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First Nation business directory looks to aid procurement opportunities

Ontario First Nations Business Directory will launch to public in 2025

A new directory of First Nation businesses in Ontario will be launched next year in an effort to help them land more procurement opportunities.

Announced in early May, the Ontario First Nations Business Directory will be the “go-to place” to find information on First Nations businesses, said the Chiefs of Ontario, with hopes it will lead to more procurement opportunities for those businesses.

“We anticipate the broader business community, as well as federal and provincial governments, will come to this directory when they need something done,” said Grand Chief Joel Abram, Association of Iroquois & Allied Indians, and chair of the COO’s Chiefs Committee on Economic Development (CCoED), in a news release.

“By having a central location for all First Nations businesses in Ontario that respects data sovereignty, we hope this directory will serve as the wave that raises all the ships in the harbor.”

The Ontario First Nations Business Directory is an initiative of the COO with support of consultants at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.

The directory will include detailed maps displaying where businesses are based, what they do, how to contact them, and other key information needed by potential business partners and procurement agents.

It’s not expected to launch to the public until 2025. In the meantime, the Chiefs of Ontario is encouraging First Nations businesses that want to be included to sign up now by visiting the COO website here.

This follows the launch, in February, of the First Nations Procurement Organization, a national consortium of organizations that's creating a business directory to help Indigenous businesses across Canada land more procurement contracts with the federal government.

It's a direct response to the mandate, introduced by the federal government in 2020, that requires all its departments to award a minimum of 5 per cent of its procurement contracts to Indigenous businesses.