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Frequently Asked Questions

General
What is APC?
The Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) enables purchasers from the Government of Alberta and the Province of Alberta's MASH sector to create and post purchasing opportunities. APC is the Province of Alberta's official system for posting and distributing purchasing opportunities from the Alberta public sector.
What is the MASH sector?
The MASH sector includes municipalities, municipal organizations, school boards and publicly-funded academic, health and social service entities, as well as any corporation or entity owned or controlled by one or more of the preceding. The MASH sector came under the Agreement on Internal Trade on July 1, 1999 with the introduction of Annex 502.4 and under the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement effective April 1, 2009.
Is APC a solution only for large businesses?
A majority of businesses that use APC belong to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) classification. Statistics show that over 80% of users belong to organizations with a workforce of fewer than 50 employees.
Who does business with the public sector and is it for me?
Thousands of companies across Canada have realized the unlimited potential of doing business with the public sector. APC has the largest and most complete listing of public sector opportunities in Alberta at your fingertips.
How do I get access to APC
There are two types of access for APC; for Government of Alberta Users (ministries, departments, agencies, boards, councils, committees, commissions, commercial enterprises and crown corporations) and for the MASH Sector (Municipalities, Academic Institutions, School Boards and Health Regions) 1.Government of Alberta Users Users within the Government of Alberta will use their existing GOA ID to access APC. 1.On the APC Home Page, under, 'Are you a Purchaser?' Click the I Am a Purchaser button. 2.Enter your username as GOA\firstname.lastname 3.Enter your password. 4.If a 3rd input field appears for Domain, leave this blank. 5.Click OK. You will be directed to the Self Registration page for your APC user profile setup. 6.Click the Select Organization Units button to select the organization(s) you will be creating opportunities for. Organizational Unit - OU is the name given to entities set up in APC, i.e. department, ministry, etc. 7.Click the + sign beside ‘Government of Alberta’ to expand and display all organization units available. 8.Highlight the appropriate organizational unit and right click your mouse. 9.Select “Request membership of this OU”. The organization unit is added as “Pending” to your membership in the right window pane until approval is given. Approval usually takes one business day. 10.Click the Close button to close the window. 11.Click the Send for Approval button at bottom of Self Registration page. Your profile status will change from Inactive to Pending. 12.Once your request is approved from the Organizational Administrator of the OU, you will receive an email from APC confirming your registration plus additional instructions. 2.MASH USERS Mash users follow a three step process to obtain APC access. 2A. Requesting an External GOA ID Send an email to APC.Help@gov.ab.ca from a person in a position of authority from your organization (i.e. Office Supervisor, Mayor, Office Business Manager, etc.). The email contains the following information of the user that will be set up in APC: •First Name, Last Name •Job Title •Organization name •Phone number •Email Address A user id will be created and you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to activate it and register in APC.
TRADE - Contact Information
Where can information be found directing GOA Departments to post award information on APC? Information can be found by using the links posted on the APC Purchaser Home Page under the Trade Agreement Zone. Links are also listed below. The Government of Alberta (GOA) Trade resource is: Chelle Busch Manager, Trade Development Procurement Services, Service Alberta O: 780.644.7430 | F: 780.422.9672 chelle.busch@gov.ab.ca
TRADE - Can a brief synopsis of each Trade Agreement be given?
Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) – Pan-Canadian agreement between Canada and provinces and territories except Nunavut: • The agreement came into force on July 1, 1995. o Goods: $25,000 o Services/Construction: $100,000 • The MASH Sector Annex came into force July 1, 1999. o Goods/Services: $100,000 o Construction: $250,000 • http://www.ait-aci.ca/index_en.htm Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) – Pan-Canadian agreement between Canada and provinces and territories: • The agreement came into force on July 1, 2017. o Goods: $25,000 o Services/Construction: $100,000 • The MASH Sector Annex came into force July 1, 2017. o Goods/Services: $100,000 o Construction: $250,000 • Threshold values will be adjusted every two years to adjust for inflation. The first period will commence on January 1, 2018. • http://www.ait-aci.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/CFTA-Consolidated-Text-Final-Signed-English.pdf Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) –between the provinces of AB and BC: • The agreement came into force April 1, 2007. o Goods: $10,000 o Services: $75,000 o Construction: $100,000 • The MASH Sector Annex came into force April 1, 2009. o Goods/Services: $75,000 o Construction: $200,000 • http://www.tilma.ca/ The New West Partnership Trade Agreement (NWPTA) – agreement mirroring the TILMA (above) and includes the province of SK and MB in addition to AB and BC: • The agreement came into force July 1, 2010. o Goods: $10,000 o Services: $75,000 o Construction: $100,000 • The MASH Sector Annex came into force July 1, 2010. o Goods/Services: $75,000 o Construction: $200,000 • http://www.newwestpartnershiptrade.ca/ (no implementation period was required for the Alberta MASH Sector for this agreement because the obligations were identical to the ones in the TILMA) WORLD TRADE OGANIZATION AGREEMENT ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT (WTO GPA/CUSPA) – bi-lateral agreement between the Governments of Canada and the US, which also include provinces and territories, except Nunavut. • The agreement came into force April, 2010 (two year implementation period attached to that). o Goods/Services: $604,700 o Construction: $8,500,000 • The MASH Sector is not a party to this agreement. • http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/topics-domaines/gp-mp/agreement-accord.aspx?lang=eng What is the GPA: • https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/gproc_e/gp_gpa_e.htm Text: • https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/rev-gpr-94_01_e.htm (Please note: the text in the preceding link also refers to the following agreement …) WORLD TRADE OGANIZATION AGREEMENT ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT (WTO GPA) – Plurilateral agreement between the Governments of Canada 47 countries including the 28 countries of the European Union. • The agreement came into force April, 2014. o Goods/Services: $604,700 o Construction: $8,500,000 • The MASH Sector is not a party to this agreement. News Release: • http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news14_e/gpro_07apr14_e.htm Text: • https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/rev-gpr-94_01_e.htm Coverage Schedules: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/gproc_e/gp_app_agree_e.htm#revisedGPA
How to remove interest in an Opportunity
To remove your interest in an opportunity: 1. Log in to the APC Vendor Site. 2. Search or browse to locate the opportunity you want to remove your bid from. Double click on the opportunity name to view the Opportunity Notice. 3. Click the Update Interest button on the Notice. 4. Click the Interest Removal Warning link at the bottom of the screen. Read through the document. 5. Select the check box next to Interest Removal Warning. 6. Click the Remove Interest button. Your profile name will automatically be removed from the list of Interested Vendors and you will no longer receive any e-mail notifications for this opportunity. Note: To reinstate your interest in this opportunity, you will need to download the entire bid package again.
Opportunities
Why are some opportunities missing important selection criteria?
The purchasing organization is responsible for the content of the notice. APC provides the tools to purchasing organizations to publish their opportunity notices on the APC vendor web site. You must contact the Contract Authority should you have questions about the information in the opportunity notice.
What are closed opportunities?
Closed opportunities are notices that have passed their closing date but are still accessible on APC.
How Do I Find Under-CFTA or TILMA Threshold Opportunities in APC?
If a purchaser designates an Under-AIT or TILMA threshold opportunity as ‘Open and Competitive’, it will be generally available on APC. The opportunity will be found by simply searching or browsing, as you would for any other opportunity.
How do I find out which company has been awarded a contract?
Use the search feature to find the opportunity then click View Award List. You can find out which organizations won what contracts and in some cases for what dollar value. This can be useful information when preparing bids. APC does not receive award notices for every opportunity as some purchasers choose not to publish this information.
Does APC list opportunities from other provinces?
Work with other jurisdictions is currently under way to allow for the exchange of opportunity notices between provinces. Once work is completed, you will be able to search APC for opportunity notices from across Canada. To see the full opportunities, you will need to follow the links in the opportunity notices.
How do I make sure that I receive amendments?
If you download the Bid Package you will automatically receive email notifications of amendments for that particular opportunity.
How much does it cost to use APC?
APC does not charge you for browsing opportunities or downloading opportunity documents. You are required to be a registered user and logged into APC to be able to download all documents necessary to bid on a purchasing opportunity.
Buildworks Canada
How are Construction Opportunities handled within APC?
APC will host Construction Procurement Opportunity Notices and as well, Award Notices, when available. APC will provide vendors with an optional link to Buildworks Canada.
What is Buildworks Canada?
Buildworks Canada is a Provincial Electronic Plan Room owned and operated by the non-profit Construction Associations in Alberta, in partnership with the Government of Alberta, specifically for the purpose of providing members and non-member users with access to Construction Procurement Opportunities including, electronic tender documents, when available. Buildworks Canada is the electronic system of choice for some 1,800 Construction Association member firms as well as some 500 members of the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association.
What is available on Buildworks Canada?
Buildworks Canada hosts commercial, institutional, industrial, roads, highways and bridge construction procurement opportunities online at https://buildworkscanada.com.
Which purchasers currently use Buildworks Canada?
The Government of Alberta, including Alberta Transportation and Alberta Infrastructure, Public Works & Government Services Canada, Defence Construction Canada, the City of Edmonton as well as many other MASH sector entities.
System Access
Why am I prompted to log in when I want to download an opportunity?
You need to log in to download opportunities. If you are directed to the Login page, it means that you were either not logged in or your session had expired. In either case, you will have to log in again. If you do not have an account, you must first register before you can log in.
How do I get a login / password?
To register as a new user, click on the New User link on the left menu.
Why should I log out?
If you walk away from a computer without logging out and without closing your browser, another individual can continue using your account. It is especially important to log out while using a publicly accessible computer, such as one at a library or Internet café. You will be automatically logged out if nothing is clicked on the site for 10 minutes or longer.
What should I do if I forget my username and/or password?
If at any time you forget your login (username) or password, simply click on the Existing User link on the left navigation and then click on the Forgot Your Password? link. You will then be prompted to enter email address you supplied when you first registered. After you click on the Submit button, we will verify your information and send out your details by email.
What is a session and session time-out?
If you are "logged in" - to your account, but have not clicked on anything site for 10 minutes, your login session will be automatically terminated. This happens in order to protect your account and the data stored on purchasingconnection.ca. After your session times out, you will still be able to browse the contents of the site. However, you will have to log in again before you can download an opportunity.
Who is the administrator of the system?
Purchasing opportunities are posted by the Government of Alberta and the Province of Alberta's MASH sector.
Vendor Directory
Why should I register my company in the directory?
Purchasers from the Government of Alberta and the province’s MASH sector use the information in the Vendor Directory to match vendors with relevant opportunities and to contact vendors regarding new opportunities.
How do I register my company in the directory?
To register, you need to fill out a vendor profile. To do this, log into APC and click on the Access Directory button on the left menu to open the Vendor Directory Editor. The first section is required in order to create a profile but the remaining two sections are optional. Once you have finished entering information, click the Submit Info button and your vendor profile is complete
How do I update my vendor profile?
It is important that both your contact and business information be current so that Purchasers have the best information available to learn about your company and to contact you. To update your vendor profile, log into APC and click on the Access Directory button on the left menu to open the Vendor Directory Editor. Update the three sections as required and click the Submit Info button. You will receive an e-mail from APC once a year to remind you to update your vendor profile.
Support
What browser version do I need to view opportunities?
Current level browsers will work with APC, specifically, Internet Explorer 7.0 and later. Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer (IE) 9, 10 and 11 are not compatible with APC. To make IE compatible simply click on the Tools menu an option called Compatibility View Settings where you can add the site (purchasingconnection.ca). If the IE menu is not visible, press the ALT key to make it appear.
What are the peak hours of usage on APC?
Higher volumes of traffic can be expected on business days between 09:00 and 12:00 (Mountain Time)
Can I change my password or registration information online?
Yes. Login to APC and click on Edit Profile.
Where can I get additional help?
Reference our User Guide available to you for download or online. If you are a new user view our Getting Started tutorial. If you need further assistance or have any questions please contact the APC Help Desk at: Telephone: (780) 644 - 5726 Toll Free (in Alberta): 310 - 0000 E-mail: APC.Help@gov.ab.ca