In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.  

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
The work and expertise that OLIP brings to our community is so important as it helps us to build bridges and break down silos.  I look forward to our continued work together. 

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

City to Explore Social Procurement in COVID-19 Recovery Effort

March 25, 2021

By Councillor King Rawlson

As part of the City of Ottawa’s COVID-19 economic recovery efforts, the City Council voted in favour of a motion asking the City’s Chief Procurement Officer to identify opportunities to include and encourage the City’s use of social procurement projects and social enterprises in City procurement.

The motion, introduced by Councillor Laura Dudas, asked the Chief Procurement Officer to work in close collaboration with City Economic Development Committee, Community and Social Services Department, Human Needs Taskforce, Invest Ottawa, as well as community stakeholders, such as the United Way East Ontario and Community Foundation Ottawa, Buy Social Canada and others with the intent of ensuring that citizen-led economic efforts, local social procurement capacity building and job creation initiatives are included in the City’s overall recovery strategy.

I was extremely pleased that City staff was given this direction as social procurement opportunities have the potential to address economic disadvantage, discrimination, and other barriers to equal opportunity. This includes those distant from the labour market, such as youth experiencing vulnerabilities, and those from equity-deserving communities who have historically faced discrimination preventing equitable access to economic opportunities.

Rawlson King, Ottawa City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.

Consequently, to ensure the development of the most effective social procurement procedures, I presented an additional direction to the Chief Procurement Officer at Council on February 10 which was accepted by my Council colleagues and requested that staff:

  1. Develop an approach which increases the diversity of the City’s supply chain by providing diverse suppliers with equitable access to competitive City procurement processes, especially from the most disadvantaged groups, including racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs; and
  1. That staff explore the potential to increase the number of employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities leveraged for people experiencing economic disadvantage, including those from equity-seeking communities including Aboriginal People, Racialized groups/visible minorities, Persons with disabilities, Newcomers / new immigrants, Women and LGBTQ+ people

Being elected Ottawa’s first-ever Black city Councillor, I believe it is necessary to work on issues of significance to racialized communities, especially the creation and development of economic opportunities. For example, while undertaking community consultation and action planning for the newly created Anti-Racism Secretariat at the City of Ottawa, Black, racialized, Indigenous and religious groups expressed their needs regarding employment and economic development.  Their demands include:

  • Increasing employment and training opportunities at the City of Ottawa.
  • Providing mentorship programs as a pathway to employment for racialized people.
  • Improving access to high-quality training and employment programs.
  • Supporting businesses through development of social procurement policies at the City.

I believe the motion and my direction at Council will help facilitate changes to address these concerns. I also believe that the social procurement motion complements work undertaken by the City’s new Anti-Racism Secretariat.

Over the last year and a half, the City has moved rapidly to implement new Anti-Racism measures. This included securing funds in the 2020 City budget to create an Anti-Racism Secretariat to address systemic racism in our community and within the City as an organization. The Anti-Racism Secretariat will focus on addressing systemic racism and racial barriers in the City’s policies, strategies, services and workplaces.

The Anti-Racism Secretariat will align with the work of the City of Ottawa’s Women and Gender Equity Strategy and the Municipal Reconciliation Action Plan focusing on common key pillars, including: i) service delivery and policy review (systems change); ii) awareness and education (training); and iii) representation (structural change).

The Secretariat will ensure an Anti-Racism lens is applied to the policies the City develops, so the decisions the City makes and the services it provides are delivered to all residents equitably. It will also work to ensure meaningful strategies concerning employment equity and economic development are developed in order to level the playing field.

Rawlson King is Ottawa City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe (Ward 13) and Council Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Relations Initiatives.