Perhaps Switzerland should apply?

British Columbia and Alberta are outsourcing the work associated with their Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement. Earlier this month, the two government quietly announced they were looking for a neutral party "to deliver the services required for a fully functional" TILMA secretariat. That secretariat, which will be located in Victoria or Edmonton, will be responsible for administering the agreement's dispute resolution and bid protest processes, among other duties. Which explains why the bid document for that contract specifically states its winner "must deliver the required services to the Parties in a manner that is fair, equitable and unbiased." The following is a complete copy of the relevant portion of that contract.

B. Requirements and Response

1. Summary of the Requirement

This Request for Proposals is issued by the Government of British Columbia on behalf of the Parties.

The Parties plan to establish a TILMA Secretariat (Secretariat) as required under the B.C. - Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). The Secretariat will be an impartial body that is funded jointly by the Parties as required under TILMA.

This RFP is to identify a successful Proponent to deliver the services required for a fully functional Secretariat to be established in either Victoria or Edmonton. Regardless of the location of the Secretariat office, the successful Proponent must deliver the required services to the Parties in a manner that is fair, equitable and unbiased.

This RFP is to establish the fees for the successful Proponent to deliver the required services. The additional costs associated with the operation of the TILMA Secretariat will be the responsibility of, and covered through a budget that will be provided by, the Parties.

2. Overview

2.1 Ministry Responsibility

The Contract will be administered, and the deliverables reviewed jointly, by the Parties. The Province of the jurisdiction where the Secretariat will be located will enter into the Contract with the successful Proponent and be responsible for paying for the services of the successful Proponent and the additional costs associated with the operation of the Secretariat.

2.2 Background

On April 28, 2006, the Parties signed TILMA and agreed to remove barriers to trade, investment and labour mobility between the two Provinces. TILMA creates the second-largest economic region in Canada.

TILMA builds on the prosperity of the Provinces by giving businesses and workers seamless access to a larger range of opportunities in all areas, including:

* energy;
* transportation;
* agriculture; and
* investment

TILMA also enhances the ability of workers to move from one Province to the other and streamlines business registration and reporting requirements.
Additional information about TILMA can be found at: www.TILMA.ca.

2.3 Project Scope

This RFP is to identify a successful Proponent to deliver the services required for a fully functional Secretariat. The successful Proponent will manage a Secretariat office that is based in either Victoria or Edmonton. The Proponent is required to identify in their proposal from which of these two locations it proposes to provide the required services. The Secretariat office will be located at the location indicated in the successful Proponent's proposal. However, if a Proponent indicates that the services can be provided at either location with different pricing for each location or the same pricing, the Parties shall evaluate the proposal and rank the proposal based on the pricing or if the pricing is the same the Parties shall unilaterally determine the location of the Secretariat office and the Proponent shall provide the required services from the location determined by the Parties. .

Nothing in this RFP should be construed as having the effect of creating an employment relationship between the Proponent and the Parties or the Proponent and the Secretariat.

The term of the contract is for one (1) year with the applicable contracting Province having the option to renew the Contract twice for up to one year each time. The contract will commence May 1, 2009 or as soon as possible thereafter.

It is the sole responsibility of the Proponent to ensure that it complies with all applicable laws, conventions, and requirements when providing the services required for the operation of the Secretariat.

2.4 Project Budget

In addition to specifying the location of the proposed Secretariat office, the successful Proponent must only propose its fees to deliver the services outlined in APPENDIX A.

The successful Proponent will be paid on an hourly basis. The successful Proponent shall not exceed 120 hours per month without the prior written approval of the contracting Province. Total hours annually shall not to exceed 1200 without the prior written approval of the contracting Province.

Expenses associated with the operation of the Secretariat (including technical support required to host the www.TILMA.ca website) will be covered through a budget that will be provided by the Parties and is out of scope of this RFP. The successful Proponent will be responsible for administering the budget and ensuring that the Parties are satisfied with the decisions and operations of the Secretariat.

It is envisaged that the Secretariat office will in the future include the engagement of one or more support or professional staff, expenses associated with the rental of space and equipment, office supplies, travel and meeting support, website administration expenses, auditors, etc. The successful Proponent will be responsible for the above in consultation with the Parties.

Authorized travel on Secretariat business will be reimbursed by the contracting Province. Expenses incurred by the successful Proponent for travel between their place of residence and the Secretariat office will not be reimbursed. The successful Proponent will report periodically to the Parties on the activities and expenditures of the Secretariat.

3. Requirements

Please refer to APPENDIX A for a description of the key services that the successful Proponent will be responsible for delivering.

APPENDIX A: SERVICE REQUIREMENTS

The successful Proponent will be required to deliver the following services:

A. Administering the Dispute Resolution and Bid Protest processes and procedures in an objective and impartial manner as defined in the TILMA, including but not limited to:

* maintaining a roster of panellists nominated by the Parties,
* developing detailed procedures to operationalize the Dispute Resolution Procedures of Part IV of the TILMA,
* registering disputes and bid protests and maintaining a registry of all documentation related to each dispute and bid protest so registered,
* establishing a timeline for each dispute and bid protest based on the timeframes established in the TILMA, and
* providing all necessary administrative support related to the establishment of the panel, the holding of the panel hearing, the preparation and publication of the report by the panel, the establishment of a panel to determine compliance and the holding of the hearing on the matter and the preparation and publication of the ensuing report.

B. Providing coordination and support, if and when requested in writing by the Parties, to Ministerial Committee meetings and the management of working groups under the TILMA on behalf of the Parties by providing administrative, technical and decision support services, including but not limited to:

* logistical arrangements,
* the preparation of agendas, documents whether for background or for discussion, records of decisions (RODs) and reports,
* the interpretation of TILMA processes and procedures,
* ensuring follow-up on matters dealt with in previous meetings and other work program components,
* the identification and analysis of trends and issues related to internal trade between the Parties, and
* reporting on the work of TILMA-related committees.

C. Maintaining the www.TILMA.ca website (cost of IM/IT services will be covered under the ancillary budget for Secretariat expenses) and information for public inquiries, including but not limited to:

* maintaining and regularly updating the www.TILMA.ca website with information on the implementation of the TILMA, the provisions of the TILMA, and the dispute resolution mechanism as well as other related matters, and
* the maintenance of an information repository concerning all aspects of the negotiations and implementation of TILMA, including inter alia annual reports, financial reports of the Secretariat, all documentation related to the working groups and ministerial meetings, to individual disputes and to the tracking of disputes, obligations and progress, as well as research and analyses of issues, trends, etc.

D. Providing effective management and leadership of the resources of the Secretariat, including:

* managing the overall relationship between the Secretariat and the Parties,
* preparing and submitting to the Parties an operating plan, no later than 60 days before the beginning of each operating year in a format deemed appropriate by the Parties,
* entering into sub-contract arrangements on behalf of the Secretariat,
* managing the Secretariat's finances and its financial relationship with the Parties to the TILMA,
* providing for financial statements to be kept concerning the operation of the Secretariat, and, and
* the preparation of an annual report within 90 days of the start date of the contract and by January 1st of each new year on the operations and estimated expenditures of the Secretariat.

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