A roundtable discussion focused on the power of procurement took place at the 2022 Forward Summit: Empowering Indigenous Economies, which was held in association with the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino Event Centre just outside Calgary on Tsuut’ina Nation, Treaty No. 7 Territory.
The panel discussion focused on Indigenous inclusion in all aspects of supply chain and across various industries. The panel was comprised of moderator Philip Ducharme, vice-president of entrepreneurship and procurement for the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB); and the following speakers: LNG Canada asset supply chain manager Aubrey Regan; Chandos Construction’s national director of Indigenous strategies Tim Laronde; Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) outreach and procurement lead Jenny Yu; and Aaron Lambie, president and CEO of Social Awareness Group.
The question posed to Tim asked whether Chandos has a strategy in place to increase [inclusive hiring and social procurement] opportunities for Indigenous businesses? And if so, could he provide a quick overview of that strategy.
“One of our mandates from the last five years has been to always work and have a social impact on our suppliers and our clients. And one of the things that we do is we reach out to equity seeking groups who need that extra help or may not have a fair advantage in terms of being a supplier. Indigenous falls into that equity seeking group,” he says. “The longest time, Indigenous businesses had not had a fair shake, and a fair opportunity at a lot of the different projects.”
Tim joined Chandos in January 2021 under the newly created position of national director for Indigenous strategies and has been helping the company focus on working directly with First Nation communities.
“We will have probably 100 to 120 projects ongoing across Canada at one time. And one of the things that we work through with our estimators and with our RFP system is making sure that there is an Indigenous component built into our RFP responses,” he says.
One question posed to clients if they’re not an Indigenous nation is, “What can we do to help the Indigenous communities in your traditional territory?”
“What we’ll do is we’ll reach out to those communities and make sure that as a GC, a general contractor, we want to make sure that there’s opportunities for subtrades and partners that may have Indigenous-owned businesses or maybe community-owned businesses as well. So, it’s something that we continually focus on. And what’s really interesting is since we’ve been doing this, we now have direct projects with Nations themselves, and they set the bar pretty high in terms of what they want for Indigenous content."
This story was originally published in Canadian Forest Industries.