York University introduces a comprehensive social procurement policy

Vari Hall in the winter
Vari Hall in the winter

Carol McAulay, vice-president finance and administration, issues the following announcement to the York University community:

I am pleased to announce that following the December Board of Governors meeting, York University is now one of Canada’s first universities to have a comprehensive social procurement policy.

York’s Social Procurement Policy supports the foundational pillars of accessibility, connectedness, excellence and impact, and reflects its values as a university.

Social procurement considers how procurement – the process of buying goods and services – can positively impact the social well-being of our surrounding communities and assist to reduce poverty, promote economic and social inclusion, and support local economic development and social enterprise.

The policy establishes the framework of values and principles for enhancing community impact and gives direction to staff in approaching procurement. The policy:

  • Provides opportunities to address economic disadvantage by promoting equal opportunity and inclusion and removing barriers to those goals experienced by equity seeking communities and others who disproportionately experience unemployment or underemployment and discrimination;
  • Aspires to build a culture of social procurement at the University;
  • Leverages the University’s purchasing processes to benefit local economies;
  • Establishes an effective balance between equity goals, accountability, transparency and efficiency;
  • Complies with all applicable laws, including government trade agreements and directives, laws and policies, including the Ontario Human Rights Code;
  • Integrates with York University’s vision and policies and its role as an anchor institution to create a responsible and sustainable supply chain process.

York’s Social Procurement principles are already being implemented in several construction projects. These include:

  • Washroom renovations and upgrades across the University are scheduled to begin shortly requiring bidders to use a specified percentage of labour from our local communities.
  • Renovations, as well as mechanical and electrical upgrades are planned for the Hilliard & Wood residences on the Glendon Campus. The successful contractor must commit to no less than four multidisciplinary (electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.) apprentices from the local area. Those selected in the apprenticeship programs must be from equity-seeking communities as well as social enterprises chosen from the following postal codes: M3N, M3J, M3L & M3M.

I  would like to thank everyone who was instrumental in developing the policy and who worked diligently towards getting it approved by the board.

I believe together we can leverage York’s purchasing power to advance the long-term health and vitality of our communities and recognize the positive social impact of our procurement processes.

To learn more about the social procurement policy, visit the Procurement website.