The previous policy was appropriate when it was introduced in 2006 and has enabled many businesses to provide work to BC Hydro. In F15, our direct Indigenous Procurement spend was about $80 million.
However, we have also had a lot of feedback about the policy with some people feeling the approach was overly restrictive and that it did not provide meaningful benefits to First Nations communities.
- We heard the Indigenous Business definition (e.g. 51% owned by a First Nation, etc.) was too restrictive and didn't allow the flexibility that some communities needed in order to build sustainable partnerships with businesses.
- We also heard concerns that the 5% Indigenous Inclusion weighting in public bid documents wasn't necessarily benefitting First Nations communities while some bidders would ignore the requirement.
The revised policy addresses these issues and makes other improvements.
Directed procurement opportunities will only be used to offset commitments to First Nations Groups and Communities where BC Hydro's footprint has the most impact and where we have agreements in place.
The definition of Indigenous Business has been revised to remove the 51% Indigenous ownership requirement; this allows First Nations to delegate business partners and to avoid having to set up complex and timely joint ventures. It provides greater flexibility for the FN.
There is no longer a specific indigenous inclusion weighting of 5%. This was removed as it provided very little benefit. Instead the revised Policy references BC Hydro's recent Statement of Indigenous Principles which both BC Hydro employees and contractors are expected to adhere to.
Opportunities will generally be based on the applicable agreement(s) with the First Nation.
Where an Indigenous group has an agreement with BC Hydro, the Indigenous group may identify in writing to BC Hydro the designated businesses that are eligible for directed procurement to fulfill BC Hydro's commitments to the Indigenous group under the agreement. Designated businesses must meet all of BC Hydro's technical requirements for qualifications, safety and performance, and have market competitive pricing.
Under the revised definition of Indigenous Business BCH no longer needs to verify an Indigenous Business. However, BCH does need to have written confirmation from the First Nation that has an agreement with BC Hydro that contracts with the designated business can be used by BCH to meet its commitments to the FN.
Yes, when the contractor signs the contract they acknowledge the Statement of Indigenous Principles.