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Winnipeg social procurement working group in progress: MHCA

The MHCA continues to take part in a City of Winnipeg working group to discuss the elements of a social procurement policy, setting out how the City can use its buying power to expand economic benefits to under-represented communities.

MHCA President Chris Lorenc told the association’s Executive Committee June 23 that the working group recently heard a presentation from Buy Social Canada, which offered a logical five-step process for integrating social procurement into the purchase of goods and services.

“A number of us thought the Buy Social Canada’s steps to policy formulation constituted a good guideline – starting with strategic organizational objectives and progressing through to measure for verifying results,” Lorenc said. “We feel it could be used by the City in formulating its own process.”

Social procurement seeks to generate a social return from the tendering or purchasing of goods and services that an organization, such as a government or agency, engages in.

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 meetings continue, with a target for recommendations later this fall.

The Executive Committee was updated on developments from a number of the association’s priorities, including on the RM of Springfield’s proposed aggregates bylaw. The industry working group sent the RM a number of suggested adjustments, that aim to ensure that existing operations and new pits are not impeded.

The industry focused on providing protection of water quality and mitigation of noise, dust, light and esthetic (visible) elements that accompany aggregate operations.

Springfield has committed to consulting the industry group again.

Other items discussed at the committee included:

  • The MHCA has produced a pamphlet that illustrates the benefits, the purposes and regulatory controls for pit and quarry operations. It was circulated to members, operators and a variety of stakeholder organizations and municipal offices in early June.
  • Discussion with provincial offices continues about the need to make COR™ certification mandatory for public tenders of all value. Currently, contractors must be COR™ certified to be awarded provincial tenders valued at $100,000 or more.
  • The Manitoba Common Ground Alliance, of which MHCA is a member, has been working with utilities to speed up the response for locate requests. A notice was sent to members, informing them of the work and that extended delays should be reported.
  • The Provincial Quarry Rehab Advisory Committee has met to discuss, among other things, operational and rehabilitative standards. It will also discuss adjustment to the provincial levy that operators pay, per tonne of extracted aggregates, into a provincial account that funds rehabilitation.
  • WCR&HCA’s website has been updated and refreshed; an annual conference is in the works, but will not be held before 2023.