Buy Social Canada Announces 2021 Social Procurement Champion Award Winners

March 18, 2021

Blue banner with text: Buy Social Canada Symposium 2021 Social Procurement Champion Award Winners!Buy Social Canada has announced the winners of the 2021 Social Procurement Champion Awards. 

The Champions are a municipality, a community advocacy group and a group of social enterprises who have successfully endeavoured to advance social procurement in their communities. Together these champions represent the necessary elements for a healthy social procurement ecosystem: the integration of social value demand, social enterprise supply, and community development. Together these elements create our future economies, where we collectively leverage existing purchasing to shape inclusive, vibrant and healthy communities

Flag of the city of CalgaryCity of Calgary for the Benefit Driven Procurement Policy

In the social procurement purchaser category, the demand side of the marketplace, the 2021 champion is the City of Calgary’s Benefit Driven Procurement Policy. Across Canada the social procurement movement has been led on the municipal level, and Calgary has set the bar high for all purchasers. Calgary is using a comprehensive approach that includes a three-year pilot/implementation strategy, evolving metrics, multi-stakeholder engagement, training, and intentional change management, culminating in a recommended policy.

Rows of colourful construction hatsConstruction Social Enterprises EMBERS, BUILD, Building Up, and Impact Construction

On the supply side of the marketplace, the Social Procurement Champions are a group of social enterprises engaged in and supporting the construction industry across the country: EMBERS in Vancouver, BUILD in Winnipeg, Building Up in Toronto, and Impact Construction in St. John’s. With the growing trend of Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) and Infrastructure Canada’s Community Employment Benefit Initiative (CEB) across Canada, the construction supply chain for labour and sub-contractors offers tremendous opportunities and social enterprises are responding. These social enterprises are countering the preconceptions and myths that using social enterprise suppliers results in higher costs and lower quality. In fact, with their competitive pricing and quality work, these social enterprises working in the construction industry are creating pathways to skilled, meaningful, and well-paying work for youth and equity-seeking individuals, while also filling critical labour gaps in the construction industry. These social enterprises represent exactly what it means to build back better.

LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition LogoLeBreton Flats Community Benefit Coalition

From the first Canadian CBA for the 2010 Olympic village in Vancouver, to successful social procurement advances in cities like Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto, the role of community-based leadership and advocacy is essential. The Social Procurement Champions for community advocacy this year are the LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition, in Ottawa. The LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition is a collaboration of 31 community organizations advocating for a CBA approach to the redevelopment of a 29 hectare federally owned tract of land in Ottawa and thereby stretch the value of every dollar of investment to realize multiple benefit outcomes. This advocacy has led to collaboration with the City of Ottawa and includes efforts to realize social procurement policies and initiatives, thereby supporting the burgeoning cluster of social enterprises in the Ottawa region. This year we celebrate the forward-thinking efforts of the LeBreton Flats Community Benefit Coalition, which was initiated and driven by volunteers from the communities that will be directly impacted by the land transfer.

Celebrate, connect with, and learn from the 2021 Social Procurement Champions at the Buy Social Canada Symposium. The awards will be presented by past Social Procurement Champions, SAP and Chandos Construction and will feature discussions where we can learn from the important work being done across Canada to harness the power of purchasing to create impact.