Government Told to Bolster Debriefs in COI Dispute

By: Anna Krol

In its May 2018 determination in Renaissance Aeronautics Associates Inc., the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) dismissed allegations of conflict of interest while noting that the government could have avoided the bid dispute by being more fulsome in its debriefing. The case, which was on of the Tribunal’s first ruling under the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement, dealt with a federal government RFP for the provision of aviation repair courses.

With respect to the conflict of interest allegations, the complainant alleged that the successful bidder’s status as a government-funded community college gave that bid an unfair advantage. The Tribunal dismissed the complaint, finding that there was insufficient evidence to establish a biased evaluation or to determine that undisclosed evaluation criteria were applied. While dismissing the conflict complaint, the Tribunal noted that the government could have been more fulsome in its debriefing process. As this case illustrates, rather than simply meeting minimum debriefing requirements, government institutions should take a more proactive approach to avoiding future bid disputes by being more transparent about their evaluations in their debriefings with losing bidders.