Small businesses and local workers throughout British Columbia will benefit as local government purchasing dollars are invested back into communities through expansion of the British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative.
“We are committed to ensuring B.C. communities emerge from this pandemic even more resilient,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This initiative is a great example of local governments working together, learning from each other and sharing common regional resources to turn their purchasing dollars into benefits that support local businesses, create an inclusive workforce and build a strong recovery.”
The Province is providing $500,000 to expand the British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative through a one-time grant to the City of Victoria. The program encourages participating local governments and organizations to pool resources, and gives them the tools and training to make smarter purchasing decisions that focus on best value rather than only the lowest price. It supports a collaborative and community-focused approach to procuring equipment, supplies and services for local governments in both small, rural communities and large, urban centres – one that is unique to each community’s needs. The program also opens up opportunities for community organizations and smaller local suppliers to better respond to contract opportunities.
“Social procurement is a new approach to economic development,” said Lisa Helps, mayor of the City of Victoria and co-chair of the British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative steering committee. “Public-sector spending represents a very large portion of Vancouver Island’s economy, and how we spend those funds matters. Social procurement enables public-sector entities to procure goods and services in line with the values of their communities and to the benefit of their local economies.”
The program uses a community-centred approach that aligns the process of purchasing goods and services with achieving greater community outcomes, making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to work with government and benefit from the economic opportunities created through government contracts.
“The provincewide expansion of this program means people, businesses and communities in every corner of B.C. will see the benefit of procurement dollars being reinvested locally,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “As we gradually put the pandemic behind us, building innovative, sustainable and inclusive communities will continue to be our government’s focus.”
Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill –
“Investing in our local communities and businesses is more important than ever as we move toward a strong pandemic recovery. It’s really exciting to see this project, which began locally here in Victoria and on Vancouver Island, expanding provincewide.”
Colleen Evans, councillor, City of Campbell River and co-chair, British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative steering committee –
“Today’s announcement is significant to improving the health of our communities and the strength of our economies by enabling greatly expanded access across B.C. to the groundwork of British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative early learning, resources, tools, pilots and policies that are changing the culture of public-sector procurement."
David LePage, managing partner, Buy Social Canada –
“The British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative has become the showcase for community collaboration – leveraging shared resources to build resilient local economies, create local jobs and provide opportunities for all the members of the community.”
Matt Palmer, project manager, Koers & Associates Engineering Ltd. –
“As part of this initiative, the Town of Qualicum Beach has taken leadership to provide employment opportunities for under-represented groups, promote training for the next generation of skilled trades people, encourage better wages and help support the local economy. The town’s process was developed around a points-based scoring system, which provides a clear and transparent method for incorporating social value in the tender review and award process.”
To find out more information about the British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative, visit: https://bcspi.ca/
Interested in learning more about the British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative and social procurement? Sign up for a learning session:
A backgrounder follows.