City of Saskatoon leverages buying power for maximum benefit.

At the October City Council meeting, City Council approved a new Purchasing Policy for the City of Saskatoon. This policy aligns our own procurement better with that of the Priority Saskatchewan framework. It now reflects best practices for public procurement and will make the process more transparent and fair for all businesses. It draws on criteria from federal and provincial procurement rules and will use ‘best value’ rather than lowest price in the procurement of civic goods and services for the City.

The new purchasing policy also includes social procurement criteria, which will better enable procuring from social enterprises, Indigenous businesses, and from businesses that incorporate environmental sustainable practices. The idea of social procurement is an emerging and growing trend in Canada, with lots of opportunity for innovation simply by leveraging purchasing power.

Shaun told of the examples of BUILD and Aki Energy, and their work to empower social enterprises. He discussed the value that social enterprises have, a value that extends far beyond the people being hired or the work being done. He talked about practical steps taken in Winnipeg that had tangible benefits, such as hiring underemployed people to retrofit plumbing in public facilities to be more energy efficient. Not only did these retrofits have financial payback with the cost savings associated with them, such as keeping people out of the justice system, but there was also payback through providing training and work experience. Although this is just one many possible examples, it speaks to the benefits of connecting people who need the work with the work that needs to be done

Lucas Stewart