Frequently Asked Questions
In order to help you out, we grouped the answers to the questions you may be asking yourself about the complaints process in connection with a public contract.
1. What does the term “Interested Person” mean?
To make a complaint regarding a current awarding process, the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics specifies that a person must have the required interest.
In the case of a tendering process, this concerns a person or group of persons (partnership, a group of partnerships of persons or enterprises) interested in participating in the tendering process or their representative.
In the case of an awarding process, this concerns any interested person (enterprise) able to perform the contract according to the requirements and obligations specified in the notice of intent.
2. What is the difference between a complaint and communication of information?
- Involves a current tendering or awarding process;
- Must be made by an interested person (or his representative);
- Must first be filed with the public organization concerned, with the exception of complaints concerning an amendment made to the tender documents during the period starting two days before the complaint filing deadline;
- Cannot be made anonymously;
- Protects persons or enterprises from any type of reprisals or threats of reprisals, pursuant to section 51 of an Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics.
In the case of a complaint, the AMP generally reviews the decision of the public organization or the lack of a decision.
The communication of information:
- Concerns a past or current tendering or awarding process, or the execution of a completed or ongoing contract;
- May be made by any person (citizen, the holder of a public office, a supplier, a contractor or sub-contractor, etc.);
- Is made directly to the AMP;
- May be made anonymously;
- Protects persons or enterprises from any type of reprisals or threats of reprisals under the relevant sections of an Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics.
3. On what grounds may a complaint be dismissed?
Section 46 of the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics provides that the AMP may dismiss a complaint in any of the following situations:
- It considers the complaint to be abusive, frivolous or clearly unfounded.
- The complaint has not been filed in accordance with the complaints filing and processing procedure.
- The complainant does not have the required interest;
- The complaint concerns an amendment made to the tender documents in accordance with an order or recommendation of the Authority.
- The complainant should have first filed a complaint with or expressed its interest to the public body.
- The complainant refuses or neglects to provide, within the time limit specified by the Authority, the information or documents that the Authority requires; or
- The complainant is pursuing or has pursued a judicial remedy based on the same facts as those set out in the complaint.
Complaints dismissed in situations 2, 3 and 5 are considered to be communication of information.
4. If an enterprise undertakes judicial proceedings before the courts and subsequently files a complaint with the AMP on the same issue, the AMP will not process it. Is that right?
Yes. A complaint filed by a complainant who undertakes or has undertaken a judicial recourse for the same facts as those mentioned in his complaint will be dismissed pursuant to subsection 46(7) of the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics.
5. Are the AMP’s decisions final or may complainants contest them before the courts?
Decisions rendered by the AMP are final. Under section 76 of the Act respecting the Autorité des marchés publics, “Except on a question of jurisdiction, no application for judicial review may be presented or injunction granted against the Authority.”
6. Does the AMP give counselling advice to clients?
The AMP does not give such a service. If your question concerns a public provincial call for tenders, you must contact the Treasury Board Secretariat on their extranet. If your question concerns a municipal call for tenders, you must contact the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing (ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Habitation.)
7. As a client, if I publish an addendum after the limit date for filing a complaint, must I postpone it?
No. If the addendum is published after the limit date for filing complaints, a new date is not necessary. You must specify that the addendum is subject to a complaint to the AMP up to a period of two days before the opening of the bids specified in the notice.
On this point, the time limit calculator for amending tender documents by an addendum is available in the Tools and Publications tab of our website.
8. How may an easy calculation of the date for filing complaints be made?
The time limit calculator, available in the Tools and Publications tab of our website will help you calculate the date on which to file your complaint.
9. Is the complaint filing date which is specified in the public notices of the Système électronique d'appel d'offres (SEAO) the same as for a public organization (or a municipal organization) or the AMP?
10. If I have no answer from the public organization or the municipal organization following my complaint, what must I do?
A public organization or a municipal organization must forward its decision after the limit date for the receipt of complaints, but three days at the latest before the limit date for the receipt of bids which it determined. If you did not receive an answer within this time limit, you may forward your complaint to the AMP at the latest on the limit date for the receipt of bids which is specified in the notice.
11. Is a complaint admissible when it concerns a call for tenders under way involving an estimated expenditure of public funds below the public tender threshold?
No. The AMP will process this information as a communication of information.For a complaint to be admissible, it must concern a contract involving an expenditure equal to or greater than the public tender threshold.