How to do Business with the YCDSB

Who are we and what we do

The York Catholic District School Board (the Board) is accountable to the public for the fiscally and ethically responsible purchase, lease and rental of products and services used in the schools, facilities and departments of the Board. It is the policy (Policy #802) of the Board that the purchase of products and services shall follow processes that are consistent, open, and transparent, demonstrate exemplary financial practices, and provide maximum return on investment with respect to quality and quantity.

The Purchasing Services Department oversees the purchase of products and services on behalf of the Board, except for land purchases, insurance, major construction projects, legal counsel, property leases, and other specialized services.

Where can you find us

York Catholic District School Board
Purchasing Services Department
320 Bloomington Road West
Aurora, Ontario L4G 0M1

Phone:  905-713-1211  (for buyer extension, visit

Fax:  905-713-1268

How are bids solicited by the Board

Vendors who want to sell to the Board have several ways of finding out about bidding opportunities:

  1. Board Website:  A Bid Information Report, identifying bid opportunities, is posted on the Board’s website.;
  2. Collaborative Purchases:  The Board is committed to working with other boards and where applicable, other public sector agencies, to develop cooperatives and shared services in a wide range of board operations.  Such purchasing co-operatives include:
    1. Catholic School Boards Services Association (CSBSA)
    2. York Purchasing CoOperative (YPC)
    3. Joint Board Consortium (with the York Region District School Board)
    4. Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace (OECM)
  3. Electronic Advertising:  The Board uses the electronic advertising service of Bids & Tenders o ( to solicit bids for procurement contracts valued at $100,000 or more. Ontario Tenders Portal (OTP), another internet-based electronic bulletin board which provides bid opportunities for the Ontario and several other governments across Canada, is used by some of the Board’s co-operative partners such as OECM.

How do I do business with the Board?

  1. Vendors who wish to supply or express an interest in supplying products or services to the Board should contact the buyer by email (available on the website).  The buyer will advise the supplier of the procedure to follow. The buyer may send a checklist to request further information about the company’s qualifications. The buyer may direct them to Bids & Tenders ( to obtain access to any specific procurement opportunity or register for categories for receiving notices of any future procurement opportunities.
  2. Visit the Board’s website to review the Bid Information Report.
  3. Register with Bids & Tenders (and OTP if interested in other co-operative procurement opportunities). Please note that there is an annual fee payable to the service provider for this service. By subscribing to the electronic advertising service, vendors will have access to new opportunities, bid documents, and information about changes affecting bid documents ordered.

Competitive Bidding Processes

The Board uses a variety of competitive bidding techniques, depending on the product or service being sought:

  • Request For Tender (“Tender/RFT”);
  • Request For Proposal (“Proposal/RFP”);
  • Request For Quotation (“Quote/RFQ”);
  • Request For Information (“RFI”);
  • Request for Pre-qualification (“RFPQ”).

Generally, bids can be classified as “recurring “ (i.e. the purchase on an ongoing basis of specific products and services such as copy paper, office supplies, fire safety inspections, elevator maintenance, etc) or “non-recurring” (i.e. one time events such as a renovation at a specific facility, roof repairs, boiler replacement, etc).

Generally, the guidelines are as follows:

Request For Tender:

Mostly used for construction and maintenance work, the specifications and scope of work are very precise, and successful Vendor(s) are selected based on cost from lowest compliant bid(s). Since cost is the key component, Vendors must be equally qualified in order to ensure competency, reliability and responsiveness.

Request For Proposal:

In some instances the scope of work and specifications are not as clearly known. Cost is a key element, but to determine best value, other criteria with various weightings are considered as well. These other criteria include: experience, expertise, safety considerations, equipment, staff resources, financial information, etc.

Request For Quotation:

Mostly used for products and services, the specifications and scope of work are specific, and successful Vendor(s) are selected based on cost from lowest compliant quotes.

Request For Information:

In some instances (i.e. products and services never competitively bid before, new technology, uncertainty as to market conditions), the Board will issue a Request For Information. Pricing is not sought, but the Board asks for information and interest in the potential products or services.

Request for Pre-qualification:

The purpose of an RFPQ is to gather information on supplier capabilities and qualifications, with the intention of creating a list of pre-qualified suppliers. This mechanism is used to identify candidates in advance of expected future competition or to narrow the field for an immediate need. This is the first stage in a two stage solicitation to be followed by either an RFP or RFT. The Board disclaims any obligation to actually call on any pre-qualified suppliers.

For selected key trades (i.e. mechanical, electrical, general, groundswork etc), the Board has implemented a pre-qualification process . The purpose of the prequalification process is to arrive at a list of pre-qualified Vendors/Contractors for the specific trade category. The term of the agreement will be three years with two 1-year options. Invitations for Tenders will be restricted to only those Vendors who have been prequalified. New applicants will not be considered until the term has expired.

Note: In trades for smaller dollar projects (i.e. painting, flooring, fencing, etc) a less formal process than prequalification is used to approve Vendors. The Vendor approval process involves issuing a detailed questionnaire (called the “Bidder Information Request Form For Approved Status”) to any interested Vendor upon request. Upon receipt, the Buyer reviews the information in conjunction with Plant staff, and determines if the Vendor has the qualifications to be added to the bid list. A minimum of three written quotes will be required.

What are mandatory requirements?

In responding to a competitive bid, suppliers should read the tender document carefully and must address all mandatory requirements – the “must haves”. Mandatory requirements are evaluated objectively on a pass/fail basis. Suppliers must meet all mandatory requirements for their response to be responsive or compliant. Only responsive/compliant bids get further evaluation.

Mandatory site visits: For some competitive bids, mandatory site visits may be required. A site visit(s) is mandatory to ensure that all Suppliers receive the same information in the same forum. Bid  submissions received from a Supplier who did not attend a mandatory site meeting will be disqualified.

How are complaints or disputes resolved?

We encourage suppliers to talk to the Purchasing Buyer identified in the procurement document. Most problems can be worked out. If a satisfactory solution is not found after talking to the Purchasing Buyer, you may wish to contact the Manager of Purchasing Services. After award, unsuccessful suppliers have the opportunity for a debriefing. The request for a debriefing (not part of the protest process) must be made in writing within sixty days of award.

To protest a bidding process, the process is set out in the standard terms and conditions of every tender document.

What are some key points to remember?

  • Every bid document (e.g. RFP/RFT) is unique, so read it very carefully. Review the requirements and the evaluation criteria.
  • For clarification, contact the designated person noted in the bid document. Do not call your client department contacts as this could jeopardize the bidding process. Questions must be asked within a specified number of days before the closing date. Questions and answers are compiled and made available to each supplier so that everyone has the same information.
  • Organize your submission so that it matches the sequence of the bid document. Make your offer complete, concise and precise.
  • The appropriate performance/bid bond, if required, must accompany the tender.
  • Provide the number of copies as required in the bid document.
  • The Board will not be responsible for, nor reimburse bidders for, any expenses incurred in the preparation and submission of their bids.
  • Sign the bid document and attach it to make the Proposal a legally binding offer.
  • Any change to the bid document will be issued as a formal addendum to all bidders.
  • The bid must be submitted on the enclosed form and in a sealed envelope clearly marked with the company name and within the time specified in the bid document.
  • Follow all directions! If there is a page limit, adhere to it. If certain information is requested especially if it is mandatory, provide it.