Sandra Hamilton is Canada’s First Social MBA and a Public Sector Social Procurement Advisor. Hamilton works with all three levels of government and with public owners to modernize procurement processes and achieve more social value through public sector supply chains. She is the former Business Manager to Vancouver 2010 Olympics CEO John Furlong and has designed both British Columbia’s & Alberta’s first Social Procurement Frameworks. Hamilton is a speaker and Canada’s nominee to address the World Trade Organization (WTO) Symposium on Sustainable Government Procurement in Geneva in February. In March, Hamilton will be speaking on the topic of Social Procurement at the 2017 Canadian Construction Conference in Mexico.
by Sandra Hamilton | Canada’s First Social MBA
“A country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.”
These are the words of the United Kingdom’s new prime minister, Theresa May. May replaced David Cameron after Cameron’s post-Brexit resignation for failing to anticipate the country’s high level of support for leaving the European Union.
Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign delivered essentially the same message: governments need to serve all people and not only the business elite. Other countries, including Canada, can learn from these political shocks. Now is the time for governments across Canada to ensure that global trade creates a rising tide capable of floating all boats.
Governments working to stem the tide of protectionism while increasing global free trade will need to ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits. Taking a strategic approach to public sector procurement can achieve this: such approaches should be designed to stimulate a more inclusive and sustainable approach to regional economic development and should reward supply chain partners willing to work with governments to solve social problems.
Procurement transformation involves not only modernization through e-bidding technology, but also by moving beyond ethical and environmental procurement’s mandate of ‘Do No Harm’ to proactively leveraging public sector procurement to improve lives by ‘Doing Some Good.’
While sustainable economic development calls for a balanced triple bottom line approach, the reality for most governments across Canada is that sustainability still means ‘green.’ Over the last twenty years, balancing concern for the planet with the price point has become normalized. Yet concern for people, particularly for those who are the most disadvantaged, continues to be left out of the People, Planet, Profit approach to sustainable government procurement. Why is this?
Fortunately, various levels of government in Canada are starting to modernize and transform procurement systems. Judy Foote, the federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement, has a mandate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to advance social procurement: in Ottawa, Bill C-227 – an act promoting community benefits in infrastructure – has passed second reading and advanced to the committee stage.
Social procurement, still an underutilized tool in Canada, is an approach that strategically leverages public sector spending in order to achieve key public policy goals in the areas of inclusive economic development, Indigenous economic reconciliation, skills training, and workforce development, youth employment, supportive employment, supply chain diversity, social enterprise capacity building and improved small-business access to public sector supply chains. People can no longer be left out of a People, Planet, Profit based approach to sustainable government procurement.
Social procurement moves us beyond the ‘Do No Harm’ mandate of ethical and environmental considerations to the proactive ‘Do Some Good’ – Sandra Hamilton, Canada’s First Social MBA – Public Sector Social Procurement Advisor
At all three levels of government in Canada, fascinating conversations have been ignited and important questions are emerging. How and when is it appropriate to add social value criteria to a public sector procurement process? How is the best value being defined? How do we stimulate a more inclusive approach to economic development? How will we measure the impact of this approach? There is no doubt that the procurement landscape is changing.
Reprinted from The Legal Edge Newsletter JAN 2017
Readers are cautioned not to rely upon this article as legal advice nor as an exhaustive discussion of the topic or case. For any particular legal problem, seek advice directly from your lawyer or in-house counsel. All dates, contact information, and website addresses were current at the time of original publication.