How it works

The Aboriginal Procurement Program promotes Indigenous economic development by increasing contracting opportunities for businesses owned by First Nation, Métis and Inuit people. The program helps grow Indigenous businesses by increasing access to the Ontario government’s procurement process.

The program encourages ministries to purchase from Indigenous-owned businesses when goods and services:

  • benefit Indigenous people or communities
  • serve the needs of Indigenous people (e.g., a government program or policy for Indigenous people)
  • are culturally specific to Indigenous people

Ontario government ministries can also use set-asides, which are procurements for goods and services that have been reserved for competitions among eligible Indigenous businesses.

In addition to set-asides, ministries can include Indigenous requirements when issuing tenders. This encourages suppliers to partner or sub-contract with a qualified Indigenous business to complete a portion of the contract.

Evaluation criteria can also be used to recognize non-Indigenous businesses that work with Indigenous people. In selecting a supplier, ministries may consider the supplier’s track record of:

  • partnering with Indigenous businesses and communities
  • employing Indigenous people
  • training Indigenous people

Who is eligible

The Program is open to all Indigenous businesses, including those that work with non-Indigenous businesses (for example, sub-contracts or joint ventures).

You are eligible if you are either:

  • an Indigenous business (51% or more owned and controlled by Indigenous people) or
  • a joint venture or consortium, controlled and owned by an Indigenous business or businesses

In the case of a joint venture or consortium, one-third of the total value of the work must be done by an Indigenous business, either by the Indigenous partner/contractor or by an Indigenous sub-contractor. In the case of an Indigenous business, all of the work must be done by an Indigenous business and sub-contracting is only permitted with other Indigenous businesses.

Procurement process

The government supports an open, fair and transparent procurement process. Potential vendors need to participate in a tendering process and submit proposals that are reviewed and evaluated. Suppliers also need to be qualified and meet requirements for the specific procurement opportunity.

Procurement opportunities are posted electronically on BravoSolution, the Ontario government’s new designated electronic tendering service provider. This system replaces MERX Networks Inc. The new tendering system hosts procurement opportunities and award notices for Ontario government procurements. Vendor registration is required to review procurement documents.

Procurement opportunities may also be sent directly to eligible suppliers, including businesses who qualified as Vendors of Record for the Ontario government.

Indigenous businesses can also identify potential small-value contracts by contacting procurement managers in individual ministries.

Learn more about the Ontario government’s procurement process or sign up for workshops on doing business with the government.