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CCAB research identifies barriers for Indigenous businesses bidding on government contracts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 20, 2020

CCAB research identifies barriers for Indigenous businesses bidding on government contracts

Toronto, ON – October 20, 2020 – In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (IAO), the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) releases the findings of its latest report, Promise and Prosperity: The 2020 Ontario Aboriginal Business Survey. The report builds on data collected in 2013 and 2015 to provide a longitudinal analysis of Indigenous business successes and challenges, while diving deeper into a crucial topic in today’s economy – improving access and participation for Indigenous businesses within government supply chains.

The report indicates that Indigenous businesses in Ontario demonstrate a level of sophistication and capacity required to bid on and win government contracts. For example, findings show that 60% of Indigenous businesses can supply to other businesses, 31% can supply to the Ontario government, and 40% can export outside Canada. However, there appears to be a lack of engagement with government supply chains as only one in four Indigenous businesses have ever bid on a contract for either the Ontario (20%) or federal (21%) governments.

Besides those that do not believe their products or services are relevant to government supply chains, Indigenous businesses cite the following barriers to government contracts:

  • the size of government projects (12%);
  • the complexity of government procurement (9%); and
  • a lack of experience with the process (10%).

“Despite the unprecedented growth and success that we have seen in the Indigenous economy in recent years, the majority of Indigenous businesses continue to face significant historical and institutional barriers to business development, growth, and expansion,” said Tabatha Bull, president & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. “We are optimistic that our recommendations based on this research will assist in the collaboration of a shared path forward for governments, Indigenous businesses, and corporate Canada, and a prosperous Indigenous economy.”  

Based on survey findings, CCAB recommends building awareness of Ontario procurement and funding opportunities, developing partnerships with Indigenous entrepreneurs, simplifying access to financing and funding opportunities, and building IT infrastructure and capacity for e-commerce.

“Our government is intent on making reconciliation real and working with Indigenous partners to advance social and economic prosperity for everyone in Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “The report’s insights around the experiences, capabilities, and challenges facing Indigenous entrepreneurs will help to inform the province’s efforts to support Indigenous businesses and create meaningful opportunities for business growth as we focus on economic recovery.”

Data for the 2020 Ontario Aboriginal Business Survey was collected between January 20 to February 14, 2020, before the impact of COVID-19 was seen broadly in Ontario, Canada and across the globe.

About Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. A national, nonpartisan association, CCAB offers knowledge, resources and programs to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal owned companies that foster economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. Learn more at www.ccab.com.


For more information, contact:

Amanda Charles, Communications Associate
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
647-289-2753 or acharles@ccab.com