Purchasing Methods and Dollar Limits

While alternate purchasing methods and processes, which are formalized in purchasing procedures, are available to the university community, the first and most preferable option for ALL purchases is SupplyNet.

Business units are required to follow these procedures by selecting the appropriate and preferred method of procurement based on the nature and value of the goods and services being ordered.

To reduce the administrative effort when purchasing standard goods or services, and to lower the University's total cost by leveraging the University's purchasing power, SMS establishes Preferred Supplier Agreements. In most instances, business units should place their order using SupplyNet. The preferred ordering method is noted on the Preferred Supplier Listing.

If your good or service is not available through a Preferred Supplier, the thresholds below determine the acquisition method and associated administrative process.

1. Purchasing Goods and Services Under $5,000
Options, in order of preference, to purchase any good or service from a single supplier required for University business, are:

a. SupplyNet (create a "Purchase Request" to have a Purchase Order issued).
b. Corporate Purchasing Card (PCard)

2. Purchasing Goods and Services Over $5,000
These purchase are generally a straightforward acquisitions of goods or services, but may also have specific requirements for delivery, warranties or specific terms and conditions requiring negotiations.

A minimum of two quotations is recommended. The only option for these purchases is:

a. SupplyNet (create a "Purchase Request" to initiate the issuance of a Purchase Order).

3. Purchasing Above Competitive Bid Thresholds: Goods and Services $75,000 and Above; and Construction Services $200,000 and Above
In order to comply with the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, the University must competitively bid and advertise purchases greater than the following thresholds:

• Goods and Services $75,000 CDN and above, and
• Construction Services $200,000 CDN and above.

The only option for these purchases is:

a. SupplyNet (create a "Purchase Request" to trigger the Competitive Bid process).

For information on the competitive bid process and competitive bid exceptions, or for further information and assistance:

See: Competitive Bid and Exception Procedure

Contact: customerservice@sms.ualberta.ca

4. Summary Chart: Purchasing Procedures and Methods

Purchase Method & UAPPOL Procedure


Dollar Limits ($CAD)

Other Conditions, Limits & Information

Petty Cash Procedure

- use to purchase incidental, low-value goods and services when use of cash is the most cost efficient method of payment

- limits are unit specific


- normally not to exceed $250 in monthly purchases

- cannot be used for frequent or regularly purchased items, personal loans, emergency student loans, bursaries, salaries, wages, honoraria or for cashing cheques

Corporate Purchasing Card Procedure


- use to purchase low-value goods and services from suppliers that accept payment via the corporate purchasing card

- limits are cardholder specific for monthly and per-transaction limits as determined by the department

- cannot be used to purchase restricted or controlled goods or other items as specified in the procedure

Purchase Order Procedure


- use to order goods and services from suppliers including most preferred suppliers (see listing for details)

Preferred Supplier Contract Listing

- no limit, however small dollar transactions may be more suited to the Corporate Purchasing Card Procedure

- SMS is the signing authority for all agreements, including license agreements for online and software services, and will lead all contract reviews

- any goods and services above $75,000 and any construction services above $200,000 must be competitively bid

Competitive Bid and Competitive Bid Exception Procedure)

Contracting for Services Procedure

- use to contract with individuals (non-employees), small businesses or limited or incorporated companies for non-employment services

- no limit

- agreements for services that are $50,000 and above require a signed Services Agreement (see the procedure for more details) prior to the work commencing to ensure compliance

- if contracting with an individual you must also complete a

Determination of Worker's Status Checklist (from the Forms Cabinet) to ensure the individual is not considered to have an employee relationship - if so, follow HR procedures