Online open bidding system to spur on transparent deals for surplus vehicles

GCSurplus snapshot

What is

For those who don’t already know, it’s a Government of Canada auction website that sells surplus federal government assets like vehicles, furnishings, marine and farming equipment.   They also sell seized and voluntarily forfeited goods from federal and provincial law enforcement agencies.  This can include expensive jewelry, luxury vehicles, collectors’ items and more.  At this time, they do not sell land or buildings that were federally owned.  In the past they have sold off fleets of government vehicles with little use. For instance, a number of gently used Chrysler 300’s were sold off after a G7 conference in Quebec. 

What is changes with an open bidding?

The bidding system for GC Surplus currently operates as a closed type of system.  This means that bids are not visible to the general public and the highest bid (beyond the minimum set bid by a government employee) is the one that wins the auction.   While this can be good for those with a set budget for a particular item and not a lot of attachment to winning, it can also push potential bidders away out fear they are wasting their time even bidding.  Now that all the previous bids for an item are visible, it could initiate bidding wars for popular items. 

How can I win a luxury vehicle or jewelry auction?

Open bidding has not yet started and there is still time to register.  Early registration would be key to winning as only those with an account can bid.  Beyond this, email notifications can be set to follow bids for an item.   We expect more alerts to be available to once the open bidding system is opened and will update this article as required. 


A problem with other online auction platforms is shill bidding or fake bids to drive up the price of an item.  There is always a possibility that shill bidding could create a bidding war for a popular item, even on a government website but in our view, it’s much less than auction sites like eBay.   Monitoring and transparency by the federal employees who operate GC Surplus is crucial to build confidence in the platform, we hope they take to their social media to ease any worried bidders.

How can I see what items are coming up for auction soon?

GC Surplus has a twitter account and they occasionally post items there that are coming up for auction.  There has been more activity on this account recently and monitoring it may be a way to not miss a sought-after item.  We are looking forward to growth of their social media presence as it could be helpful to drive interest of potential bidders.


Aside from this, visiting and searching by keyword or even looking at the categories that they have broken down on their items for sale page can be helpful to see what’s available.   There are often detailed descriptions of vehicles available including overall condition, VIN and sales clauses.  You may get lucky and find a 2014 Toyota Corolla for up for auction so check back often.

Sample of item for sale page

How can I protect myself when bidding on

All bidders must register with their name, address and phone number.  Registration info is guarded by a privacy notice and furthermore, the privacy act. Limited information about your username is revealed after placing a bid.  There is still opportunity for accounts to be created to run-up bids or for other illegitimate purposes.  We expect further bidder verification to come into force as time goes on.

How can I collect my item after the winning bid is accepted?

After winning an auction, payment must be made using the Moneris secure online payment system. For payment, Interac debit, Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted.  Next, items that are paid for can be collected or shipped.  Not all items can be shipped and those that can will be marked that shipping is available for the sale therefore vehicles must be picked up at the depot which they are being sold from.  Purolator has a contract with GC Surplus to ship all of their items.

light truck for sale on GCsurplus
Light truck for sale with 113K KM

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