Procurement Policy


The procurement policy and associated procedures are in place to provide an efficient method for faculty and staff to acquire the goods and services required for delivery of teaching and research responsibilities while maintaining compliance with applicable legislated requirements and trade agreements. 

Procurement of all goods and services, using accounts managed by the university, including research grants and contracts, will be made in accordance with the requirements of applicable university policies and procedures under the mandate of the procurement director.

This policy outlines the following elements of the university procurement program:

  • procurement authority and responsibilities within the university
  • code of conduct
  • sustainability considerations
  • protection of personal information

Information pertaining to supplier agreements and procurement procedures can be found on the Procurement Department’s website.


“Employee” for the purposes of this policy includes university employees and individuals authorized to purchase on university accounts such as employees of associated employers including grant-holders.

Printer ready version of Procurement Policy [627 kB PDF]


1. Procurement Authority and Responsibility

The general provisions of this policy are as follows;

  • The Procurement Department has the responsibility and accountability for managing and overseeing the purchasing activities for the university.
  • Employees must be authorized under university policies relating to spending authority.
  • All persons who make, influence and or approve purchasing transactions, are required to follow the code of conduct which addresses ethical practicesconflict of interestgifts and gratuitiesconfidentiality and accuracy of information.
  • Dalhousie University’s procurement program will comply with the requirements of regional, national and international trade agreements along with all applicable legislation. 
  • All purchases must be made with the objective of meeting operational requirements, maximizing value for each dollar disbursed and to provide vendors and service providers with an open and fair opportunity to earn Dalhousie’s business.
  • Agreements will be in place before a vendor delivers goods or commences working on the delivery of services.
  • Personal funds shall not be used to make university purchases.
  • Purchasing activities are required to comply with other university policies including but not limited to;

2. Code of Conduct

As a public institution, Dalhousie University has a responsibility to act and be seen to act in a fair and open manner. The following code of conduct shall apply to employees of Dalhousie University along with other parties who make, influence and approve purchasing transactions. University procurement activities must be conducted in accord with this responsibility.

The procurement code of conduct addresses the following key policy areas:

  • ethical practices
  • conflict of interest
  • gifts and gratuities
  • confidentiality and accuracy of information

Should individuals have questions or concerns about a particular circumstance or event in relation to this code of conduct, the matter should be raised with the Director of Procurement. Disciplinary action may be taken for noncompliance with this policy.

Ethical Practices

In striving to achieve Dalhousie’s mission of serving community and society through education, research and professional service, it is the responsibility of all those involved in university procurement activities to work to maintain the good name of the university, to keep good relations between the university and its vendors, and to keep in mind that personal contacts form much of the basis of the vendors’ opinion of the university. 

In personal contacts with vendors, each employee, and other individuals authorized to represent the university, should reflect and present the interest and needs of “all” departments, setting aside, if need be, a narrower point of view. The following ethical practices must be adhered to:

  • Consider first the interest of Dalhousie University in all transactions and adhere to its established policies.
  • Be receptive to competent counsel from one’s colleagues and be guided by such counsel without impairing the responsibility of one’s office.
  • Buy without prejudice, avoiding any practice preventing fair competition while seeking to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • Demand full compliance with applicable procurement legislation or requirements by all parties seeking to or providing goods and services, to the university.
  • Demand honesty in sales, marketing or other representations made to the University whether these be in written, oral or product sample form.
  • Cooperate with all organizations and individuals engaged in activities which enhance the development and standing of purchasing and materials management.
  • Strive for increased knowledge of the materials and processes of manufacture, and to establish practical procedures for the performance of one’s responsibilities.
  • Participate in professional development programs so that one’s purchasing knowledge and performance are enhanced
  • Subscribe to and work for honesty in buying and selling and denounce all forms of improper business practice.
  • Provide a prompt and courteous reception to all who contact Dalhousie on a legitimate business mission
  • Counsel and cooperate with Interuniversity Services Inc., other universities, government offices and public sector organizations in the performance of their duties.

Conflict of Interest

Individuals engaged in procurement activities at Dalhousie are expected to be free of interests or relationships which are actually or potentially detrimental to the best interest of the university.

The full text of the university policy on conflict of interest can be found under policies and form on the Senate’s website. The general policy statement is as follows:

A university member shall not participate in an activity or decision that involves an actual or potential conflict of interest unless such activity or decision has been approved in advance by the administrative head responsible for his/her unit of work or study and, if such approval has been given, any terms or conditions made by the administrative head regarding such activity or decision are fulfilled.

Gifts and Gratuities

In serving the interests of the university no employee shall use his/her authority of office for personal benefit. To preserve the image and integrity of employee and the university, business gifts other than items of small intrinsic value should not be accepted.  Reasonable hospitality is an accepted courtesy of a business relationship. The frequency and nature of the gifts or hospitality accepted should not be allowed whereby the recipient might be or might be deemed by others to have been influenced in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such hospitality or gifts.

In addition, loans are not to be accepted from parties having prospective dealings with Dalhousie University, unless such parties (e.g. bank or credit union) are in the business of making loans to individuals.

Confidentiality and Accuracy of Information

The majority of transactions relating to procurement activities are of a confidential nature and should be treated as such, especially regarding our suppliers. It is considered unethical as well as damaging to Dalhousie University’s reputation to allow information about one supplier’s products, services or pricing to be passed on to another supplier.

  • Information given in the course of one’s participation in procurement activity must be true and fair and not designed to mislead or misrepresent. 
  • All information, documents and files held by an individual in the course of their involvement in procurement activities are to be treated as confidential information, and cannot be disclosed to or discussed with any vendor or any other person, including Dalhousie employees who are not authorized to have access to that information.   
  • Access to these files or other procurement related documentation shall be restricted to those authorized by the Director of Procurement.
  • The above requirements also apply to information that is obtained through indirect methods such as overheard telephone calls, documentation left on desk during vendor interviews and conversations between employees within the hearing of vendors’ offices.

3. Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement involves the utilization of procurement criteria that includes environmental, social and ethical considerations along with generally understood commercial factors. Procurement decisions will consider the total cost of ownership of an item based on analysis of vendor’s response to the above criteria. 

Employees are required to utilize sustainability considerations when purchasing for university requirements.

4. Protection of Personal Information

Employees who purchase goods or services that use or contain personal information should be aware of the policy for Protection of Personal Information From Access Outside Canada.

Documentation to confirm compliance with the requirements of the policy must be communicated to the Procurement Department when initiating a purchase request.

5. Purchasing Thresholds

Purchasing processes will comply with the requirements of Nova Scotia procurement legislation and trade agreements.

  • High Value - A competitive bidding process managed by the Procurement Department is required for high value requirements. Purchases with a value over the following thresholds are considered high value purchases.
    • Goods with a value over $25,000
    • Services with a value over $50,000
    • Construction with a value over $100,000
  • Moderate Value – Competitive quotes are required for purchases between $10,000 and the high value purchase thresholds.
  • Low Value – Competitive quotes are not required for purchases below $10,000, but are preferable. 

Use of purchasing process other than those listed above may be considered in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Procurement Department.

The Procurement Department may utilize supply and service contracts established by other public sector entities when those agreements have;

  • been established through a competitive process and
  • contain wording to allow terms to be extended to other public sector entities.

6. Exclusions

Travel – Purchases of travel related services are required to follow the requirements of the University Travel Policy