Indigenous business COVID-19 taskforce and database: Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs—June 19, 2020

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Key messages

Background

Recognizing the potential impacts of COVID-19, national Indigenous business and economic development organizations, with support from the Government of Canada (Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)), created the Indigenous business COVID-19 taskforce. The following statement is directly from the taskforce charter document:

Taskforce membership:

Database

A key element of the taskforce’s mandate was to develop an Indigenous supplier directory (database) to provide a single verified source of contact for Indigenous businesses from across Canada that may have goods or services that can assist with Canada’s and Indigenous communities’ response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

The database is an unprecedented collaboration between national Indigenous business support organizations and contains verified Indigenous supplier data sources from the following organizations: 

The database is the property of the taskforce and the data is the property of the individual partnering organizations. The taskforce will determine how the data is shared and determine the duration of the project.

The database project is being managed by Acosys, a Canadian Indigenous company based in Montreal and listed in the federal Indigenous business directory. The database development is being done by SADA (a non-Indigenous company) specializing in the Google platform used.

Funding for the database has been provided by ISC. The Google Cloud platform has been provided by Alphabet Inc. (Google) as an in-kind support.

The collaboration between the taskforce partners and the development of this national Indigenous supplier database for COVID-19 has provided an important “sandbox” pilot opportunity to identify best practices for future Indigenous supplier database designs.

The database incorporates many of the best practices from Australia’s Indigenous Procurement Policy and the development of the supply nation Indigenous supplier directory.

The database is considered to be very scalable using a Google Cloud platform architecture and can communicate with PSPC’s electronic procurement solution’s Ariba platform for consideration at a later time.

Once the database has been approved for circulation by the taskforce, it will be actively promoted by the taskforce, in partnership with PSPC’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and ISC’s Business Development Branch to ensure that relevant organizations are included.

The intention is for the database to be promoted to Government of Canada buyers, procurement officers, and operational teams for consideration when purchasing personal protective equipment. The information will be shared using a collaborative effort by the taskforce, PSPC, and ISC during the COVID-19 response and recovery.

This database may also be used by other levels of government that require similar goods and services to respond to local COVID-19 requirements to increase the participation of Indigenous businesses at their discretion.

Studies

The taskforce is undertaking 2 studies to assess the impacts of COVID-19. The first is of the impact on Indigenous businesses, and the second focusses on the impact on Indigenous communities.

CCAB has completed an Indigenous business survey with input from across Canada. Over 800 responses were received and CCAB is finalizing its analysis of the results for circulation to the taskforce members.

A second survey to assess the overall impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities is now being prepared for release by CCAB.

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