York U launches diverse social procurement policy

By Sean Delaney

A unique procurement program at York University might see the little guy have a better shot where the big companies typically dominate, thanks to a focus on diversity and diversity training.

In January 2020, York University became one of Canada’s first universities to establish a comprehensive Social Procurement Policy.

The policy examines the institutions procurement - the process of buying goods and services – and how its methods can positively impact the well-being of surrounding communities.

“Through its new social procurement, York University is striving to reduce poverty, promote economic and social inclusion, support local economic development and social enterprise,” said Director of Procurement Services, Dexter King.

According to a letter King released on the program, York University is beginning the construction of a new campus in Markham Centre to meet the region’s education, research, and innovation needs. The first phase of the project will involve the construction of a 400,000 square-foot campus to accommodate approximately 4,200 students.

As an anchor institution within the region, York University is committed to supporting its local communities by providing vendor and employment opportunities in this massive construction project.

King outlined that the construction period for this project is Summer 2020 to Summer 2023. Services for this project include but are not limited to:

• Skilled Construction Labour,

• Unskilled Construction Labour,

• Building Material Supply,

• Safety Equipment Supply,

• Equipment Rentals,

• Printing Services,

• Catering Services,

• Cleaning Services.

Karen Traboulay, Communications Manager for the office of the Vice-President of Finance and Administration said the school is not limiting themselves with the program, but just opening up to a more broad and comprehensive market. The eye to diversity, she said, has always been a pillar at York.

“We are just making sure diverse vendors and social enterprises are aware that we have a network and if you can do some of what we have in our policy, you will be brought on as well,” Traboulay said. “This is actually very much in line with York universities policies and values. We value inclusivity, we value ways in which we can have inclusion, and the policy supports our pillars of accessibility, connectedness, excellence and impact.”

Traboulay said York has a record of thinking about bettering the world, and the community around it with its work. The school has been honoured numerous times as a green employer due to its strong sustainability programs, she said. And this procurement program was just the logical next step.

“Our sustainability development goals are already embedded in our curriculum, along with mental health,” she said. “So, as we continue our progress to social justice and inclusivity, we incorporate all of that. When there is planning going on, whether faculty or administration, we always look at it from a very broad lens.”

If your organization would like to learn more about becoming a Diverse Vendor or Social Enterprise so that you can be a part of this exciting project, visit the York University webpage on registering as a Diverse Vendor or Social Enterprise.

To learn more about York’s Social Procurement Policy or about getting certified visit York University’s procurement services website.

For further information, readers can also reach out to Dexter King at: 416-736-2100 ext. 30534

Or via email at: dking@yorku.ca