In 2022, Hydro‑Québec will begin to implement new selection criteria regarding occupational health and safety and sustainable development designed to reward bidders who have adopted good OHS and SD practices. This will apply to certain requests for proposal.

Read the following information and learn more about the gradual introduction of the criteria.

This webpage will be updated on a regular basis. We encourage you to add it to your bookmarks.

Why the change?

Hydro‑Québec wants to promote best practices in occupational health and safety and sustainable development in order to strengthen the supply chain and ensure it is more focused on social responsibility.

The criteria were determined after meeting with other companies in Québec and abroad that award contracts and are designed to measure suppliers’ good practices in occupational health and safety and sustainable development so their efforts can be taken into account in Hydro‑Québec’s RFP process.

Target markets

The new criteria will be introduced gradually in the different procurement categories.

Occupational health and safety

The new occupational health and safety criteria will first be implemented gradually as of spring 2022. The questionnaire will initially be added to the RFPs covering 25 service markets where a higher risk has been identified.

Suppliers will have to fill out a questionnaire if they conduct activities in the following sectors (non-exhaustive list): construction work, helicopter services, vegetation management, signage, management of residual hazardous waste materials, material control, crane rental and telecommunications.

The new criteria will then be added to the other procurement categories where a high or moderate risk has been identified.

Sustainable development

As of spring 2022, the sustainable development questionnaire will be applied in certain target markets. Procurement advisors will inform suppliers in advance.

Over time, Hydro‑Québec aims to have both questionnaires included in most of its requests for proposals.

Questionnaires: introduction

Questionnaire – Occupational health and safety (OHS)

14 questions on 5 topics

  • OHS statistics
  • Risks, inspections and audits
  • Training and awareness
  • Subcontracting
  • Management procedures and practices

Questionnaire – Sustainable development (SD)

16 questions on 3 topics

  • Governance
  • Environment
  • Social responsibility

Questionnaire integration

Questionnaires available on Cognibox as of April 4, 2022

OHS questionnaire – gradual integration

  • 25 priority categories – high-risk services, including work – Q2 2022
  • Categories – high-risk services – Q3 2022
  • Categories – moderate-risk services – 2023
  • Integration into tender calls only
  • Validation criteria development – Supplier selection

SD questionnaire

  • Gradual integration
    • 20 tender calls targeted – Q2 2022
    • Categories – major issues – 2023
    • Categories – moderate issues – 2024
  • Integration into tender calls and OTC contracts (for information)
  • The questionnaire will be gradually integrated into all procurement categories


To access the questionnaires, you must already be registered with Cognibox, the company in charge of the evaluation.

To do so, please follow these steps:

  1. Connect to your Supplier Space.
  2. Go to your Supplier Record.
  3. Under the Identification heading, find the section Registration with Cognibox for the evaluation.
  4. Click on the Access Cognibox form, fill it out and send it in. Cognibox will contact you to start the process.
  5. Pay the annual Cognibox subscription fee. The amount depends on the size of your business. If you are already a Cognibox member, this will be taken into account.
  6. Fill out the evaluation questionnaires indicated in the RFP you are bidding on or for evaluation in occupational health and safety or sustainable development and provide the required documentation.
  7. Get your score and download the PDF document. The Cognibox report is valid for one year, unless some of the documents required for the evaluation expire before that time.
  8. Submit this document with your bid.

Please note: It takes three business days for the registration and evaluation of your file if it is complete.

The score you receive can improve your file and may be used for all bids during the period in which your evaluation is valid.

To find out if questionnaires must be filled out for an RFP, please consult the section Information and Instructions for Prospective Bidders in the RFP.

Partnership with Cognibox

Hydro‑Québec has chosen to work with Cognibox. This external partner’s mandate is to evaluate the duly completed occupational health and safety and sustainable development questionnaires and to assign a mark to each questionnaire. The information provided will be validated by the company’s team in accordance with established criteria. Bidders must register a supplier profile and Cognibox will inform them of the annual costs upon registration.

In addition to supplying the evaluation service, Cognibox will provide support to bidders who request it when preparing their file.

Additional information is available on Cognibox’s website:


  • Rewarding the efforts made by bidders regarding occupational health and safety and sustainable development
  • Determine the steps to take to improve occupational health and safety and sustainable development practices

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register with Cognibox?

To register, go to your Supplier Record in your Supplier Space. Please see the Procedure Procedure section for a step-by-step overview.

How much does it cost to register with Cognibox?

Annual subscription fees vary between $100 and $600, depending on the size of your business. Cognibox will notify you of the exact amount.

What does it cost to register?

Cognibox’s annual subscription fees will vary depending on the size of your company. Already have an account? You’ll be notified of the fees when you register.

What are the deadlines for registering and evaluating the completed file (OHS and/or SD)?

Within 72 hours, provided the submission is complete.

Who do I call in the event of a problem?

Cognibox’s customer service will answer all your questions regarding technical issues with the platform, registration or completing the questionnaire. You can contact Cognibox by email (, phone (1 877 746 5653) or the live chat on the website.

How is my personal information managed in Cognibox?

You can consult the Cognibox privacy policy.

What market segments have you set your sights on?

The OHS questionnaire concerns suppliers from 25 service markets: pollutants and residual materials, waste and hazardous materials management, investigation and quality control for materials, vegetation control (pruning, clearing, felling), installing poles, signage, building maintenance, helicopter services, crane rentals, and professional telecommunications services.

We intend to integrate the SD questionnaire into 20 goods and services markets in 2022. Procurement advisors will inform suppliers in advance.

How to know if questionnaires must be filled out for a call for an RFP?

To know if the questionnaires must be filled out for an RFP, you must consult the section Information and Instructions for Prospective Bidders in the RFP document.

Regarding joint ventures, must each member register and submit a questionnaire (score)?

If the joint venture is a duly constituted legal entity, it must register under this profile with Hydro Québec’s Supplier Space and Cognibox and obtain a score as a joint venture. If the joint venture is not legally constituted, each member must register with Cognibox and enter their score in the bidding system.

Must the questionnaire be supplied solely by the bidder, or also by the subcontractor?

Only by the bidder.

Is the process different for freelancers?

Freelancers must also complete the questionnaire.

When must I provide an OHS and/or SD score?

The RFP will indicate whether or not suppliers can enhance their bid by filling out an OHS or SD questionnaire.

What happens if I refuse to register and submit the Cognibox evaluation report?

At this time, questionnaires are not an eligibility criterion. The score you obtain can help improve your bid. However, the OHS questionnaire will become an eligibility criterion within approximately one year and will need to be completed by any supplier wishing to be considered eligible.

Can I get a 48-hour extension in the event of a problem?

The questionnaire is currently not an eligibility criterion, so the 48-hour deadline is not applicable.

Will eligibility depend on a pass mark?

For the short term, there will be no pass mark except in prequalification requests. In the long term, pass marks may be required for certain tender calls.

Do I have to comply with the answers provided in the questionnaire for the duration of the contract?

A grandfather clause in the contract specifies that the supplier must comply with the answers provided in the questionnaire. Hydro‑Québec reserves the right to verify compliance with these answers throughout the contract.

How long is the evaluation report valid for?

The evaluation report is valid for one year, notwithstanding any expiry date in the documents appended as evidence. You can include the evaluation report so long as the score assigned to you remains valid.

What happens if a question or the Cognibox score is not validated?

Hydro‑Québec will attribute a score of 0% to all unvalidated questionnaires.

How are suppliers’ OHS and/or SD files evaluated?

The evaluation is objective and sets out to avoid interpreting the data in any way. The document validation criteria are also transparent for suppliers. Third-party assessment harmonizes the file evaluation process.

What happens if the bidding period elapses before I receive confirmation?

To obtain a validated score, the process must be completed. Otherwise, Cognibox will not validate the response.

Will I be notified when one of my documents is about to expire?

Cognibox will issue an email reminder when a document is about to expire. Upon receiving the email, you must perform the necessary steps to validate your file.

Can I improve my score once I’ve obtained it?

Once the bidding process has ended, evaluation will be based on the validated scores received. However, you can change your answers to the OHS and/or SD questionnaire at any time to improve your score, then use this new score in subsequent tender calls.

How can I improve my OHS and/or SD score?

Cognibox can help you complete the questionnaire. The evidence validation criteria are also transparent and can help you improve your OHS and/or SD results.

Learn more

Link to attend the presentation on Monday, , from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. [in French only]

Register for our information sessions [in French only] on the new criteria and the procedure to follow.

Please consult the information session [PDF 662 MB – in French only]*.
*Please note that some information given during the session may have changed since the rollout in April 2022, especially the categories targeted.

If you have any questions on the project or the rollout of questionnaires, please contact Hydro‑Québec project team

If you have questions about the Cognibox platform or the occupational health and safety or sustainable development questionnaires, please contact Cognibox: