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Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business

The PSAB initiative aims to increase the number of Aboriginal firms participating in the federal procurement process.


The PSAB initiative is a national Government of Canada initiative led by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) that aims to increase federal contracting opportunities for Aboriginal businesses and develop relationships between Aboriginal business owners, industry sectors and the Government of Canada.


The Government of Canada spends approximately $14 billion a year on goods, services, and construction. As the Government's main purchasing arm, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) plays a key role by helping departments define their requirements or scope of work, and obtaining the goods and services they need at the right price.


Under the PSAB, contracts that serve a primarily Aboriginal population are set aside for competition among qualified Aboriginal businesses. Federal employees are also encouraged to voluntarily set aside opportunities for competition among Aboriginal businesses whenever practical. Aboriginal businesses can also compete for federal contracts which are open to all qualified suppliers, as well as those which are set aside for competition among qualified Aboriginal suppliers.


 To be considered an Aboriginal business, the following criteria must be met:


  • at least 51 per cent of the firm must be owned and controlled by Aboriginal people, and


  • if the firm has six or more full-time staff, at least one third of the employees must be Aboriginal.


If a firm is starting a joint venture, at least 51 per cent of the joint venture must be owned and controlled by an Aboriginal business or businesses. A firm must demonstrate, for the duration of the contract, a level of Aboriginal content amounting to 33 per cent of the value of the work performed by the Aboriginal business.


The Set-Aside Program for Aboriginal Business

The Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, launched in 2009 by the Government of Canada, aims to ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis have every opportunity to share in Canada's economic opportunities and prosperity. PSAB delivers on the Framework's strategic priority of strengthening Aboriginal entrepreneurship by enhancing support for Aboriginal businesses to market their goods and services.


The Set-Aside Program for Aboriginal Business is one of the policies governing the purchase of goods, services and construction by contracting officials in the departments and agencies of the Government of Canada. In addition to the Government's support for Aboriginal economic development through training, financing and infrastructure development, it also supports Aboriginal business growth.


A contract that is "set-aside for Aboriginal Business" means that only Aboriginal businesses are acceptable bidders.

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