Purchasing Procedures - General

Approval Date: 2014-03-13

Effective Date: 2014-03-13

Responsible Unit: Department of Financial and Administrative Services

Add to Favorites

1.1. The employees designated to control purchasing and payments for a unit have the responsibility to determine how the acquisition of goods and services should be made. The following methods are available depending upon the dollar value and, in some cases, the nature of the acquisition.

1.1.1. Petty Cash is available for purchases less than $75 (including taxes) in value. See Procedure for Using Petty Cash for details.

1.1.2. Direct Pay Forms can be used only if the nature of the acquisition meets the guidelines as specified in the Procedure to Use Direct Pay.

1.1.3. The Procurement Card is to be used for all purchases meeting the procurement card guidelines in the Procedure for Using Procurement Card. Certain types of expenditures, such as travel and hosting, are not permitted to be charged to this card.

1.1.4. Purchase Orders (POs) are to be used for all purchases other than Petty Cash, Direct Pay or Procurement Card. See Procedure for Using Purchase Orders for further information on the use of purchase orders.

1.2 University orders by faculty/staff charged to their personal credit card are not to be permitted, except as allowed under the Procedure for Using Petty Cash.


Quotations for all acquisitions of goods and services less than $10,000 must be obtained using the following guidelines.

2.1 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 they should be contacted as a potential supplier. 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 price quotations with respect to one of these items, then one of the required three price quotations must be obtained from the Computer Purchasing Centre. If the system configuration required is not available from CPC the quotation summary log must include written confirmation from CPC to that effect.

2.2 Purchases of $1,000 or Less

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

2.3 Purchases greater than $1,000 and up to $2,500 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 up to $2,500 (before taxes) in total value. Quotations should be recorded on a quotation summary log (sample), 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.

2.4 Purchases greater than $2,500 and up to $10,000 in Value

2.4.1 For all acquisitions of goods and/or services where the value is greater than $2,500 and up to $10,000 (before taxes), there must be an invitation to selected suppliers for a price quotation.

2.4.2 The invitation for a quotation must be sent to available suppliers. No less than three quotations must be obtained. A summary of the quotations received must be recorded on a quotation summary log (sample) 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. Copies must be kept in the unit's files for audit purposes.

2.4.3 All invitations for a written quotation should identify to the vendor a time limit within which the quotation is expected to be returned and to whom.

2.4.4 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 Unit Head prior to issuing the purchase order.

2.5 Purchases without Quotation

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

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

2.5.2 A full written explanation as to why quotations were not obtained must be provided.

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


3.1 University procurement is governed by the Public Tender Act of Newfoundland and Labrador. All orders of goods and/or services and public works contracts greater than $10,000 in value (before taxes), and in the case of "Public Work" where the total estimated cost is greater than $20,000 (before taxes), require a public tender to be placed. Purchase orders cannot be broken down into more than one order to get each order value less than $10,000. A tender means a call for tender by electronic advertisement or written media, as per Section 3(1) (a) of the Public Tender Regulations, 1998.

3.2 The Public Tender Act outlines several exceptions related to the definition of "services." Services do not include legal, engineering, architectural, accounting, land surveying, banking, telecommunications or insurance services or other services that require the giving of an opinion, creativity, the preparation of a design, or technical expertise.

3.3 All other exemptions are found in section 3 and section 4 of the Public Tender Act and, if used, are to be reported to the Government Purchasing Agency in accordance with the Public Tender Act, section 10.

3.4 The University requires that the following sources of funds comply with the Public Tender Act:

  • Operating fund accounts.
  • Ancillary Enterprise funds.
  • Research and special purpose accounts.
  • Plant fund accounts.

If further clarification of the applicability of the Public Tender Act and Public Tender Regulations, 1998 is required, contact the Tendering Clerk, Department of Financial and Administrative Services for assistance.

3.5 The Director of Financial and Administrative Services is responsible to ensure that the University is in compliance with the Public Tender Act and with related regulations.

This responsibility includes:

  • Reporting to the President on a monthly basis all exceptions and awards made under the Act.
  • Ensuring that all units are consistent in the application of the Act to the purchasing function for which they have responsibility.
  • Providing approvals as may be delegated to the Director of Financial and Administrative Services by the President and the Board of Regents, in accordance with Section 7 of the Public Tender Act and Section 6 of the Public Tender Regulations, 1998.
  • Providing any type of assistance required by units in order that they may comply with the Act efficiently and effectively. This includes provision of services related to development of tender specifications, advertising, tender opening, tender evaluation and subsequent recommendations, and interpretation of the various sections of the Act.

3.6 To ensure consistent application of these public tendering requirements, it is recommended that all purchases greater than $10,000 (before taxes) be coordinated with the Department of Financial and Administrative Services' Tendering Clerk.

3.7 For those units issuing a tender, the Department of Financial and Administrative Services will supply a locked tender box in which bidders may place their bids.


4.1 Tenders or Requests for Proposals over $500,000 in value must be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel.

5.1. It is the responsibility of each unit or grantee to compare, review, and analyze the monthly accounting statements and report of transactions with documents maintained by the unit or grantee as backup to the statements.

5.2. Any discrepancies should be reported to the Department of Financial and Administrative Services immediately. If no discrepancies are reported, the statements will be assumed to be an accurate reflection of unit or grant spending.

5.3. Operating budget allocations are made to the Deans, Directors and Associate Vice-Presidents as applicable, who are responsible for the distribution of funds to the units and/or other budgetary components within their units. Units should ensure that University policy and procedures are followed and that all monies are spent wisely within budgetary constraints in accordance with University policy. The budgetary process is documented in Budgetary Process.

It is the responsibility of each unit to sufficiently document each purchase in order to provide audit evidence of their compliance to the Purchasing policy and related procedures. This evidence must be retained for a period of the previous six fiscal years plus the current fiscal year.

Policies using this procedure:


University Policies

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000