2018-05-11 15:12:41 Running a Business English Learn about how the Canadian government is changing from Goods and Services Identification Number codes to United Nations Standard Products... https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/ca_qrc/uploads/2018/04/Man-Ensuring-New-Codes-Registered.jpg https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/business/codes-being-replaced-2019/ Government Suppliers: UNSPSC Codes to Replace GSIN Codes in 2019

Government Suppliers: UNSPSC Codes Replace GSIN Codes

2 min read

If you’ve been selling products or services to the Government of Canada, you’ve used Goods and Services Identification Number (GSIN) codes. The government assigns these codes to different types of products, so it’s easier for you to find related business opportunities. Now Canada operates on a different system — the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC). Whether you’re supplying the government now or in the future, it’s helpful to understand this change.

What Is a GSIN Code?

The Canadian government buys products and services from private businesses. In the past, it assigned a set of numbers and letters, called a GSIN code, to each type of product or service. If you sell strategic or media planning services, your GSIN code is T003AD. When the government needs a specific service or product, it posts the item on the Buyandsell.gc.ca website with the associated GSIN code. If you want to find these postings, you look them up according to the correct code for the goods or services you sell. When you don’t know what GSIN code applies to your business, Browse GSIN Codes has a full list.


The Canadian government no longer issues GSIN codes and has changed to the UNSPSC classification system, which the United Nations Development Programme developed. The UNSPSC is an international classification system for procurement items that differs from GSIN codes, is centrally governed, updated regularly, and available in many languages. This system switch helps the government to create a more modern setup and to eliminate many outdated and unused GSIN categories.

How the Government Changes From GSIN to UNSPSC

Canada is using a mapping method to change all of the codes. This process selects a GSIN code and finds the matching UNSPSC. Then, it updates all the references to the GSIN code. Since the Buyandsell.gc.ca site contains a voluminous number of codes, this process takes time. As the government finds old GSIN codes that no one uses, it removes them from the system. Once the change is complete, you and other government contractors can access the UNSPSC codes free download on Buyandsell.gc.ca.

How Your Business Switches to UNSPSC

Shifting from GSIN to UNSPSC happens automatically, so there’s nothing you need to do. However, if you’re accustomed to searching for opportunities using a specific GSIN code, consider starting to look for the corresponding UNSPSC. During the transition, you may see both types of codes on the government resource website. If you’re one of the government suppliers working on a contract when your code changes, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) contacts you and gives instructions if changes affect you.

Most businesses in Canada won’t experience much of a difference as the government changes from GSIN to UNSPSC. If you want to start doing business with government agencies, it’s a good idea to read the news releases on the Buyandsell.gc.ca website to stay up to date. Another good business idea is updating your cash flow management system. 4.3 million customers use QuickBooks. Join them today to help your business thrive for free.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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