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Vendor Debriefing & Vendor Complaint Process

PHSA is committed to a fair and transparent process for awarding BC health authority contracts. To support this commitment, PHSA Supply Chain provides for Debriefings in respect of public procurements and, has established a clear and formal Vendor Complaint Process that can be initiated by a vendor if they have objections regarding the management of a procurement or the award of any contract by Supply Chain.

Vendor Debriefing

Any vendor may request a debriefing meeting with the PHSA Supply Chain lead responsible for the procurement within ten business days of the receipt of award notification.

Vendor Complaint Process

A vendor can use the Vendor Complaint Process to submit complaints about Supply Chain, including complaints about a procurement, contract award, or pending contract award for goods or services.

This process does not limit or impair the rights of any vendor to seek a review through other review processes or remedies of law through judicial or other processes.

1. Complaints about an ongoing procurement
Complaints may not be made under the Vendor Complaint Process in relation to an ongoing procurement, unless the complaint concerns an alleged breach by PHSA of a federal or provincial trade agreement.  All other complaints about an ongoing procurement may be referred to The Office of the Ombudsperson – BC or judicial or other processes generally available to vendors.

2. Complaints during performance of a contract
Complaints may not be made under the Vendor Complaint Process in relation to vendor treatment, performance or conduct under a contract. Such complaints will be handled as set out in the contract or may be referred to the Supply Chain lead responsible for the contract.

3. Complaints initiated under separate legal action or other review process
Complaints may not be made under the Vendor Complaint Process if the vendor has initiated legal action, or has submitted a complaint to The Office of the Ombudsperson – BC, or has engaged in another review process pertaining to the complaint.

Vendor Complaint Process Overview

The Vendor Complaint Process has up to four distinct stages that must be completed in chronological order and requested in writing. Note that this information provides a simplified overview of the process.

Stage 1 – Formal complaint: At any time during an ongoing procurement (for a complaint regarding an alleged breach by PHSA of a federal or provincial trade agreement) or within 30 days after the notice of award (for other complaints), the vendor can submit a formal written complaint. Complaints that are not related to a procurement may be submitted at any time. Complaints will be reviewed and responded to in writing within 15 business days.

Stage 2 – Additional review of formal complaint: Within 10 business days of receiving the written response from stage 1, the vendor can request an additional review of the complaint, which will be reviewed and responded to in writing within 20 business days by the Provincial Director, Supply Chain.

Stage 3 – Further review of formal complaint: Within 10 business days of receiving the written response from stage 2, the vendor can request a further review of the complaint, which will be reviewed and responded to in writing within 20 business days by the Vice President, Supply Chain.

Stage 4 – Final appeal: Within 10 business days of receiving the written response from stage 3, the vendor can request a final appeal from an ad-hoc committee of health authority senior management representatives, who will review the complaint and provide a written response within 20 to 80 business days. The decision of this committee is final in respect of the Vendor Complaint Process.

To Submit a Formal Complaint

This process requires the submission of materials that you may consider proprietary. Please review the confidentiality section below and take the necessary action to protect your information.

  1. For complaints related to an alleged breach by PHSA of a federal or provincial trade agreement in connection with an ongoing procurement, request the name and contact information of the PHSA Supply Chain lead responsible for the procurement. Submit the complaint to the PHSA Supply Chain lead responsible for the procurement.
  2. For all other complaints, submit the complaint to Vendor Relations and The Office of the Ombudsperson – BC.

Information to include when submitting a formal complaint

Upon submitting a complaint, include the following information in its entirety by email or by mail:

  • Full vendor contact information
  • Clear summary of the complaint. All background information related to the complaint must be included
  • All relevant documents that substantiate the complaint, including documentation on actions taken and the outcomes, must be included
  • Clear statement of the outcome that the vendor is seeking
  • A date and an authorized signature

Sharing of Supply Chain Costs

If PHSA Supply Chain decides to engage one or more independent third parties to assist with stage 4 of the process, Supply Chain will inform the vendor in advance and provide an estimate of the expected costs of such third party or parties. In order to continue with stage 4, the vendor must agree in writing to be responsible for 50% of all such actual costs, and must provide PHSA with a deposit in the amount of 50% of the estimated costs. If the vendor does not agree, the Vendor Complaint Process will be concluded.

Supply Chain will provide the vendor with an accounting of the actual third party costs promptly after the conclusion of stage 4. If the actual costs:

  • exceed the amount of the deposit, the vendor will pay PHSA the difference within 10 business days of receipt of the accounting; and
  • are less than the amount of the deposit, PHSA will refund the difference to the vendor within 10 business days of delivery of the accounting.

Confidentiality of Complaint Materials

PHSA is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the Act).  Proprietary information can be protected under the Act (Section 21), which deems disclosure harmful to business interests of a third party.


Please clearly mark any part of your documentation that you consider to fall under this protection with “Confidential.”

Please note that should there be a dispute regarding the protection of this information, the final decision is made by the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner.

SOURCE: Vendor Debriefing & Vendor Complaint Process ( )
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