Growing participation by Indigenous businesses in Defence Construction Canada projects requires immediate action and long-term planning: tasks a team at DCC are tackling simultaneously to support federal government priorities moving forward.

As part of Canada’s effort to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship with Indigenous peoples, the federal government introduced a mandate requiring that five per cent of federal contract dollars be awarded to Indigenous businesses.

To meet this, the Department of National Defence and DCC initiated the development of a Joint Indigenous Procurement Strategy—starting first with creating a database of Indigenous business (see more about this in our December 2020 newsletter), and then connecting with Indigenous businesses directly.

“We need Indigenous businesses to know who we are, where to find our opportunities, and what the process is to submit tenders,” said Joel Fisher, Regional Service Line Leader, Contract Services.

This important information was shared in 21 information sessions held in the past year with Indigenous businesses. On average 20 participants joined each session.

“Overwhelmingly, the feedback we received from the outreach sessions was positive—thankful that DND and DCC are taking the initiative to provide this information,” said Mark Smith, Technical Specialist, Procurement.

Early results show the outreach has had a positive impact. Participation in tenders by Indigenous business has nearly doubled recently, and DCC’s database of interested Indigenous business is growing. DCC awarded 55contracts to Indigenous businesses with an award value of $19.2 million in 2020–21, and aims to continue to grow this total.

The joint procurement strategy, which will establish this effort in the long-term, is now being drafted, and the project team expects to roll it out, with training for DCC staff, later this year.

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