The approach will generate contracts worth an estimated $ 1 billion for Indigenous businesses each year
In an effort to create more opportunities for Indigenous businesses, the federal government has announced that it will require all departments and agencies to allocate at least five percent of their procurement contracts to First Nations businesses, Inuit and Métis.
Announced on August 6, the new mandate will take effect immediately for companies ready to start work, with full implementation by 2024.
The government has estimated that the initiative could result in the annual award of government contracts worth about $ 1 billion to Indigenous businesses.
“To be clear, five percent is the floor – not the ceiling – when it comes to ensuring that Indigenous-led and owned businesses are full partners in government procurement,” Anita Anand said. , Minister of Public Services and Supply, at a press conference. conference.
In support of this goal, Anand said, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) will invest $ 35.2 million over five years to modernize the government’s Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB).
This will include expanding the geographic areas where federal organizations must first consider sourcing from Indigenous businesses and expanding the definition of “Indigenous business” to allow more businesses to meet the criteria. eligibility, the government said.
Expanding sourcing opportunities to be more inclusive of Indigenous businesses has been a long-standing goal of the Canadian Council for Indigenous Business (CCAB), noted Tabatha Bull, president and CEO of the organization.
“Not only do I feel pride, but I think we’ve accomplished something remarkable together, something that has the potential to support generations of Indigenous businesses and communities, not only to bridge socio-economic gaps,” but to regenerate the wealth that has been lost and to move us forward towards Aboriginal prosperity, ”said Bull.
The initiative is a collaboration between Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), and follows three years of consultation with various stakeholders.
According to the government, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 38 contracts were awarded to 30 self-identified Indigenous businesses, collectively valued at around $ 126 million.
The contracts covered a wide range of services and equipment, including logistics and air charter services, accommodation and cleaning services, information technology, professional services, medical supplies and laboratory, masks, hand sanitizer and thermometers.