What is Supplier Diversity Canada?

by J.B. Maverick

2 min read

Supplier Diversity Canada is an organization that aims to empower the economy through diversity. It promotes the importance of working with diverse suppliers, and it aids women, aboriginal, minority, and LGBT business owners in securing government and corporate contracts. It also helps government agencies and corporations find diverse suppliers.

What Is Supplier Diversity?

Supplier diversity simply refers to the practice of maintaining diversity among suppliers. Imagine a business hires a landscaping company, a cleaning company, and a security company to take care of its building, and it also hires dozens of other suppliers for various reasons throughout the year. If all of the suppliers are the same race, gender, and sexual orientation, the company does not have supplier diversity. However, if the company works with suppliers from a range of diverse backgrounds, it has supplier diversity. Generally, to be considered a diverse supplier, a business must be majority-owned, controlled, and managed by women or minorities.

Why Is Supplier Diversity Important to Businesses?

Businesses report that supplier diversity helps improve their corporate images and meets their commitments to social responsibility. They also see it as a way to connect with their clients’ and customers’ communities and fuel them economically. If you run a corporation, consider diversifying your supplier base so that it more accurately mirrors your client base. Essentially, those communities are supporting your business; when you hire suppliers from those communities, you return that support.

How Does Supplier Diversity Canada Help Suppliers?

Supplier Diversity Canada has online databases where diverse suppliers and businesses needing suppliers can search for each other. If you are a diverse supplier, you may register with the organization to receive information on educational opportunities and resources to help you procure more contracts. For example, when the Women’s World Cup came to Canada, its organizers needed caterers, event decorators, translators, security companies, cleaning crews, and a range of other suppliers. Supplier Diversity Canada helped minority- and women-owned businesses apply for and obtain many of these contracts.

Are There Other Supplier Diversity Groups?

Business Women in International Trade also has a program to support supplier diversity. Associated with Trade Commissioner Service Global Affairs Canada, this organization only works with businesses owned and managed by at least 51% women. To participate, businesses must be certified as women-owned. If you’re interested, you can obtain certification through WEConnect International or WBE Canada. Similarly, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council is a nonprofit organization focused on helping Aboriginal business owners as well as business owners from other racial minorities obtain corporate supplier contracts. This group offers certification, learning resources, and connections with businesses looking for suppliers. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans business owners, the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the largest champion of supplier diversity. This group provides certification to businesses owned and operated at least 51% by LGBT entrepreneurs; like the other organizations, it also offers development support, educational resources, and networking opportunities.

References & Resources

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