Federal efforts to award contracts to Indigenous businesses hit snags


General Government Manufacturing contracts government Indigenous manufacturing procurement

Promised to redirect at least 5% of contracts to Indigenous-led businesses.

OTTAWA — A federal push to get more Indigenous-owned businesses to bid on government contracts is being slowed by issues over how the data is collected.

The Liberal government has promised to redirect at least 5% of contracts to Indigenous-led businesses – out of some $18 billion in goods and services that Ottawa purchases every year.

But The Canadian Press obtained a document through the Access to Information Act that advised senior civil servants overseeing reconciliation efforts last June that issues had made it hard to register and track Indigenous-led businesses – steps needed to hit the target.

The presentation did note other perceived “quick wins” had worked out, including work by four departments to update Indigenous considerations in procurement training and the launch of an online Indigenous business referral service.


One of the groups looking to help the government reach its goal says the most recent figure for Indigenous procurement is less than one per cent.

J.P. Gladu, outgoing president of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, says hitting the five per cent target would contribute $5 billion to the national economy through Indigenous entrepreneurs.



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