Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

MPP Fife introduces bill to diversify government procurement

Published on April 13, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK – Waterloo MPP and Official Opposition NDP Critic for Finance and Treasury Board, Catherine Fife tabled a bill in the Ontario legislature Tuesday that seeks to diversify government procurement and ensure that the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19 is more equitable and inclusive. 
“Government procurement can be used as a tool to support better economic and social outcomes,” said Fife. “The public sector has tremendous buying power, and it is long overdue for the province to leverage that buying power to support the province’s diverse small and medium enterprises. This bill will support business owners who haven't always had a seat at the table, such as women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ folks, those with disabilities, new immigrants, and veterans.
“There should be more to government procurement than choosing the lowest bidder. My proposed bill will create a more equitable economy and create opportunities for Ontario’s diverse businesses. I encourage all members of the legislature to support the bill at second reading on April 22.” 
Fife’s bill, The Supply Chain Management Amendment Act (Provincial Diverse Vendor Strategy), lays the groundwork for a provincial diverse vendor strategy that seeks to create a more equitable economy and diversify and grow our domestic supply chain. The legislation establishes a framework for the strategy, establishes a Diverse Vendor Advisory Board, and strikes a standing committee of the legislature to analyze best practices for the new program. Similar initiatives are common across the private sector and have been introduced across the United States, the City of Brampton, and the City of Toronto.  
Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
“There is both economic and social value in making our supply chains more diverse and inclusive. As the largest customers in the economy, governments have tremendous power to incentivize suppliers. Changing the incentive structures is the most powerful way to change outcomes. Supplier diversity has been shown to increase innovation, reduce risk, and open new opportunities for economic development.”
Dr. Barbara Orser, Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa 
“The Provincial Diverse Vendor Strategy proposed by MPP Catherine Fife is an historical step to realizing the full value of Ontario small businesses through diverse vendor procurement. The strategy and Advisory Board will identify opportunities to deploy government spending as a means to drive innovation, secure supply chains and strengthen the economic impacts of public procurement.” 
Silvia Pencak, President of WBE Canada, a Canadian non-profit organization helping Canadian women-owned businesses land more corporate and government contracts 
“We are excited that the Ontario government is looking at diversifying its supply chain. Women-owned businesses bring innovation, expertise and overwhelming commitment to succeed - all they need is access to the opportunities."