Report to/Rapport au :


Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee

Comité des services organisationnels et du développement économique


18 February 2010 / le 18 février 2010


Submitted by/Soumis par : Marian Simulik, City Treasurer/Trésorière municipale


Contact/Personne-ressource :  Jeff Byrne, Manager, Supply / Gestionnaire, Approvisionnement

Finance Department / Services des finances
(613) 580-2424 ext./poste 25175;


City-Wide/À l’échelle de la ville

Ref N° : ACS2010-CMR-FIN-0010














That the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee receive this report for information.





Que le Comité des services organisationnels et du développement économique recevoir le rapport pour information.





On May 10, 2006 City Council approved report ACS2006-CCS-CSE-003, directing staff to develop an Ethical Purchasing Policy that would ensure that City purchases of clothing, apparel, and certain agricultural products meet the highest possible standards, and that the products are produced in accordance with established local and international labour standards and applicable codes of conduct regarding wages, working conditions, safety, forced labour, and freedom of association.


On May 23, 2007 City Council approved report ACS2007-CMR-Fin 0004 that contained the following:


1.      The City of Ottawa Ethical Purchasing Policy;

2.      That City staff respond to non-compliance issues on a complaint basis;

3.      That City staff, in consultation with the Stakeholders Committee comprised of business, labour and fair trade representatives, continue to explore certification systems options to further enhance compliance and report back to the CSEDC by Q2 2009; and

4.      That the Manager, Supply Management undertake discussions with the City’s local boards and encourage them to endorse similar ethical purchasing policies with their respective organizations.


This report provides a status update on implementation of the City’s Ethical Purchasing Policy and the vendor compliance practices since the policy was implemented.





The Ethical Purchasing Policy was developed by the City in collaboration with representatives of the Ottawa No Sweat Coalition, the Ottawa & District Labour Council, business and fair trade communities, and included provisions on child labour, forced labour, discrimination, harassment and abuse, wages, hours of work, health and safety, freedom of association and collective bargaining.


Compliance with the Policy:

The City monitors the policy on a complaints basis and determines the level and degree necessary to investigate and act upon inquiries.  The burden of responsibility rests with vendors competing for contracts with the City such that bidders are required to certify compliance with the policy, and labour standards at the time of bid submission.  The policy authorizes the City to exercise its discretion, as a consumer, to make a business decision not to deal with suppliers and manufacturers that choose not to operate responsibly in accordance with the governing laws of their jurisdictions. 


As part of the Supplier Code of Conduct, every supplier ensures that it’s production facilities, and those of its subcontractors, comply with national and other laws applicable in each workplace and shall respect this policy.  The Supplier is required to provide the names and addresses of each subcontractor and production facility to be used in the production of the goods and this information is posted on the City’s website.  Since May 2007 there have been a total of twenty-one (21) bid solicitations that included disclosure of the location of the manufacturing facilities.  


During the first year of implementation, the Supply Branch engaged the services of the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) to report on the City’s Ethical Purchasing Policy, current contracts, and develop recommendations to improve the implementation of the City’s Ethical Purchasing Policy (EPP) and Supplier Code of Conduct.  MSN is a well respected labour and women's rights organization that supports the efforts of workers in global supply chains to win improved wages and working conditions and a better quality of life.  In their final report to the City, MSN recommended the following options to fully implement the City of Ottawa’s Ethical Purchasing Policy;


Primary Recommendation:


Secondary Recommendation:

If the City is unable to undertake the Primary Recommendation, MSN recommends the following ways to improve internal implementation of the Ethical Purchasing Policy:

·      Establish an internal Stakeholder Committee with various members from all stakeholder groups.

·      Expand the EPP compliance wording in bid solicitation documents to include each and every facility that is engaged in cutting, sewing, assembling and finishing the garment or footwear as well as requiring the names and address of production facilities rather than head offices or agents.

·      Establish a bid matrix to award vendors points based on their ability to comply with the City’s EPP. 

·      Identify minimum standards if an audit of a factory is required or if an audit is submitted due the bid matrix initiative.

·      Audit reports provided by vendors or third party auditors be made publicly available once remediation plans have been set-up.

·      Develop a method in which factory disclosure can be analyzed to determine risk of violations.


The City established an internal stakeholder committee and expanded the EPP compliance wording in bid solicitation documents to include each and every facility that is engaged in cutting, sewing, assembling and finishing the garment or footwear as well as requiring the names and address of production facilities rather than head offices or agents.


 In December 2009, the City was approached by Reeve Consulting to participate in an Ethical & Sustainable Procurement Best Practices Scan with other leading Canadian municipalities.  The project will be conducted in 2010 and will bring leading Canadian municipalities together and establish a network to share information and advance Ethical and Fair Trade Purchasing amongst Canadian municipalities, as well as providing social, environmental and financial benefits to municipal corporations.


Since the policy was approved in 2007, the City has received only one (1) complaint.  The complaint was received from the Ottawa Fair Trade Network (OFTN) and related to the procurement of cafeteria and food concession services at the cafeterias located at Centrepointe, Constellation and City Hall. The OFTN argued that the policy was not being observed with respect to the provision of Fair Trade certified coffee, tea and hot chocolate.  The City confirmed in a response back to the OFTN that the contractors are compliant with the policy objectives and provided documentation to illustrate their commitment to Fair Trading.  This complaint was discussed and reviewed with the Stakeholder Committee in May 2009 the results of which supported the City’s investigation. 


In September 2009, the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) informed Supply Branch that a uniform and clothing production facility listed on the City’s website was no longer operational.   As a result Supply Branch contacted the vendor and the vendor confirmed the operations had been shut down and submitted the locations of the new productions facilities.  The City of Ottawa website was then updated.


Overall, the City’s experience with the complaints based monitoring system since the inception of the Ethical Purchasing Policy would suggest it is sufficient to meet the city needs.


Stakeholder Committee:

In July 2006, a Stakeholder Committee was established and comprised of both internal and external parties, including City staff, representation from the labour community, humanitarian and labour organizations, environmental groups, and business advocacy groups.  The goal of the Committee was to develop a policy and to continue to advise the city on related issues after implementation. 


A meeting with the Stakeholder Committee was held on May 14, 2009 to discuss the current status and issues of the City’s Ethical Purchasing Policy.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the Stakeholder Committee acknowledged the City for its efforts in advancing the goals and objectives of the Ethical Purchasing Policy and is pleased with the progress made to date.


The Supply Management Branch is to consult semi-annually, or more often as necessary with the Stakeholder Committee, however, practice has shown that this is neither required nor practical based on the number of complaints filed and the challenges of setting a date when all members are available.  It is suggested moving forward that where practical, the City will seek the advice of the Stakeholder Committee regarding investigation of future options for monitoring compliance and improving enforcement of the policy, making any final determinations regarding vendor compliance, and consideration of expanding the policy as the need arises.


Other boards and agencies:

While the Ethical Purchasing Policy applies only to the City of Ottawa operations, the Supply Branch has undertaken discussions with the following local boards to encourage the endorsement of similar ethical purchasing policies with their respective organizations:


·         Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

·         Ottawa Catholic School Board

·         Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

·         South Nation Conservation

·         Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

·         Nepean National Equestrian Park





A copy of this report was circulated to the Stakeholders Committee for their review and comments.





There are no legal/risk management impediments to implementing the recommendation in this Report.





As envisioned in the original dialogue with Council, this policy has resulted in no additional costs to the City.






There are no rural implications associated with this report.





Supply Management to establish a network to share information and advance Ethical and Fair Trade Purchasing amongst Canadian municipalities.