the only supplier is a department, agency, or utility of the federal, provincial, regional, or municipal government,
e) where the purchase is of a highly specialized nature and/or is available from only one supplier,
f)  where professional qualifications are a paramount consideration, or
g) in an emergency.

6.6. Purchases may be combined into a single purchase if this results in best value for money.

6.7. When purchases are combined in accordance with s.6.6, this policy will apply as if the combined purchases were one purchase.

6.8. Contracts may be extended:

a) where there is a continuing need for the product or service being supplied,
b) where the additional expenditure is included in an approved operating or capital budget, and
c) where the extension was either provided for in the original request for quotations, request for proposals or tender, or was offered through a purchasing process approved in this policy.


7.1. Employees may not seek or receive personal gain when engaging in purchasing activities for the Town.

7.2. Employees who are responsible for managing or supervising a contract:

a) are prohibited from providing goods or services related to that contract,
b) may not participate in the arrangement of a contract involving a business in which a member of the employee’s immediate family has a financial interest or holds a position of influence or authority.

7.3.Purchases may not be split so as to avoid the requirements of this policy.

8. Responsibilities

8.1. The chief administrative officer must ensure:

a) all employees are aware of and understand this policy,
b) all employees comply with this policy, and
c) the policy is reviewed once every five years, or when a practice changes.

8.2. Any employee engaged in purchasing for the Town must ensure:

a) all purchases are performed in accordance with this policy,
b) all providers are given the same information and equal opportunity,
c) the selection process is carried out honestly and impartially, and
d) They are able to account for all decisions and provide evidence of procedures that were followed.

9. Vision Alignment

9.1. This policy:

a) reflects strong leadership from council by placing controls on the authority to make expenditures,
b) encourages a positive long-term impact on the Town’s fiscal health, and
c) fosters a sense of public trust and confidence in the Town’s decision making process.

10. Related Documents

10.1. Budget Amendment Policy

10.2. Employee Code of Conduct Policy 406-2010

10.3. Municipal Government Act

10.4. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act 

Repeals Policy: 234-2005 Purchasing


John Borrowman

Lisa de Soto, P.Eng.

Chief Administrative Officer


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