The Updater - January 2016 Edition

The Power of Procurement

Success at Aboriginal Supplier Pilot Forum

In May 2015, Parks Canada Agency and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada hosted an interdepartmental forum to provide Vancouver Island Aboriginal businesses an opportunity to network, build relationships, and to gauge Aboriginal business capacity in the region.

The forum was a success in that it garnered strong interest and support from local Aboriginal communities working directly with Parks Canada Agency and others who have a vested interest in doing business with Parks Canada Agency and other Federal Departments.

By organizing the pilot forum Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, as well as the rest of the federal government, have set a positive precedent for pursuing greater inclusion of Aboriginal peoples in economic development planning. In part, these efforts made the forum a tremendous success.

Aboriginal attendance at the pilot forum also proved to be successful with 17 Aboriginal participants with a wide range of expertise and experience. Parks Canada Agency sees immense value in working collaboratively with Aboriginal Affairs Northern Development Canada, and Public Works and Government Services Canada's Office of Small and Medium Enterprises.

This approach will be especially useful for opportunities related to Infrastructure investments. For Parks Canada Agency, this includes $3 billion investment in infrastructure, which can directly support economic opportunities with Aboriginal partners, communities and businesses.

Overall, it was evident that the forum was rich with information and participation from all stakeholders.

Federal department team members had the opportunity to work together, build connections and brainstorm a path forward for continued collaboration.

Building on the success of the forum, the three departments are planning to expand the pilot to other parks in British Columbia and Alberta, and eventually across Canada.

Aboriginal Women in Canada's Economy

The participation of women in the workforce is a particularly important aspect of Canada's economic growth. In 2009, an Industry Canada analysis came to the conclusion that over 1.5 million Canadians are employed by women-owned businesses, proving the significant role women entrepreneurs play in the economy.

This entrepreneurial spirit is mirrored in the Aboriginal community as well. Of all self-employed Aboriginal people in Canada, women make up 37% and even 51% of Aboriginal small– and medium-sized enterprises are owned in whole or in part by Aboriginal women; an impressive example of Aboriginal women's business capacity in Canada.

Despite these successes, Aboriginal women continue to face significant barriers when trying to start their own businesses. On top of the challenges women generally face in the world of business, Aboriginal women entrepreneurs' challenges are often exacerbated due to living conditions, rural or remote locations, and a generally lower level of socio-economic development.

Recognizing the importance and impact that Aboriginal women entrepreneurs can have on economic development, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has supported a number of initiatives to alleviate the pressures of starting a business. Over the last five years Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has funded 31 projects totaling $3.1 million in support of Aboriginal women entrepreneurs. Of these 31 projects, the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program funded nearly half of the projects, contributing 72% of the $3.1 million.

The contributions made by Aboriginal women in the world of business have been duly noted and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada continues to support initiatives that provide capital, support and assistance to new and developing women-owned Aboriginal businesses here in Canada.

Junior Achievement and Tyendinaga

In June 2015, students from the Tyendinaga Junior Achievement reached out to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada looking to meet with officials to talk about the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) program and government procurement. The students came to get to know the program and the people who would be able to provide them support as young entrepreneurs.

Barry Payne, President of Adirondack HR, has been an advocate for developing young entrepreneurial minds amongst Aboriginal youth. Mr. Payne has recognized the importance of PSAB as more than just a tool but "as an incentive to encourage other First Nations businesses and people to think about growing and expanding their businesses."

The students from Tyendinaga came and visited Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's head office in Gatineau, Quebec and learned what the program has to offer and how it can be an important program to drive economic development from within Aboriginal communities.

Making PSAB Work for You

  • Register in PWGSC's Supplier Registration Inventory System to promote your business.
  • Participate in Supplier Development Activities.
  • Regularly monitor for procurement opportunities.
  • Please share your ideas and suggestions with us by:
  • Register your business in:
  • Additional information is also available online at:
    • Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB)
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