Canada has announced measures to increase federal procurement opportunities for Indigenous businesses
The government said it was committed to renewing and strengthening its economic relationship with Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities by providing increased economic opportunities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses through the federal procurement process.
Via a collaboration between Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), the Canadian government is implementing a mandatory requirement for federal departments and agencies to ensure a minimum of 5% of the total value of contracts are held by Indigenous businesses.
Figures will be publicly reported and phased in over three years from 2021. It will start at a number of federal departments with full implementation expected by 2024.
To support the target, ISC will invest $35.2m over five years to modernise the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB).
This will include expanding the geographical areas where federal organisations must first consider procuring with Indigenous businesses, as well as broadening the definition of ‘Indigenous business’ to enable more firms to meet the eligibility criteria.
The measures are the result of engagement conducted over the last three years and more recently through advice received by the Indigenous Reference Group, which includes representatives from the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando), the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the National Indigenous Economic Development Board (NIEDB) and the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA).
Bilateral engagement has also taken place with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC).
PSPC said the funding would also go towards continued engagement and consultation with Indigenous partners to discuss more transformative changes.
It will provide First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners with support to increase the capacity of Indigenous-owned businesses to compete and receive more federal procurement contracts.
The Honourable Anita Anand, minister of Public Services and Procurement said the government continued to place engagement and reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities at the forefront of its work.
“The measures announced today will provide meaningful opportunities for Indigenous businesses to succeed and grow, while helping to make federal procurement a real reflection of Canada’s population,” said Anand.
Canada’s 2021 budget proposed to leverage supplier diversity opportunities through domestic procurement, such as holding competitions that are open to businesses run by Canadians from equity deserving groups.
Pam Damoff, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous Services said it was important the government procured and supported a diverse portfolio of Canadian businesses.
“By increasing Indigenous representation in the overall Canadian economy, it will not only offer new and exciting opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs, but will benefit all of Canada thanks to a more competitive and inclusive procurement process,” said Damoff.
“As we start to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, our government is more than ever committed to building a better, more inclusive, and sustainable future. Today’s announcement will support capacity development and greater economic prosperity for Indigenous communities.”