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Resources

Collectively we are stronger. By working together, government, industry and communities can work to address long standing social issues such as unemployment, underemployment, employment training, environmental concerns, housing and more in our community.

“…no single sector, not the private sector and not the non-profit sector, (can) solve our current complex social issues. Together… blending business values and social impact objectives through social procurement (policies) offers some hope.”

-Accelerating Social Impact CCC, Ltd. David LePage March 2014

Collectively we are stronger. By working together, government, industry and communities can work to address long standing social issues such as unemployment, underemployment, employment training, environmental concerns, housing and more in our community.

“…no single sector, not the private sector and not the non-profit sector, (can) solve our current complex social issues. Together… blending business values and social impact objectives through social procurement (policies) offers some hope.”

-Accelerating Social Impact CCC, Ltd. David LePage March 2014

How do we do this? By laying the groundwork with three key elements:

Social Procurement Policies

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Community Benefit Agreements

Community Benefits

How do we do this? By laying the groundwork with three key elements:

Social Procurement Policies

+

Community Benefit Agreements

=

Community Benefits

What are Social Procurement Policies?

Social procurement policies leverage existing buying power to increase community benefits, which can include local economic development, social impact, targeted employment or training, and environmental benefits.

Social procurement is not an added cost, but an innovative adaptation of current procurement processes to achieve broader community goals.

The purchasing of goods and services continues to take place through a competitive and transparent bidding process, while also proactively seeking to achieve community benefits. Additional community value is created when infrastructure and major development projects include a community benefit agreement.

Why do social procurement policies make sense?

Fiscal responsibility
Public procurement carries great responsibility, and taxpayer-funded systems can

and should be designed to deliver value as widely as possible across society. This is better accomplished

through social procurement initiatives and policy.

Economic opportunity for all
Studies from the International Monetary Fund and University of California show that economic inclusivity is the most significant indicator for long-term economic growth. However,
ethnic minorities, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, newcomers, or LGBTQ2+ persons,
and others face barriers in their ability to access competitive procurement contracts from public institutions, as well as barriers to employment. By increasing participation from these businesses owners, and by encouraging vendors to work with and hire people with employment barriers, public institutions can improve economic and social outcomes.
Increasing innovation
Prioritizing economic opportunities for all increases competition and propels innovation through a more diverse pool of applicants and vendors. While the private and public sectors continue to try to advance innovation ecosystems, studies from Brookings Institute and University of Toronto demonstrate that innovative ecosystems may exacerbate income inequality. To remedy this, cities across North America have supported tools like social procurement to build more inclusive economies. There is increasing evidence that businesses that intentionally adopt a “doing business differently” approach outperform their competitors.
Building a sustainable economy
By being more strategic in the design of public procurement, Windsor/Essex County can move our market in the direction of our economic, social, and environmental goals. By better leveraging existing spending to improve social and environmental outcomes, we can improve lives and the overall bottom line.

What are Social Procurement Policies?

Social procurement policies leverage existing buying power to increase community benefits, which can include local economic development, social impact, targeted employment or training, and environmental benefits.

Social procurement is not an added cost, but an innovative adaptation of current procurement processes to achieve broader community goals.

The purchasing of goods and services continues to take place through a competitive and transparent bidding process, while also proactively seeking to achieve community benefits. Additional community value is created when infrastructure and major development projects include a community benefit agreement.

Why do social procurement policies make sense?

Fiscal responsibility
Public procurement carries great responsibility, and taxpayer-funded systems can

and should be designed to deliver value as widely as possible across society. This is better accomplished

through social procurement initiatives and policy.

Economic opportunity for all
Studies from the International Monetary Fund and University of California show that economic inclusivity is the most significant indicator for long-term economic growth. However, ethnic minorities, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, newcomers, or LGBTQ2+ persons, and others face barriers in their ability to access competitive procurement contracts from public institutions, as well as barriers to employment. By increasing participation from these businesses owners, and by encouraging vendors to work with and hire people with employment barriers, public institutions can improve economic and social outcomes.
Increasing innovation
Prioritizing economic opportunities for all increases competition and propels innovation through a more diverse pool of applicants and vendors. While the private and public sectors continue to try to advance innovation ecosystems, studies from Brookings Institute and University of Toronto demonstrate that innovative ecosystems may exacerbate income inequality. To remedy this, cities across North America have supported tools like social procurement to build more inclusive economies. There is increasing evidence that businesses that intentionally adopt a “doing business differently” approach outperform their competitors.
Building a sustainable economy
By being more strategic in the design of public procurement, Windsor/Essex County can move our market in the direction of our economic, social, and environmental goals. By better leveraging existing spending to improve social and environmental outcomes, we can improve lives and the overall bottom line.

Social Procurement Policies are already legislated in Ontario – the 2015 Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act.

“The purpose of this Act is to establish mechanisms to encourage principled, evidence-based and strategic long-term infrastructure planning that supports job creation and training opportunities, economic growth and protection of the environment, and incorporate design excellence into infrastructure planning.”

–  The Government of Ontario

Social Procurement Policies are already legislated in Ontario – the 2015 Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act.

“The purpose of this Act is to establish mechanisms to encourage principled, evidence-based and strategic long-term infrastructure planning that supports job creation and training opportunities, economic growth and protection of the environment, and incorporate design excellence into infrastructure planning.”

–  The Government of Ontario
Who has success with Social Procurement Policies?
  • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (since 2016): RMWB is the first municipality in Alberta to adopt social procurement. The framework improves access to city contracts by proactively pursuing suppliers that assist in meeting targeted social impact goals.

 

  • City of Victoria (since 2016): The Mayor’s Task Force on Social Enterprise and Social Procurement developed a five-year plan focused on efforts to get the unemployed, underemployed, and marginalized into employment, and to grow a strong, inclusive economy at the same time. The plan identifies recommendations that will strengthen the City’s procurement practices to maximize community benefit while supporting small business and the social enterprise sector.

 

  • City of Toronto (since 2016): To promote supply chain diversity, the City of Toronto has transformed its procurement process by focusing on increasing procurement participation from diverse suppliers. The City also partners with businesses on contracts that are over $5 million to establish apprenticeship and training opportunities.

 

  • Village of Cumberland (since 2015): While Victoria and Vancouver are currently developing procurement frameworks, Cumberland became the first municipality in British Columbia to adopt social procurement in September 2015. The framework empowers staff to align procurement with community values, and proactively leverage procurement to achieve the objectives found in the official community plan.

COMMON QUESTIONS & CONCERNS

Do trade agreements allow for social procurement?
Yes, social procurement processes can be designed in a manner that is compliant with trade agreements.
However, purchasing culture combined with the current lack of social public procurement education, pose
much bigger barriers than trade agreements. While trade agreements prohibit municipalities from providing
preferential treatment to local businesses bidding for procurement contracts, they permit municipalities to
pursue community benefits.

Since 2008, cities across Canada have proposed and implemented a wide range of community benefit
strategies through procurement. These strategies have included, prioritizing bids being evaluated on
community contributions, providing employment and training opportunities, utilizing diverse hiring practices,
and rewarding and encouraging social businesses to successfully compete for contracts in the future.

What is the cost of implementing this type of policy?
Social procurement is not about expanding city budgets; it need not cost more. There is, however, evidence
that early adopters have received bids within established budgets, and achieved benefits that would not have
been realized under a conventional system.

Social procurement can also provide horizontal linkages that strengthen existing taxpayer-funded programs.
For instance, the Government of Ontario cover the cost of employment and training by including it as a requirement in the bid for contracts. To support social enterprise or social business capacity building, cities partner with existing entrepreneurial and job training programs with little to no cost.

What is a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA)?

A Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) is an agreement that sets forth specific community benefits for an infrastructure or development project, the benefits of which have been defined through an inclusive community engagement. It is a legally binding and enforceable contract.

Local success in identifying Community Benefit needs in Windsor/Essex County

In 2017 the United Way was successful in receiving a grant to implement a series of public meetings to engage the community of Sandwich Towne. The work was focused on gathering the areas vision for community benefits in relation to the Gordie Howe International Bridge. As a result the Windsor/Essex Community Benefits Coalition was formed.

In 2017 the WECBC hosted over 30 focus groups, public meetings and engagement events were held across Essex County. Of the 32 engagement events, 17 were held in West Windsor and Sandwich Towne providing access to the residents and groups facing the greatest impact. Through this outreach, individuals self-identified representation from 52 community groups, organizations or governing bodies from across the region. We collected over 640 inputs and 900 ideas the community wanted addressed through community benefits to be delivered as a result of the building of the Gordie Howe Interntationa Brdige.

Community Benefits and outcomes of Community Benefit Agreements can include:

 

  • Employment, apprenticeships and training opportunities;
  • Environmental protections;
  • Poverty reduction measures;
  • Small business supports;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Community amenities, ranging from bike lanes, to park space and public art; nd
  • Greater community engagement and commitments.

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