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Purchase Orders

  1. All items not eligible to be purchased from petty cash, or Procurement Card should be acquired by issuance of a purchase order.  Direct Pay Forms are only to be used when no other means to purchase is available.
  2. When contracts or tender documents are the controlling document, a purchase order is to be assigned to the document, with the purchase order number as a control point for all correspondence and payments related to the contract or tender. This is required in order to record the commitment on the Banner Finance System and to permit more effective budgeting.


  1. It is the responsibility of the department issuing a purchase order to determine if the particular supplier will grant the University credit. This is done via the purchase order itself rather than formal application for credit.
  2. The only employees who may issue purchase orders for goods and services are persons authorized by the Dean, Principal, Director, Grant holder; the University will not honour nor confirm commitments that have been made by others.


  1. An emergency situation will meet one of the following conditions:
    1. A hazardous situation is deemed to exist affecting life safety.
    2. There is an interruption to an essential service.
    3. University property needs to be secured against imminent damage or hazard.
  2. Generally, emergency order procedures will not be used unless such procurement practices would be offset by a corresponding or greater loss to the department as a result of the delay. Failure to anticipate a need is not, of itself, considered a bonafide emergency.
  3. When emergency work has to be carried out, the following procedures will apply:
    1. The employee(s) in charge will make all necessary arrangements so that the work will be done immediately.
    2. The purchase order procedures may be completed after the fact and a statement must appear on the requisition indicating the nature of the emergency.
    3. The employee arranging the emergency purchasing should ensure that the supplier has a purchase order number to attach to the invoices for the purchase.


  1. The process of creating a purchase order starts with the preparation of a requisition for goods and/or services. This requisition is completed by the employee requiring the goods and/or services. Refer to section 3 of this policy for requisition preparation procedures.
  2. When the employee designated to control purchasing within a department receives a requisition which requires the issuing of a purchase order, he/she is required to:
    1. Funds Available. Ensure that funds are available for the purchase or expenditure as per the department's approved budget or the terms of the particular grant. A purchase order cannot be issued without having funds available to meet the expenditure.
    2. Approval. Ensure that the requisition is approved for purchase of goods and/or services by the appropriate departmental authorities.
    3. Method of Purchase. Determine the method of acquiring the goods and/or services requisitioned, i.e., external purchase or internal purchases.
    4. Internal Purchase. If the goods and/or services can be obtained internally within the University, the requisition should be forwarded to the appropriate University department, unless prior arrangements have been made with these departments to permit external purchasing. Consult the departments of Facilities Management, Technical Services, Printing Services, Department of Financial and Administrative Services, and Computing and Communications for details on policy and procedure for their respective areas.
    5. External Purchase. If the goods and/or services have to be obtained externally, the employee designated to control purchasing should determine if his/her department has the appropriate approval authority for the particular purchase. If the items on the requisition are as described in Appendix A, Purchase Approval Exceptions List, the requisition will require the approval of the appropriate University office.
  3. When the requisition has been approved in accordance with these guidelines, the purchase may be processed.


Quotations for all acquisitions of goods and services must be obtained using the following guidelines:

Purchase of Computers and Related Supplies

With respect to the purchase of computers, computer components, printers and other related supplies:   If the University's Computer Purchasing Centre (CPC) can provide the required items, then the items may be purchased directly from CPC without obtaining alternate price quotations (as CPC has already performed this function).  However, if the purchaser wishes to obtain his/her own price quotations with respect to one of these items, or, if the system configuration rquired is not available from CPC, then one of the required three price quotations must be obtained from the Computer Purchasing Centre.

.Purchases of $1,000 or Less

No quotations are required for purchases up to $1,000 before taxes.

Purchases Greater Than $1,000 in Value

Three telephone quotations or current catalogue prices must be obtained for purchases of goods and/or services which are greater than $1,000 (before taxes) and less than $2,500 (before taxes) in total value. Quotations should be recorded on a quotation summary log, and a copy attached to the invoice if paying by Direct Pay or Procurement Card, or retained with the Purchase Order if a Purchase Order is the method of acquisition. Refer to Appendix C-12 for sample form.

Purchases between $2,500 and $10,000 in Value

  1. For all acquisitions of goods and/or services where the value is between $2,500 and $10,000, there must be an invitation to selected suppliers for a price quotation.
  2. The invitation for a quotation must be sent to available suppliers. No less than three requests must be obtained. A summary of the quotations received must be recorded on a quotation summary log and attached to the invoice if paying by Direct Pay or Procurement Card, or retained with the Purchase order if a Purchase Order is the method of acquisition. Refer to Appendix C-12 for a sample form. Copies must be kept in the departmental files for audit purposes.
  3. All invitations for a written quotation should be assigned an identifying number and a time limit within which the quotation is expected to be returned and to whom.
  4. The lowest quotation is usually accepted. In cases where other than the lowest quotation is accepted, explanations should be documented by the purchaser and approved by the Department Head prior to issuing the purchase order.

Purchases Greater Than $10,000 in Value

All purchases with a value greater than $10,000 will require a public tender. Refer to Section 10 for the procedures of public tendering.

Purchases without Quotation

These are purchases up to $10,000 in value where it is not feasible or practicable to obtain quotations as required above due to the following circumstances:

  1. Urgent equipment, parts or services that are required to prevent interruption of essential services.  Form B
  2. Specialized materials and equipment purchased from a sole source.  Form B.

Purchases from research grants where quotations are not obtained for research or academic reasons. There must be a valid reason in order to be exempted under this circumstance.  

A full explanation as to why quotations were not obtained should be written on whichever form is used.

If such a purchase exceeds $10,000 in value, then refer to the procedures for completion of a Form B, under the Public Tender Act.


  1. It is the responsibility of the department, having in mind the specifications for the goods and services set out on the requisition, to select the supplier and to establish the price to be paid in accordance with these guidelines.


  1. It is the responsibility of the employee designated to control purchasing within a department to ensure that the prices quoted are current prices. The Department of Financial and Administrative Services will request additional approvals if the supplier invoice is not in agreement with the applicable purchase order within specified limits.


  1. Catalogues are only to be used as a source for obtaining quotations. Pricing purchase orders from a catalogue is not permitted as generally the prices are not current.


  1. To reduce freight charges and claims against carriers for damaged shipments, indicate on the purchase order "FOB destination". FOB means "free on board," i.e., the supplier is responsible for ensuring the goods arrive at the University (destination). Refer to section 12 for more information.


  1. Departments will grant all competitive bidders equal consideration. Preference for the same supplier must not be shown if there are other suppliers of equal ability to supply. If there are more than three suppliers for a specific commodity, then rotation of suppliers is required.


  1. The department, having complied with the provisions of these guidelines, will issue the purchase order, representing the contract for the goods or services, and will record required delivery, sales tax, freight and delivery location.
  2. It is very important that the department complete all applicable information as to the date required, shipment method, payment discount, department, building including room number, insurance coverage and to only accept for FOB the University.
  3. For commitment purposes the department must estimate the freight charge involved, as well as the Harmonized Sales Tax.
  4. When a purchase order is issued to one company for a large variety of supplies, one purchase order should be used with a supplementary list of items required attached as a separate list.
  5. Departments should not issue several purchase orders for identical items to the same supplier. When the total requirement is known, a purchase order should be issued for that requirement with more than one delivery date given.


  1. All supplier invoices are to be sent directly to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services for processing. Exceptions to this procedure should be arranged with the Director of Financial and Administrative Services prior to placing the order. A cheque cannot be generated without the original invoice and the receiving completed on the purchase order.
  2. The supplier's invoice must show all particulars of the transaction. Monthly statements are not acceptable as invoices.
  3. When an invoice is handwritten, it must bear the signature of the supplier as follows:
    • "This is my bill - John Doe".
    • Invoices on printed billheads do not require signatures.
  4. Due to the nature of some expenditures, the Department of Financial and Administrative Services will process payment of invoices prior to obtaining departmental approval. The following types of expenditures apply:
    1. Customs, i.e., duty, sales tax, brokerage, special clearance charges.
    2. Freight charges.
    3. Photocopier maintenance and copy charges.
    4. Vehicle repairs and gasoline.
    5. Electronic Feeds (telephone, stationery, etc.)

These invoices will be checked and verified at the Department of Financial and Administrative Services.

  1. Internal invoices for requisitions within the University will be processed on receipt by the Department of Financial and Administrative Services. If you find that the invoice is incorrect, please contact the department from which the charge originated and arrange for an adjustment.


In situations where supplies and services are required on a recurring basis throughout the year, a standing purchase order can be issued. This purchase order will state the estimated yearly cost to be incurred and the contract should be awarded in accordance with the tendering procedures. All standing purchase orders will be for the fiscal year only. For each purchase on a standing purchase order, complete the receiving for each order received and forward the invoice to Accounts Payable in order to reduce the outstanding commitment.


The department which is the major user of items needed on a recurring basis may be requested to purchase for the consolidated University requirements. Offices requiring these materials should submit their requisition, once it is approved within their departmental office, to the department responsible for the central supply. An interdepartmental billing will be processed by the issuing department for reimbursement of funds.

P-1.8.11 - CONTRACTS

The following guidelines should be adhered to for contracts for services which are of a continuing nature, or are to be carried forward from one fiscal year to another. Examples of such contracts would be contracts for repairs or construction to the physical facilities, the University catering contract, contract for professional services, rentals, maintenance contracts such as cleaning, painting, and snow clearing, etc.

  1. The awarding of contracts will follow the public tender guidelines.
  2. Contracts, before being awarded, should be reviewed by the employee responsible for purchasing, in order to ensure all legal implications have been accounted for. Such implications would include, but not be limited to:
    1. Insurance coverage, especially where the work involves exposing hazardous material.
    2. Mechanic Liens Act.
    3. Bonding, such as performance bonds, labour bond, materials and labour bonds, bid bonds.
    4. Public Tender Act.
    5. Provisions for extra work.
    6. Confirmation of standing with the Workers Compensation Commission.
    7. An opt-out clause - a clause which will maintain the right of the University to review the contract and withdraw under appropriate circumstances.
  3. All contract documents should state specifically the procedure to be followed for billing the University for work performed.
  4. Copies of all contracts should be forwarded to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services for safe keeping.