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Expertise / Practices / Procurement

Distinguished national team that is widely recognised for its leading infrastructure practice and skillful handling of public procurement matters….

One client enthused: ‘One of the team’s strengths is their overall efficiency and ability to allocate work between them and provide results on a very timely basis.’

Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2020

Regarded as the best team in the country, the Blakes Procurement group has unrivalled expertise advising on procurement law matters and in resolving related disputes. Our multidisciplinary team counsels public-sector and private-sector clients on public procurement matters involving municipal, provincial, national and international levels of government. In addition, our Procurement Litigation team assists clients in resolving all manner of disputes related to both public contracts and private procurement processes, including novel cases involving the judicial review of procurement decisions.

We have advised on some of the world’s most complex procurements and award-winning infrastructure development projects. The Blakes team has been at the forefront of some of Canada's largest public procurement processes, involving multiple stakeholders across a wide range of industry sectors. We are recognized in the global arena for our work representing and advising international governments and organizations on matters related to their competitive procurement processes. We are also known for our experience related to procurement issues arising in emerging markets and from multi-jurisdictional infrastructure procurement projects around the world.

Procurement Governance and Template Development

Our team advises both public-sector and private-sector clients on the development and implementation of enterprise-wide procurement policies and procedures. This is to ensure compliance with their procurement law obligations and internal procurement governance requirements and reflect global best practices.

We also regularly assist clients in the development of template procurement and tender documentation, including documents for design-build (DB), design-build-finance (DBF) and design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) projects. We have experience creating and providing training related to the implementation of procurement tools. Our team has also been retained to survey clients’ existing procurement governance frameworks and actual on-the-ground procurement practices and make recommendations to align the client’s policies and procedures with international best practices for public or private procurement.

Procurement Projects

The Blakes team is regularly retained by clients to manage large complex procurement processes from conception to award. We often work with clients in circumstances where there is a novel commercial structure, where the project is a unique or particularly complex acquisition, or where a client is seeking to outsource a particular service for the first time. In many cases, these are high-profile projects where the client’s procurement reputation is on the line and expert management is a necessity. These projects require creativity in the development of the procurement process, effective procurement documentation and engagement with bidders and stakeholders to effectively meet the client’s objectives. 

Our team is regularly called upon by clients for effective advice in circumstances where a routine procurement process encounters challenges. We help resolve issues such as those related to the use of fairness monitors, prequalification procedures, the application of evaluation criteria, bidder disqualification and debarment, the duty of fairness, negotiation processes, and contract awards. Our experience and practical approach to issue resolution allows us to work with clients to find a solution that meets their business objectives while managing any procurement risks.

The Blakes team also assists domestic and international bidder clients in navigating complex procurement environments in Canada and understanding the evolving legal procurement landscape.

Procurement Disputes

Our litigators are skilled at resolving procurement disputes and bid challenges through negotiation and litigation. We represent both procurement authorities and bidders in disputes before Canada’s trial and appellate courts, including the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, as well as before administrative tribunals, such as the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. Whenever possible, we use alternative dispute resolution techniques to quickly and cost-effectively resolve disputes.

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Recent Experience
  • VIA Rail Canada Inc. with respect to its procurement of a new train fleet to replace the current rolling stock operating within the Québec City-Windsor corridor.

  • Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT design, build, finance and maintain project which was the largest infrastructure project in Canada in 2015.

  • Infrastructure Ontario on a number of projects including: the sports venues for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, the Sheppard Maintenance and Storage Facility, the Southwest Detention Centre and Toronto South Detention Centre and the Ministry of Government Services Data Centre.

  • Infrastructure Ontario on all aspects of the Ontario Nuclear Procurement Project — one of the most complex infrastructure projects in Ontario.

  • Health Shared Services Ontario with respect to all procurement matters and contract template advice. Blakes previously advised the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres and each of the 14 Community Care and Access Centres (CCAC) across Ontario prior to the 2017 transfer of all the CCAC functions to the Local Health Integration Networks.

  • Municipal Property Assessment Corporation with respect to procurement governance and template development and implementation.

  • Toronto Transit Commission with respect to procurement disputes and ongoing procurement advice.

  • A number of municipalities with respect to the procurement of large-scale infrastructure, including the cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Moncton and the City of Greater Sudbury.

  • A number of educational institutions, including the University of Toronto, with respect to template procurement and contract documents.

  • A public-sector agency with respect to procurement governance, template implementation and procurement dispute resolution.

  • A number of Crown agencies with respect to resolution of challenges to procurement processes.

  • A public sector agency with respect to the resolution of a judicial review challenge to a procurement process.

  • A multinational technology company with respect to bidding issues on a number of federal government procurement processes.

  • A major Canadian financial institution with respect to the development of template procurement documents and providing ongoing procurement advice.

  • World Bank and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development on competitive procurement processes for infrastructure projects in emerging markets. Our templates have been tested and identified by the World Bank to be a “global best practice."

Awards & Recognition

Members of the Procurement group are recognized as leaders in the most recent editions of the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada

  • The Legal 500 Canada

  • Who's Who Legal: Government Contracts

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada

  • Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders

  • Procurement Group Leader Judy Wilson has been honoured as a "Public Procurement Lawyer of the Year 2013" (global) by Who's Who Legal