This month we have taken our research on Social Value abroad! The country that was the focus of this piece of research is Canada. It was great to see how many Canadian organisations, a mixture of not for profit, voluntary and social enterprises, are involved in Social Value or ‘Social Purchasing’ (as it is predominantly known in Canada). An interesting fact – we found that in Canada, unlike in the UK, there is no actual piece of legislation to support Social Value/Social Purchasing, although there are many organisations working in the social sector. It is fair to say that having a piece of legislation, specifically the ‘Social Value Act 2012’ in the UK, is very supportive when pioneering Social Value ideas.
Although there is no legislation supporting Social Value/Purchasing specifically, Canada, being a federation, has certain rules around procurement at federal, provincial and municipal levels that could become a base for a potential Social Value Law or Act. At the federal level, the main legislation that govern procurement are the FAA (Financial Administration Act) and the GCR (Government Contracts Regulations). At the provincial level, legislation regarding procurement can differ in each province. For example, Nova Scotia has a Public Procurement Act, which gives guidance on fairness and transparency in procurement.2 In Ontario, there is no actual legislation, but instead – a Procurement Guideline for Publicly Funded Organisations. This guide is, in essence, a summary of best practises government funded organisations (or GFOs).
There is a lot of work happening in the background forming a base for possible legislation. We have been in communication with the Centre for Social Enterprise Development, an organisation that works with social enterprises and other organisations to help them grow and spread social change. In a recent conference call, we shared our thinking and reflections on Social Value implementation and outcomes in our countries, and discussed the ways of taking Social Value/Purchasing in Canada further.
All in all, it is great to see Canada moving forward with Social Value/Purchasing and making steady progress. We are keen to share our knowledge, offer advice and contribute to the Canadian Social Value/Purchasing journey.
1 Thomson Reuters. (2017). Public Procurement in Canada. [online] Available at: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/4-521-6007?transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true&bhcp=1 [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].
2 Nova Scotia Legislature (2011). Public Procurement Act. [online] Available at: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/61st_3rd/3rd_read/b023.htm [Accessed 26 Jun. 2017].