WINNIPEG — Winnipeg officials have unanimously approved the Social Procurement Action Plan.
The plan now tasks officials with developing the process to use Winnipeg’s annual, $400-million procurement program to employ or buy services from those identified in target equity groups.
According to the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA), the procurement plan will apply to construction services and contracts as well.
The MHCA and Winnipeg Construction Association engaged, as part of a broad working group that included industry and community social enterprise organizations, to ensure the policy and action plan reflected industry experience and insight to the procurement processes.
Target equity groups include Indigenous people, women, people of colour, newcomers and LGBTQ2S+.
“The social procurement processes and tools will respect the need for fair, open and transparent tenders,” said MHCA president Chris Lorenc in a statement. “As well, there will be discussion with the broad working group members prior to the selection of construction projects for community benefits agreements.”
The development of the action plan has taken the better part of a year, through collaboration with a variety of industry and social enterprise representatives.
“We found the capable facilitation of Buy Social Canada helped produce an action plan that recognizes and embeds the years of work and experience our industry has demonstrated in recruiting, training and hiring individuals from under-employed or underrepresented communities,” Lorenc added.
The association noted they expect the plan and policy to be rolled out over the next three years.
Lorenc stated he believes the continuing presence of a stakeholder advisory table and procurement roundtable will ensure the development of tools and the process is iterative, well-informed and reflects necessary practicalities.
The action plan’s first items include the development of procedure guidance to supplement the Materials Management Policy and include processes for each of the procurement mechanisms.
As well, the administration and partners will begin engagement on the design of a community benefits agreement, as directed earlier by council, for phase two of the North End Water Pollution Control Centre.
Between September and November this year, city administration will design a pilot plan and identify 10 to 15 coming procurements with “high sustainability opportunities to pilot,” including contracts with potential set asides for social enterprise or Indigenous businesses.