Everyone must benefit from a healthy and growing economy and therefore we need to work collaboratively to build on each other’s successes. This is what can happen when like-minded people come together with a passion for possibility, a commitment to the greater good and a road map to get things done.

Councillor Margaret LucasMayor and Council recently had the opportunity to hear Sandra Hamilton, a Social Procurement advisor, speak about “People, Planet and Profit – bringing the focus back to the people.”

Sandra has dedicated her career to answering the question: how do we do business to achieve positive social outcomes? So of course, I asked, “what is social procurement?” Sandra explained that it is the way an organization lives its values. It is the process of better leveraging tax-payer funded supply chains to achieve key public policy goals. She highlighted that if a company offers skills training to a disadvantaged youth, that is valuable to society. If you can change someone’s path in their 20’s they may have a much more productive and happy life in their 30’s and 40’s. If a company is willing to accommodate a slightly unconventional hire, the tax payer-funded system should be rewarding them for that. She stressed the need to create a new system that encourages and rewards socially responsible behavior.

So what have we done at the City? The Mayor brought together people from our community and created the “Social Enterprise and Social Procurement Task Force” which produced the Good Jobs + Good Business = A Better Community Action Plan.

“The actions in the five-year plan are meant to help people who are out of the workforce get to work, and to grow a strong, inclusive economy at the same time,” said Mayor Helps. The plan identifies three sets of recommendations that will strengthen the City’s procurement practices to maximize community benefit as well as support small business and social enterprise sectors. The three recommendations include:

  • Social Procurement – purchases should be leveraged to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the community.
  • Social Enterprise Development – strengthen and grow businesses already doing business with community benefit in mind and grow the social enterprise sector.
  • Leading Economic Change – make the mainstream economy more inclusive to ensure there is always an opportunity for everyone to prosper.

Each recommendation has a set of actions and tasks to be implemented over the next five years to achieve prescribed outcomes. I encourage you to visit www.victoria.ca/economicchange for more information on this task force.

For me, this all translates into taking care of each other. Our collective anxiety levels are extraordinarily high right now and it is affecting people and creating isolation. The irony of such isolation occurring in an advanced age when we are so connected and overwhelmed like never before with electronic communication, especially social media, is hard to believe.

Everyone must benefit from a healthy and growing economy and therefore we need to work collaboratively to build on each other’s successes. This is what can happen when like-minded people come together with a passion for possibility, a commitment to the greater good and a road map to get things done.

If you have a question to submit to Councillor Lucas, please email kerri@downtownvictoria.ca. One of your questions could be featured in an upcoming Downtown Victoria Magazine.
Originally published in the Downtown Victoria Magazine

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