IPI Frequently Asked Questions


Who is an Indigenous Person?

Under Manitoba's Indigenous Procurement Initiative (IPI), an Indigenous person is:
  • a person of First Nation ancestry, including treaty, status or registered Indian, non-status or non-registered Indian, and a Métis person, or
  • a person of Inuit ancestry, who is a Canadian citizen and resides in Canada  

What is an Indigenous Business?

An Indigenous business is a business:
  • that is at least 51% Indigenous-owned and controlled by one or more Indigenous Persons; and
  • if it has six or more full-time employees, at least one-third of whose (full-time) employees are Indigenous Persons
If an enterprise is part of a joint venture or consortium, defined as two or more Indigenous Businesses or an Indigenous Business and a non-Indigenous Business(es), at least 51% of the joint venture or consortium must be owned and controlled by Indigenous Persons to qualify as an Indigenous Business.
Not-for-profit organizations whose by-laws require that at least 51% of its board members be Indigenous persons qualify as an Indigenous Business.

Why does Manitoba define Indigenous Business the way it does?

Manitoba's definition is intended to harmonize with that of the Government of Canada, since Manitoba may enter into cost sharing agreements or become partners on contracts with Canada.

How do I know whether a business is an Indigenous Business or not?

Procurement and Supply Chain Branch maintains an Indigenous Business Directory which lists Indigenous Businesses registered under the IPI. The Indigenous Business Directory is a resource to assist Tender Administrators in identifying potential Indigenous Businesses to government, by profiling the goods and services they provide along with the location of their business.
If Tender Administrators are aware of Indigenous Businesses who are not yet included in the Indigenous Business Directory, they are requested to contact Procurement and Supply Chain who will follow up with the supplier encouraging them to register in Manitoba's Directory.

Why should an Indigenous Business register?

To confirm who they are, where they are located, and what goods or services they offer, so that Tender Administrators in government will be able to identify them as a possible source of supply. The Indigenous Business Directory is a public resource that will enable business to partner with, or subcontract with Indigenous companies.

What if an Indigenous Business doesn't register?

The business won't be included on the Indigenous Business Directory. This may mean that they may not be contacted for the supply of goods or services when a Tender Administrator uses the Directory as an information source to identify Indigenous Businesses recognizing that.
Administrators may use the Directory when purchasing low dollar value requirements where they may contact an Indigenous Business informally (ex: by phone or fax) for pricing on the supply of goods or services.

What happens if the status of an Indigenous Business changes after it has registered?

Registration on the Indigenous Business Directory does not guarantee ongoing certification as an Indigenous Business, as business status may change; therefore formal certification is also required in the formal tender process for individual requirements, at which time changes in status would be reported in the bid response. Indigenous Businesses are expected to inform Procurement and Supply Chain Branch of any changes in status.

Can an Indigenous Business located outside of Manitoba register in the Manitoba's Indigenous Business Directory?

Yes, providing the criteria for an Indigenous owned business is met (see What is an Indigenous Business?).

Can a non-Indigenous business register in Manitoba's Indigenous Business Directory?

No, a non-Indigenous business would not qualify because the criteria for an Indigenous Business are not met (see What is an Indigenous Business?).

What is Certification?

Under the IPI, certification is a process to verify Indigenous ownership and control of an Indigenous Business. Certification is required to initially register in Manitoba’s Indigenous Business Directory. Procurement and Supply Chain will periodically contact the businesses in the Directory to verify that their status as an Indigenous Business is unchanged and to update the list of goods or services they may provide.
In addition to the certification in the Directory, Manitoba will also require that an Indigenous Business who is bidding on Manitoba tenders, certify their status as an Indigenous Business at that time and verify their status will remain unchanged throughout the duration of a contract.

When is Certification used?

Certification is a requirement when a bidder cites that Indigenous Business involvement will be used to provide some, or all, of the requirement defined in the tender document.

Is there a price preference for Indigenous Businesses?

No, price preferences are not a consideration in the award of contracts to Indigenous Businesses. However, when a tender calls for Indigenous Business involvement, additional points are scored by an Indigenous Business who is bidding as a prime contractor, or points scored by a non-Indigenous business that may engage an Indigenous Business as a subcontractor.

Does an Indigenous Business have to be competitive?

Yes, the Indigenous Business Directory is only a resource for Tender Administrators to help identify what an Indigenous Business can supply and is not used to determine qualification, capacity or competitiveness. Being included on the Indigenous Business Directory does not constitute any guarantee that a contract will be awarded.
Tender Administrators must ensure that a competitive bidding process is used, and, as in all government purchasing, compliant bids, quality, cost and timeliness of delivering the goods or services are primary criteria in making purchasing decisions and awarding contracts. Achieving value-for-money is foundational to public sector procurement.

Will Manitoba Indigenous Businesses be given preference over Indigenous Businesses located outside the Province?

Unlike the Government of Canada's Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business (PSIB), which is a nation wide program, Manitoba's IPI has a provincial focus. In keeping with community economic development as a key component of Manitoba's economic strategy, first consideration will be given to Manitoba Indigenous owned firms in Set-Asides up to certain dollar thresholds. Set-Asides above the thresholds are open to all Canadian Indigenous firms.
Options such as Mandatory Indigenous Business Participation have evaluation criteria which enables Indigenous Businesses located in Manitoba to potentially qualify for additional points during the evaluation of a bid.

Is the IPI considered for both informal purchasing and formal tenders?

Yes, Tender Administrators will consider Indigenous Procurement policy and guidelines when informal purchasing methods are used (ex: prices are obtained by phone or fax) and when formal tenders are issued. (See What if an Indigenous Business doesn't register?)

How can a non-Indigenous business compete when Indigenous Business Participation is requested?

When Indigenous Business involvement is mandatory, a non-Indigenous business may compete through partnerships, joint ventures, or subcontracting with an Indigenous Business. The Indigenous Business Directory can be used as a resource for non-Indigenous business to source to identify Indigenous Businesses with whom they may partner or subcontract.

How can an Indigenous Business participate in doing business with Manitoba?

Indigenous businesses can participate in a number of ways including:
  • register on the Indigenous Business Directory
  • inform Procurement and Supply Chain of any changes to their information to maintain current information on the Indigenous Business Directory
  • build relationships with Tender Administrators and procurement planning staff
  • develop partnerships/joint ventures or subcontracting arrangements with the non-Indigenous business community as well as other Indigenous Businesses
  • consider subscribing to, and monitoring Manitoba’s electronic tendering system (MERX™) for tender opportunities
  • ensure Indigenous Business certification is provided when bidding on government tenders

What kind of goods and services does Manitoba buy?

Procurement and Supply Chain has a complete listing of goods they purchase on behalf of the Manitoba Government and will review this information with vendors when requested. In addition, each department in government has a Department P-Card Coordinator who will be able to provide vendors with information on purchasing activity within their particular department. A complete listing of the goods and services purchased by Procurement and Supply Chain is available here

Does the IPI apply to construction contracting?

The Indigenous Procurement Policy requires that best efforts to engage Indigenous Businesses be made by departments when tendering for construction and capital projects.

How does Government issue tenders?

Departments of the Manitoba Government tender most of their requirements on Manitoba's electronic tendering system (MERX™) where new tender opportunities are listed daily. For detailed information on MERX™ refer to their website at www.merx.com or contact Procurement and Supply Chain at 204-945-6361 for information or a demonstration of MERX™.

How does a business find out more about how to sell to the government?

Procurement and Supply Chain provides workshops for vendors on "How to Sell to Government", as well as specialized workshops on the Indigenous Procurement Initiative. Suppliers may contact Procurement and Supply Chain to arrange for attendance when an upcoming session is planned or to arrange a workshop in a community outside of Winnipeg. Contact the General Inquiry Line at ProcServ@gov.mb.ca or 204-945-6361.
If a vendor would like to discuss the goods and services they provide in more detail and be connected with the staff responsible for the procurement of those goods or services, contact Procurement and Supply Chain and arrange for a personal meeting with a government representative. Additional information on Government Buyers is available online at https:/central/psc/buysell/how_gov_buys.html.

Does the government have a bid matching service?

Manitoba's electronic tendering system (MERX™) includes the feature of "Bid Matching" service to which vendors may subscribe, that will flag tender opportunities that match the vendor's profile of the goods and services they provide. For additional information, contact MERX™ at 1-800-964-6379 or at www.merx.com.

Will vendors always be notified when tenders are posted to an electronic tendering service?

No. Administrators may, at their discretion, periodically send an Advance Notice of tender opportunities based on previous business experience/knowledge of vendors and the contracts being planned. For example, vendors may not locate a tender opportunity on a long term contract that is renewed every 3 or 4 years. Use of Advance Notice alerts potential bidders to the tender opportunity. Advance Notice is used infrequently and it remains the responsibility of businesses to monitor MERX™.

How was Manitoba's IPI developed?

An Indigenous Procurement Work Group with representation from across government canvassed jurisdictions in Manitoba (ex: Manitoba Hydro), Canada and the United States, to review their strategies for best practices pertaining to Indigenous procurement programs. The Federal Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business (PSIB) was the most comprehensive existing model and Manitoba Hydro's Northern Procurement Policy as the best local model. Both have helped shape Manitoba's IPI framework. The policy and guidelines were developed in consultation with the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, the Winnipeg Chambers of Commerce, and key departments within Government.

How will government measure the success or achievements of the IPI?

Manitoba tracks the purchases from Indigenous Businesses each year by the type of goods or services provided. In addition, on-going dialogue will be maintained with the Indigenous Business and non-Indigenous business community as well as government departments.

How does a person provide feedback or comments on the IPI?

Comments can be provided through the Procurement and Supply Chain website at https:/central/psc/ or by contacting the General Inquiry Line at ProcServ@gov.mb.ca or 204-945-6361.

What are the procurement tools available to assist Tender Administrators in the implementation of the Indigenous Procurement Initiative?

There are a number of resources and options that help Tender Administrators identify an Indigenous Business, and choose the appropriate procurement option that best suits their particular requirements. An Indigenous Procurement Assessment is undertaken by Administrators which helps to identify the most suitable options such as Set-Asides, Mandatory Indigenous Business Participation or Desirable Indigenous Business Participation.

What is an Indigenous Business Set-Aside?

A procurement for goods and services that has been reserved for competition among Indigenous Businesses only. Non-Indigenous businesses would not qualify to be able to bid on a Set-Aside. This may also be reserved for competition only among Manitoba Indigenous businesses or for competition only among Canadian Indigenous Businesses regardless of their location in Canada.

What is Mandatory Indigenous Business Participation?

A condition of a tender that specifies a portion of the contract must be provided by an Indigenous business and or sub-contractors when using a Request for Quotation or Request for Proposal. This may also be reserved for competition only among Manitoba Indigenous businesses or for competition only among Canadian Indigenous Businesses regardless of their location in Canada.

What is Desired Indigenous Business Participation?

A (non-mandatory) condition of a tender that indicates that Indigenous Business Involvement is desired and points will be assigned in the tender document for Indigenous Business Participation.

What is Indigenous Business Standard?

Information included on a tender that alerts vendors to Manitoba's Indigenous Procurement Initiative and invites them to register on Manitoba's Indigenous Business Directory. In addition, they are encouraged to provide Indigenous Business Participation but no points will be assigned in the tender document.

Is the IPI consistent with the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA)?

Yes, Chapter Eight, Article 800 of the CFTA states:  "this Agreement does not apply to any measure adopted or maintained by a Party with respect to Indigenous peoples."

Is Manitoba's IPI open to all Canadian Indigenous Businesses?

Yes, all Indigenous Businesses can bid except for Set-Asides under $25,000 for goods and under $75,000 for services.  Set-Asides for goods and services under these thresholds are reserved for competition among Manitoba Indigenous Business.

Is employment of Indigenous people by a vendor a consideration under this Initiative?

No. The IPI focuses on the supply of goods and services from an Indigenous Business. However, qualification as an Indigenous Business stipulates that if the business has six or more full-time employees, at least one-third of those full-time employees must be Indigenous Persons; indirectly supporting the employment of Indigenous Persons.