Reconciliation requires taking meaningful steps forward to advance the Indigenous economy with intentionality for the long-term benefit of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses.
For centuries, Indigenous people have provided goods and resources to help Canada grow, and that tradition continues today with more than 60,000 Indigenous businesses thriving and ready to compete in the global marketplace. Yet Indigenous businesses remain underrepresented in supply chains.
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) introduced Supply Change™ in 2018, an Indigenous procurement strategy that looks for ways to strengthen connections between corporate Canada, governments and Indigenous businesses. A large component of Supply Change™ is the Aboriginal Procurement Marketplace, whose members consist of corporate companies committed to enhancing Indigenous representation in their supply chains, and it currently includes over 1,200 Certified Aboriginal Businesses.
In 2021, the Minister of Public Service and Procurement announced a mandatory requirement for all federal departments and agencies to direct a minimum of five per cent of the total value of contracts to Indigenous businesses. Indigenous Services Canada further pledged $35.2 million over five years to modernize the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business.
At approximately $22 billion annually, the Government of Canada is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the country. As such, even a modest change in the Government of Canada’s procurement practices will have enormous material benefits for Indigenous businesses and communities.
CCAB recently released the report Trading Nations: Supporting International Indigenous-To-Indigenous Trade Policy Development to provide an overview of Indigenous trade and export, an examination of the rights of Indigenous peoples, current provisions and examples of initiatives, as well as recommendations.
Government research has shown that increasing access to markets for Indigenous businesses is key to closing economic gaps between Indigenous peoples and the non-Indigenous population, which economic analysis conducted by the National Indigenous Economic Development Board, has reported would grow the Canadian economy by $27.67 billion.
CCAB is committed to ensuring procurement and trade opportunities exist to foster a strong Indigenous economy — and greater prosperity for all Canadians.
Visit CCAB.com for more information.