Cumberland: Canada’s First Buy Social Municipality

September 29, 2015

CUMBERLAND – On September 23 Cumberland was recognized for its innovative leadership as this small B.C. municipality was officially certified as Canada’s first BUY SOCIAL municipality. “My congratulations go out to Cumberland on becoming the first municipality in B.C. to adopt Social Purchasing. Earlier this year, the Ministry adopted social impact purchasing guidelines to ensure that municipal staff consider social value, in addition to financial value, whenever they buy goods and services,” explained Minister Michelle Stillwell.

“Governments invest in social programs that improve life in our communities. Our purchasing dollars can also make a difference and it’s wonderful to see Cumberland take this step,” she said. Stilwell, who is the provincial Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, also thanked Comox Valley MLA Don McRae for leading the initial development of the Provincial Social Impact Purchasing Guidelines, during his time as Minister.

Buy Social Canada is an internationally recognized third-party program that certifies organizations and municipal partners who have demonstrated a commitment to the Buy Social principles and are proactively working to ensure that procurement works to add, rather than diminish, social value in society. Cumberland’s Mayor Leslie Baird said the community’s social procurement framework received unanimous support from all members of Council.

“The Social Procurement Framework ensures that we still access goods and services through a competitive and transparent bidding process, but we are now being a lot more strategic and proactive in procurement. Staff will leverage existing spend to achieve desirable community goals, while working in alignment with community values and maximizing returns for taxpayers,” he said.

The mayor added that the decision was quite simple after hearing about the concept from consultant and area resident Sandra Hamilton, the former business manager to John Furlong. Hamilton, accompanied by Cumberland Councilor Jesse Ketler, spoke at the Union of BC Municipalities Conference on the topic of Social Procurement and Economic Development.

“Sustainability at VANOC meant doing the right thing” said Hamilton. Over the last 30 years the environmental movement has done an excellent job of educating and increasing awareness surrounding the importance of developing more sustainable practices. This has led to considerable changes in behaviors and societal norms. Environmental considerations in government procurement have now become normalized. 

Share This