COVID-19 UpDate For Our Partners


How group purchasing works, and other burning questions from our fireside chat

We recently hosted a fireside chat (aka a free webinar) with our friends at Canoe Procurement Group Canada, and representatives from industry-leading companies like Zamboni, Athletica Sports SystemsCascadia Sport Systems, and Becker Arena Products, to talk about all things cooperative purchasing.   

Canoe is the Canadian counterpart to U.S.-based Sourcewell. (FYI, CIMCO won the Sourcewell contract in early 2021.) Both Canoe and Sourcewell are leaders in cooperative purchasing, a procurement model tailored to municipalities, public sector entities, and not-for-profit organizations. With cooperative purchasing, these groups gain the advantage by leveraging their collective buying power to cut costs and cut through some of the red tape and legwork that can slow projects down. 

In case you missed it, you can watch the event here. (Oh, and if you didn’t catch CIMCO’s Net Zero Naturally webinar series that ran this summer, we recommend checking that out, too.) If you prefer a cheat sheet-style recap, we’ve rounded up some of the most frequently asked questions about cooperative purchasing from the event.  

How does cooperative purchasing work?  
When an organization becomes a member of the Canoe Procurement Group of Canada, they take advantage of the combined purchasing power of more than 5,000 municipalities, public agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. According to Canoe, “this huge economy of scale means greater selection and best value pricing on the products and services you need to build, maintain, and grow your community.”  

What about the RFP process?  
There’s an open RFP process that uses approved tendering processes. The RFP process is done in advance on behalf of the entire membership, so organizations don’t need to post the RFP again.   

How exactly do I save time and money with cooperative purchasing?  
Think of cooperative purchasing like a skip-the-line-ticket-meets-group-discount. Organizations save money because of discounted pricing. And because time is money, organizations save there, too; Canoe significantly reduces the timing of the tender process—typically at least 251 hours—by collapsing what is usually an 11-step process into four. For instance, because Canoe goes to tender on behalf of its members (there isn’t a membership fee, so that’s more money saved), members don’t have to go through groups like MER, BC Bid or SaskTenders. Petawawa Civic Centre is a great example of how cooperative purchasing can help ice rinks and arenas: when the facility realized it required a new condenser for its ice rink refrigeration system, the hockey season was fast approaching. With the help of Canoe, they avoided delays and opened on schedule.  

Is Canoe regulatory compliant?  
You bet. Canoe satisfies the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and other trade legislative requirements for buying groups, including local agreements in place that govern specific regions of the country (e.g., the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, the Ontario-Quebec Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the Atlantic Procurement Agreement), as well as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement that applies to transactions over a certain financial threshold.  

If your organization needs some extra information in this area, Canoe can make presentations to the individuals and groups (e.g., town councils, chief administration officers) to get everyone on the same page and feeling comfortable about how the system works.  

Contact us to chat about how cooperative purchasing can help with your ice rink system, or check out Canoe’s Member Procurement Guide for more details on what you need to get started.  

Quaterly Update (1)

Visit the Cooperative Purchasing page for more information on the program.