Information for vendors
All Requests for Qualification (RFQ) for province-wide software licenses are posted for a two week period on the government electronic bidding system at: www.merx.com.
Guidelines to Educational Software Producers
Interested in Provincial Licences for Software
The Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee (OSAPAC) is made up of regional representatives of the school boards of Ontario. These representatives are elected biannually by the Regional Computer Advisory Committees. The Ontario Ministry of Education (EDU) also appoints a few school board members when required to ensure an equitable mix of representatives (gender, language etc.). The monies for the OSAPAC program are budgeted year to year.
Vendors should clearly understand the respective roles of OSAPAC and EDU in the priority setting, ranking, negotiating and contractual process. OSAPAC surveys the teachers and computer consultants to establish OSAPAC priorities for software licenses. EDU reviews these priorities to determine that they meet EDU curriculum criteria for the given year. OSAPAC members conduct all software reviews and ranking. EDU is not involved in this part of the process except to facilitate the delivery of software and to ensure that the ranking is carried out in a fair, effective and orderly process.
Once priorities are established in any given year, Requests for Qualification (RFQs) or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are posted on www.merx.com. Qualified respondents to individual RFQs are then invited to submit pricing for the deliverables through a Request for Tender (RFT). If only one respondent qualifies in a RFQ or only one product is submitted, then EDU can negotiate directly for terms, conditions and price. RFPs contain qualifying criteria, rate bid forms and a Form of the Agreement. The highest scoring qualified product wins if it is within budget.
Criteria for Negotiating Provincial Licenses
Throughout the year, OSAPAC surveys the province to determine their priorities for software licences for the current year. A web survey is used to collect this information on the OSAPAC web site www.osapac.org . The priorities identified through the survey are confirmed with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch of EDU and RFQs are posted on the government's bidding web site www.merx.com.
Some general features that are looked for are:
- Software must be commercially released
- Software is no more than three years old
- Software is networkable
- Available in Windows 2000, XP, Vista and/or Macintosh OS X
- Available in English and French
- Canadian made, or at least an exclusive Canadian distributor
- Company capable of providing regional training and support
A motion passed on March 23rd, 21012 states:
OSAPAC recommends that the Ministry recognize the need to expand the number of platforms and devices, including privately owned student and teacher devices upon which existing licensed products and future digital learning resources can be operated. Future license agreements should ideally support the diverse platforms expected to be in place in Ontario schools. Responding to this need will require significant investment of time and capital in the upcoming years.
When the Ontario Software Acquisition Program is funded for 2012/2013, and priorities have been announced, RFQs will be posted on www.merx.com. The site should be monitored for new RFQs.