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Approved Suppliers FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

Since the release of the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive, Higher Education Institutions are now held to the same standard as Provincial Government Departments when spending public money on purchasing products and services, with a focus on obtaining the best value via an open, competitive and transparent process.

The Approved Suppliers List offers purchasers the opportunity to access goods and services from suppliers which have met conditions set forth by the University, and have been procured in a manner consistent with government and University guidelines. The responsibility of competitive procurement is alleviated from individual shoppers when using the suppliers listed, who have already met the requirements.

The Approved Suppliers List offers University purchasers opportunity to access goods and services from suppliers which have met conditions set forth by the University in an effort to maximize value for money and customer service. Each supplier on the list has been procured through open and fair processes which align with the province’s Broader Public Service procurement directives.

In addition, cumulative campus-wide spending offers more leverage to attain better value for money from our suppliers. University purchasers can take advantage of the best deals suppliers offer to our community, rather than independently negotiating by department or individual. The resulting agreements are being centrally managed by Strategic Procurement, and suppliers who fail to meet their promised levels of product delivery and service may be removed from the list.

A complete list of commodities and the buyer who manages each category is available here.

You may also email with questions or suggestions pertaining to MacBuy suppliers.


Feedback from our campus community, including an analysis of our previous purchases and dollars spent with already engaged suppliers directly influenced many of the suppliers we have negotiated contracts with. A procurement specialist or manager from the Strategic Procurement department oversaw the process of attaining each contract to ensure it complied with the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive.

We intend to continue to look for opportunities to increase the variety of suppliers we have relationships with. Feedback from purchasers across the University to identify such opportunities is always welcome.


An RFSQ is a publicly tendered call for suppliers to qualify for an approved supplier list for specifically identified goods, services or projects. Each proponent electing to participate is evaluated by a team of stakeholders including field experts and/or project managers. Pre-established criteria is used to weight each proponent using the same rating system, and those meeting the expressed qualification standards will be notified. Once a supplier has met the conditions of the RFSQ, they may be engaged in a written contract, or placed on an approved list for future purchasing opportunities.


We recommend that you engage with the Approved Suppliers initially, to see if any may meet your purchasing needs. If there is not a suitable supplier, then purchasing from an alternate supplier is acceptable. McMaster University recognizes that there may be cases where specialized products are only available through certain suppliers, and purchasers are welcome to continue to purchase from these suppliers as needed.

If there is a supplier from which regular purchases are made that is not on the Approved Supplier list, please contact Strategic Procurement. The university may be able to engage in an opportunity with this supplier to be added to the Approved Supplier list in the future.

Contact Strategic Procurement  to provide feedback regarding your experience. Approved Suppliers have signed an agreement that states they must provide specific levels of service, and that they will be subject to regular performance and pricing reviews. If a particular Supplier continually fails to meet these standards they will be disqualified from the Approved Supplier list.

Typically, supplier agreements are 3 years with the option to extend for a further 2 years subject to regular performance and pricing reviews. For specific information about any agreement, please contact Strategic Procurement.

In many cases, McMaster University purchasers will not have to make any changes. Strategic Procurement has identified the suppliers that were already being used for the majority of purchases for each commodity, and these suppliers were considered for the Approved Suppliers list. In addition, new suppliers entering the marketplace that are keen to establish a good business relationship with the University by offering competitive pricing and levels of service have been considered. The Approved Supplier list offers options for each commodity while providing the best value available to users campus wide, and continues to grow as new business opportunities are identified. If the provided suppliers are not adequate, a purchase can still be made from another supplier, following the standard procurement guidelines and policies.