Supplier Diversity: What, Why and How?

Staff ShopBlog

A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone” – Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google


In the spirit of June being Indigenous History Month, supplier diversity is at the forefront of our decision making. In our May blog, we covered diversity and inclusion and why it’s critical for creating a productive and creative workplace, but this topic goes well beyond that. If you are a business that provides goods or services, becoming a diverse supplier is a huge step towards opening many more doors for you and your company. Just as diversity and inclusion in the workplace gives people a fair chance, we believe it is equally important to give businesses a fair chance.


Being or becoming a diverse supplier involves receiving a certification from an accredited organization that highlights the diversity and inclusivity of your organization. To be considered, your business must be at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by someone in an under-represented group, as outlined by the individual organizations. Diverse suppliers contribute to economic growth and have a real world social impact. Being a diverse supplier also connects you with a network of other diverse suppliers and corporate members, making it easier to build mutually beneficial relationships.


The Big Four and Beyond

In Canada, there are four major certifying players under the umbrella of the SDAC (The Supplier Diversity Alliance of Canada) – a central governing body for supplier diversity in Canada. These four are:


  • Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC – representing Aboriginal and visible minority-owned businesses) 
  • Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC – representing LGBT-owned businesses)
  • Inclusive Workplace Supply Council of Canada (IWSCC – representing  Veterans and/or people with disabilities who own businesses) 
  • Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada – representing women-owned businesses)


Staff Shop is proud to be designated a diverse supplier by two of the big four within the SDAC: CAMSC and WBE. Outside of this, we also have two additional certifications:


  • Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) – Certifies Aboroiginal-owned businesses and connects Indigenous and non-indigious communities
  • WeConnect International (Women Owned) – a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers internationally


As stated, being a member of any of these organizations will connect you with a vast network of corporate members as well as other diverse suppliers. 


Why Supplier Diversity Matters

According to stats out of the US, a Department of Commerce study found that the “growing minority population will account for as much as 70 percent of the total increase in purchasing power from 2000 to 2045.” (CMV Supplier Diversity Blog) One can safely assume that the same is true for Canada, or close to it. As demographics change, supplier diversity allows a company to tap into new markets and expand its reach. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to grow and evolve along with the consumer market? Get ahead of the curve as a diverse supplier.


Supplier diversity also helps to serve under-represented groups in the traditional supply chain. According to the SDAC, “By procuring goods and services from these diverse suppliers, organizations and governments are creating value in historically disadvantaged communities through job creation, tax dollar generation, economic empowerment, and increased spending power amongst these communities.” It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s smart business. 


At Staff Shop, we have a Supplier Diversity Program that we honour. This program guides us in making purchasing decisions. “Staff Shop truly recognizes the value and importance of contributing to local economic growth by taking deliberate steps to source and work with diverse suppliers.” We regularly review our practices to make sure we are doing all we can to support fellow diverse suppliers.


How to Get Certified as a Diverse Supplier

As an award-winning certified diverse supplier, Staff Shop wants to help others do the same. We aim to make sure that at least 10% of our suppliers are diverse, minimum. Being certified helps us reach and exceed this goal. We regularly consult with our professional networks when making supplier decisions for our company.


Currently, supplier diversity is not widely utilized in Canada, but it’s getting better. A study by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) discovered that only “39 per cent of Canadian organizations have implemented a supplier diversity program or initiative.” (The Business Case for Supplier Diversity in Canada, Status of Women Canada) Getting certified helps to improve diversity and inclusion in Canada, while tapping into some really interesting markets.


Our founder & CEO Jennifer Ménard-Shand is passionate about supplier diversity and is a member of the Supplier Advisory Committee with WBE Canada. She and her Staff Shop team are happy to help you get certified and connected with the right organizations for you and your business. Staff Shop was awarded the “Special Recognition Award for 2020” by CAMSC and the “Rising Star Award for 2020” by WBE. 


Work with us today to get the process started!


Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” – Malcolm Forbes


Stay tuned for next month’s blog where we tackle Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation (especially in the Workplace)!


Staff Shop Inc. is a privately held Canadian-Indigenous-Women owned staffing and consulting firm servicing Canada I USA I Caribbean as an award-winning diverse supplier, certified with CCAB, CAMSC, WBE & WEConnect International.

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