The City of Calgary passes a Social Procurement strategy and implementation plan.

The City of Calgary passed a Social Procurement strategy and implementation plan in December. Buy Social Canada is very pleased to have led the team that wrote the background report and framed the plan, working with Momentum and REAP in Calgary and Ted Weicker of Goss Gilroy. The framework was developed in a manner that it can be adjusted and adapted for any government or organization's social procurement objectives; and the supporting research is useful for any social procurement initiative. See the full report at

Ontario Invests $13.6M in Opportunities for Social Enterprises

The Government of Ontario has announced $13.6M in investments and funding as part of the provincial Social Enterprise Strategy

The investments will improve social enterprises’ access to capital and business supports, and build capacity to access procurement and investment opportunities. 

As part of that, a consortium of CCEDNet members and partners has received $6M in funding to deliver the Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund

Building on the platforms and resources developed through the national Social Enterprise Ecosystem project, Ontario’s Procurement and Investment Readiness Fund will help social enterprises compete for procurement and investment opportunities in both the government and the private sector.

Applications for grants will begin in the fall of 2018. 



Community Benefit Agreement Information Seminar

Buy Social Canada is hosting a Community Benefit Agreement Information Seminar in partnership with Exchange Inner City and the City of Vancouver on March 21st.

Community Benefit Agreements (CBA) are an increasingly common tool used by Municipal, Provincial, and the Federal government to ensure that development projects enhance social, cultural, and economic opportunities for equity seeking groups, the social enterprise sector, and the local small business community. However, despite their rising popularity questions still remain regarding the nature of agreements, how they are executed and the best way to evaluate and measure the outcomes. 

The CBA Information Seminar has been designed to address these questions and is targeted to all stakeholders who may participate in a CBA agreement, including:

  • The Development Community
  • City Planning and Policy Staff members
  • The Not-For-Profit community
  • Industry Associations
  • Business Improvement Associations

At the event, stakeholders will learn more about:

  • What a CBA is and how it differs from other policies like community amenity contributions and development cost levies
  • Showcase CBA examples from Vancouver and other jurisdictions
  • Understanding social procurement and social hiring initiatives
  • Learn about the social enterprise sector and existing social procurement opportunities 
  • Envision what a CBA might look like for the Northeast False Creek Flats, the new St. Paul's Hospital development and other upcoming large projects
  • Ask questions and provide input regarding their role in a CBA

This informative event is an opportunity for stakeholders to engage in a mutual process of learning and development and will hopefully create a better understanding about how the City, Developers, and Community can work together to create a Vancouver where all residents can prosper and live full and rewarding lives. 

For more information, contact Alisha at

Welcome to New Certified Social Enterprises

Welcome BUILD Inc. (Winnipeg), Manitoba Green Retrofit (Winnipeg), and Glasshouse Capacity Services Society (Vancouver) to the Buy Social Canada network! These newly certified social enterprises offer a variety of services to their local communities, including energy efficient retrofits, residential renovations, and professional services for your business. Be sure to check them out!

The Power of Partnerships: Social Procurement Fair 2018

The Social Purchasing Project, in partnership with Artscape and Buy Social Canada, hosted the Power of Partnerships: Social Procurement Fair 2018 last week in Toronto. The event was a great success with over 200 purchasers connecting with over 20 social enterprise suppliers. We heard from social enterprises and private sector about their business and procurement partnerships, and had the chance to interact with social enterprise exhibitor booths. Thank you to SPP and Artscape for creating such a valuable opportunity!

Power of Partnerships: Social Procurement Fair 2018

The Social Purchasing Project, in partnership with Artscape and Buy Social Canada, is hosting the Power of Partnerships: Social Procurement Fair 2018. Meet with 100+ social purchasers interested in learning more about social enterprise, activate partnerships and connections with social enterprises and social purchasers, and learn from expert speakers and strategists.

March 7, 2018
2:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Artscape Sandbox
301 Adelaide St West
Toronto, ON

view the invite

Buy Social Canada Summit Report

The Buy Social Canada Summit Report is now available in our Toolkit, under Documents & Resources. The Summit Report is a summary what we heard from various stakeholder groups participating in the Summit discussions. This includes gaps in the sector, concerns, and top-level themes that were consistently highlighted by social enterprise suppliers and purchasers. 

Certified Suppliers featured in Halifax Local News

Made with Local makes nourishing foods in partnership with local social enterprises, providing work opportunities for folks with barriers to employment. They announced a new collaboration with one of Buy Social Canada's certified suppliers, Stone Hearth Bakery. They also have ongoing partnerships with two other certified social enterprises, the Flowercart Company and Dartmouth Adult Services Centre. 

Read the full article

Webinar: Why Buying Social is Good For Business

Buy Social Canada is participating in a webinar called Why Buying Social is Good for Business, January 31st, in collaboration with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Join us to learn about social procurement and why businesses should consider it as part of their purchasing strategies. Social Enterprise Institute and Causeway Work Centre will also be participating. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Register Here

Our January Newsletter is here!

Read about social enterprise activities over the holidays and updates on social procurement from across the country!

This newsletter contains: 

  • Buy Social Canada Summit Summary
  • Social Enterprise Holiday Activities
  • Akcelos: your new online address for social and sustainable purchases
  • Social Purchasing Portal Winnipeg is now Buy Social Prairies!
  • The Social Buying Symposium in St. John's
  • Welcome to New Certified Social Enterprises
  • Buy Social Canada's Media Activity Snapshot

Read the January newsletter

Read previous newsletters below:

October Newsletter

BSC certified supplier, Redemptive Developments, featured in Edmonton Journal

Our certified social enterprise, Redemptive Developments, was recently featured in the Edmonton Journal. Read about how social procurement creates meaningful jobs for people with barriers to employment. 

Read the full article: West-end recycler pitches a big idea for ending poverty

Social Procurement: Achieving Greater Value through Existing Purchasing

 Buy Social Canada Summit

November 27-28 in Gatineau, QC

Social procurement is a tool to leverage an added social value with existing government and corporate purchasing. It adds a social value consideration to the evaluation of price, quality, and environment of the goods and services you purchase, without added cost.

The Buy Social Canada Summit will investigate the future of social procurement through panel discussions, case studies, and learning exchange sessions on topics including Beyond CSR and Charity, Government Purchasing, and Infrastructure and Community Benefit Agreements.

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services Procurement Canada, will participate in an opening discussion. A unique feature of the Summit is its design to minimize PowerPoints and maximize participant engagement. Everyone will have the opportunity to get involved and share their knowledge and experiences. Purchasers from government and business and representatives of social enterprise suppliers will come together to discover common goals, identify barriers, and seek solutions that will contribute to the future of social procurement.


About Buy Social Canada:

Buy Social Canada brings socially driven purchasers and social enterprise suppliers together, building business relationships that generate social benefits to communities across the country.

More info: 
David LePage

Atira Property Management Inc. Social Return on Investment Report

August 1, 2017

Vancouver, BC – A report produced by Ernst & Young, released today, confirms that hiring people from the Downtown Eastside benefits taxpayers at a rate of more than four to one.

Analysis conducted by Ernst & Young shows that, for every dollar spent to employ a target employee group in 2016, Atira Property Management Inc.(Atira) has realized a social return on investment (SROI) of $4.13, an improvement over Ernst & Young’s 2013 SROI report of $.81. Further, 88% of those hired believe their life circumstances have improved since they started work.

“The report validates our long-held belief that people in the community want to work,” says Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society and Atira Property Management Inc. “They have something to contribute and want the chance to prove it,” Abbott said, “contrary to stereotypes held by so many.”

Atira’s target employee group includes individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria: a resident or former resident of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, unemployed or underemployed, faces significant barriers to employment as a result of institutional oppression, is receiving government income assistance and or living in Single Room Accommodation (SRA) hotel.

As said by one employee who started in an entry level position and is now working in a management role, “I never thought I could do anything with my life, let alone something meaningful. I wake up most days looking forward to my day, because it has purpose and meaning. I am truly grateful to the organization I work for, for allowing me to succeed where I never thought I could.”

Abbott says she has always believed Atira’s employment strategy was working and the 2013 and now 2016 SROI reports demonstrate that hiring employees from community not only creates significant change, but also a significant financial return on investment.

“By partnering with an international firm like Ernst & Young, we’ve been able to take advantage of a credible economic model to calculate social impact and prove our hiring model works,” she said.

Ernst & Young arrived at its results through measurement and analysis of the qualitative and quantitative costs of hiring individuals from APMI’s target employee group, and impacts on social assistance, local spending, social housing, criminal justice costs, health costs, and food banks and meal programs. They also considered other factors such as employability and job skills and quality of life. Ernst & Young’s full report can be found here.

Atira Property Management Inc. (APMI) is a socially responsible firm offering personalized, client-focused property management solutions in Greater Vancouver, and an opportunity for clients to give back to the community. As a social purpose, for-profit business, APMI is wholly owned by Atira Women's Resource Society. All of APMI’s profits are donated to the Society and are used to fund affordable housing and support services for women and children fleeing violence and abuse. 

To read the full report, visit: