Government Procurement

Government procurement refers to all goods, services and construction services purchased by the government. It can range from office supplies to materials and services used in large infrastructure projects.

Foreign government procurement markets are worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Some estimates suggest that government procurement represents between 13% and 20% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). As such, they offer significant potential opportunities for Canadian exporters.

Government procurement obligations in international trade agreements ensure that Canadian suppliers of goods and services are treated in an open, transparent and non-discriminatory manner when they sell to governments outside of Canada, and that they have access to dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure that these obligations are respected.

In addition to suppliers, open procurement markets benefit governments and taxpayers by increasing competition, widening the choice of goods and services available and, importantly, ensuring best value for money.

Government procurement in international trade agreements

Canada is working on a number of fronts to improve and secure foreign government procurement market access for Canadian suppliers. Most of Canada’s free trade agreements contain a chapter on government procurement. Canada is also a party to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).
Government procurement chapters in international trade agreements contain two main parts:

  • procedural rules governing the conduct of procurement in line with the principles of non-discrimination, impartiality and transparency
  • market access schedules listing the types of acquisitions that are subject to those rules. Only purchases by covered entities, that fall above certain monetary thresholds and for covered goods, services and construction services, are subject to the provisions of international trade agreements.

Several international trade agreements already in force benefit Canadian suppliers:Footnote 1

Three types of Canadian entities can be covered in international trade agreements: federal government entities, sub-federal government entities (provinces, territories, and, in the case of the Canada-EU CETA, municipalities), and other government entities, including Crown corporations. The monetary thresholds above which contracts by these entities are subject to international trade agreements vary by entity as well as by agreement. In most agreements, Canada and its trading partners express their thresholds in U.S. Dollars or in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a form of reserve currency created and maintained by the International Monetary Fund. The value of these thresholds in Canadian currency is published by the Government of Canada and generally updated every two years to account for inflation and currency fluctuations.

The following table presents the threshold values in Canadian dollars for the period of January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2025:

Government Procurement Thresholds in International Trade Agreements for 2024 and 2025
(in CAN $)
Agreement (date of entry into force)Federal government entitiesSub-federal government entitiesGovernment enterprises (Crowns)
European Union (CETA)$229,600$229,600$8,800,000$353,300$353,300$8,800,000Section A (Crown Corporations)
Section B (Utilities)
United Kingdom$229,600$229,600$8,800,000$353,300$353,300$8,800,000Section A (Crown Corporations)
Section B (Utilities)

Click here for a full list of Canada’s ongoing negotiations and exploratory discussions. 

Additional references and external resources

The following links provide further information on government procurement and related topics:

Additional information on existing international  trade agreements:

Useful guides:

Government of Canada Websites:


Contact Us

If you have questions or comments, we would like to hear from you. Please contact Global Affairs Canada at the following address:

Government Procurement, Trade and Environment Division (TPZ) 
Global Affairs Canada
John G. Diefenbaker Building 
111 promenade Sussex Drive 
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0G2 
Fax: 613-944-3489