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Winnipeg industry seeks targeted working group on social procurement

A City of Winnipeg policy for social procurement that affects construction tenders and contracts needs the thoughtful and deliberate input of the industry, Council’s Executive Policy Committee was told this week.

The best means of gathering such information is to strike a construction-specific working group, to help lay out the principles and workable path to best serve the goals that Winnipeg wants to achieve by writing social procurement, as a policy, into its tendering and purchasing practices.

This was the message delivered at EPC March 17 by the Winnipeg Construction Association, on behalf of the construction industry. EPC was presented with a letter, signed by WCA, MHCA and Merit Contractors of Manitoba.

“There are a lot of interested parties in the social enterprise/social procurement community and developing a working group that deals strictly with specific issues related to construction tendering, project delivery and outcome evaluation has a higher likelihood of delivering workable principles,” the letter states.

The MHCA participated in a consultation led by the city January 28, along with social enterprise groups and others from the construction industry.

City administration was directed by City Council in December to hold consultations to identify social procurement practices for appropriate City tenders, “with a goal of establishing a bid value for community benefits, consistent with the practice of other comparable Canadian municipalities, including a cost analysis of tendering under a social procurement policy where appropriate.”

The report recommends the Winnipeg Public Service establish a working group “to advise on improving sustainability for the City’s procurement of goods and services.”

The report includes an overview of policies in other municipalities but it fell short of providing a cost/benefit analysis.