03/27/2015 07:19 EDT | Updated 05/27/2015 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan has a new plan for how it buys goods and services

SASKATOON - The Saskatchewan government is making changes to how it buys goods and services.

Minister Responsible for SaskBuilds, Gordon Wyant, says the changes will ensure a level playing field for local businesses and to ensure contracting is strategic so taxpayers get the best possible value.

The changes are based on input from more than 140 Saskatchewan businesses, associations, municipalities, colleges and universities, and other government partners.

They include taking into account factors such as quality of materials and performance to the definition of best value, rather than awarding a contract to the cheapest option.

NDP critic Cathy Sproule says the plan is a start.

The NDP have been pushing the government to make changes and introduced a private member's bill on the issue.

"This is a good start, and I think even some of the industry people are saying it still doesn't go far enough, but it is a start," she said.

Wyant said the procurement plan looks at all aspects.

“Everything was on the table from simplifying documentation and language, to awarding contracts on best value versus lowest cost, and ensuring we use all available room in the trade agreements to benefit Saskatchewan businesses," Wyant said in a news release Friday.

(CJWW, The Canadian Press)