City procurement policies can do much more to boost social and economic value in Edmonton than our current policies do. Backed by large employers in the Edmonton area, Michael Oshry will build a new, viable and effective social procurement plan that prioritizes local social and environmental factors.
Instead of focusing solely on economic value, this plan will improve both social and economic value by:
Hiring locally, sourcing locally
- Creates more good jobs in our city
- Keeps more money circulating in the local economy
- Builds local supply chains and makes our businesses more competitive and resilient
- Mandating local community benefits and prioritizing social enterprises icreases local social return
Getting buy-in from businesses
- Large employers are already prepared to support this social procurement policy
- Businesses want to promote social good, and this gives them an opportunity
- There is no cost to business associated with being involved
- We will work with businesses to balance program benefits with long-term investments in sustainability, safety and training
- We need to make sure this actively leads to better social, economic and environmental outcomes – partnership with businesses is essential to getting results
Boosting our skilled labour force
- We need to address the skilled labour shortage in Alberta and in Canada
- We will require companies bidding on government contracts to include a certain percentage of apprenticeships and training for lower-skilled workers
- This benefits workers themselves and the local economy as a whole
- This will help address poverty by providing opportunities for workers to expand their skills and experience
Hiring people with barriers to employment
- We need to do more to help people who have been incarcerated, live with disabilities, experience poverty or face discrimination secure good jobs
- We will require employers to hire a certain proportion of people with barriers to employment
- This is part of Indigenous economic reconciliation, and also helps prevent many social problems, from poverty to homelessness
- Hiring people with barriers to employment will help boost our available workforce
Creating a day labour social enterprise
- Day labour social enterprises match people in need of work (usually people with barriers to employment) with companies needing workers, on flexible contracts
- This benefits both parties: the workers and the company
- This will help fill the gap between rising demand for labour and the downward trajectory of our skilled workforce
- Day labour social enterprises can provide good paying jobs, lead to permanent work, and build a skilled (and more productive) workforce
Establishing measurable requirements and outcomes
- Oshry’s Procurement Policy will have specific requirements for suppliers and specific outcome targets. Good social procurement requires tangible and transparent goals. It’s not enough to just say we’re going to do it, we need to show how we are doing it.
Clear and specific requirements
- The current City procurement policy starts us down this path, but it requires more specific and clear guidance to work properly. The current policy is opaque in terms of how criteria are weighted which means the goalposts aren’t clear for bidding suppliers, and many find the City’s process frustrating for its lack of clarity.
We need to use all the tools at our disposal to build a better Edmonton, and procurement is an often overlooked and hugely significant tool for doing that. Oshry’s procurement strategy will include measurable and specific requirements and outcomes that provide clarity for bidding suppliers, to ensure that we start doing better procurement instead of just talking about it.
Michael Oshry Quote:
“In 2019, the City adopted a Sustainable Procurement Policy which did provide a good start in this direction. However, this policy is lacking teeth and needs significant expansion. We need to build something more ambitious, and we need to do it with businesses fully onside. My procurement plan is a necessary expansion of current procurement practices, and ultimately, social value and economic value are interdependent - accounting for both will improve both.”
Quotes from Business Leaders:
“Chandos is a purpose driven national technical builder leading change in the Canadian construction industry. Social procurement is a powerful tool that contractors can (and should) use to transform lives while creating value for taxpayers. As such, we are implementing social procurement in all of our districts across Canada and are demonstrating that significant impact is possible with no premium capital cost to the taxpayer. We have engaged with Michael and are supportive of his platform with respect to social procurement.”– Tim Coldwell, President, Chandos
“PCL understands and appreciates the benefits of social procurement. We stand in support of an initiative under Michael Oshry’s leadership where the City of Edmonton and the construction industry collaborate to develop a meaningful and impactful model.” -PCL Constructors Inc.
"In the city-building business, environmental, social, and good governance objectives matter more now than ever. They represent what society values and they represent the expectations of the global capital marketplace. Collaborating with the private sector to enhance our City’s social procurement policy and give it ‘teeth’ is what Edmontonians deserve. It will backstop continued and innovative investment in building truly resilient communities.” - Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson MBA, EllisDon Capital Inc.
Quotes from Non-profit Partners:
“Edmonton has a unique opportunity to change the way we do business for win-win-win scenarios for business, government spending and those looking for good jobs. It can only happen here—and is happening here—Oshry’s plan will supercharge this effort and spur a robust recovery for all Edmontonians.” - Erick Ambtman, Executive Director, EndPovertyEdmonton