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Procurement Law and Contract Interpretation

Course Code: BUSN 4720
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Business
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course will expose students to current Canadian legal approaches concerning the interpretation of written contracts, including with respect to specific, common contractual clauses. Students will also gain a strong understanding of the Canadian law of procurement, including duties owed by each of the parties in competitive bidding processes and how such duties have evolved over time. Furthermore, students will develop basic skills regarding the drafting of commercial contracts. In addition to traditional textbook readings, students will be expected to read and discuss numerous critical court decisions relevant to the interpretation of contracts and to procurement law.

Course Content

1. Contractual Interpretation

  1. Objective and subjective intentions of parties
  2. Custom and usage
  3. Good Faith
  4. Conduct of parties
  5. Contra proferentum
  6. Ejusdem generis
  7. Parol Evidence Rule
  8. Use of recitals and defined terms
  9. Implied terms
  10. Rectification
  11. Estoppel
  12. Interpretation of particular categories of clauses, including Best Efforts, and Commercially Reasonable Efforts

2. Procurement Law

  1. Forms of Competitive Bidding
    1. Tenders
    2. Requests for Proposals
    3. Calls for Expressions of Interest (EOI)
    4. Two stage procurement (ie with EOI, Requests for Qualifications, etc.)
  2. Obligations of the parties
    1. Duty of fairness
    2. Disclosure obligations
    3. Consideration of non-compliant bids (including use of Rectification clauses)
  3. Specific clauses
    1. Privilege clauses
    2. Discretion clauses
    3. Exclusion and limitation clauses
    4. Negotiation clauses
  4. Public procurement
    1. Canadian Free Trade Agreement
    2. New West Partnership Procurement Agreement
    3. North American Free Trade Agreement
    4. Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
    5. Rights and obligations arising under example statutes

3. Drafting Contracts

Methods of Instruction

Lectures, seminars, videos, analysis of legal issues, discussion of legal cases, case assignments, and group activities.

Means of Assessment

Term Test(s) (1-2) 25-40%
Drafting Assignment(s)                          20-30%
Participation 5-15%
Final Examination 25-35%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Describe the key components of the Canadian law of competitive procurement, including commonly used forms of procurement;
  • Identify critical contractual clauses commonly used in procurement documents;
  • Explain the effect of prominent court decisions with respect to the evolution of Canadian procurement law;
  • Recount the obligations of the parties in a competitive procurement context;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of particular treaties and statutes that are applicable to the Canadian law of public procurement;
  • Describe common approaches used by Canadian courts in interpreting commercial contracts, including with respect to specific categories of common contractual clauses;
  • Explain the importance of the notion of good faith in Canadian contract law; and
  • Draft basic, unambiguous commercial contracts.

course prerequisites

BUSN 1320, AND ENGL 1130 OR LGST 1110 OR CMNS 1115, with a grade of C or higher in each prerequisite course, OR instructor approval





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.