Approved By: City Council
Approval Date: May 23, 2007
Effective Date: May 23, 2007
Revision Approved by: City Treasurer
Revision date: June 18, 2015
The City of Ottawa (the “City”) is committed to purchasing goods, services and construction from responsible suppliers that provide quality goods, services and construction at competitive prices, and who abide by ethical standards and norms. This policy aligns the City’s purchasing practices with its values by ensuring workplaces which provide goods, services and construction for the City respect human and workers’ rights as specified in the Supplier Code of Conduct .
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that goods, services and construction purchased by the City, or by suppliers/contractors operating on City premises, meet the highest possible ethical standards by following the principles set out in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, as referenced in the Supplier Code of Conduct. This policy establishes an avenue whereby complaints of abuses in workplaces that are involved in providing goods, services and construction to the City, can be made to the City. The City shall determine the level and the degree necessary to investigate and act upon complaints.
This policy applies to City suppliers of goods, services and construction, and their subcontractors, who have entered into agreements with the City on or after May 23, 2007, the effective date of this policy.
This policy does not, however, apply to any tender or contract for the supply of such items that was issued, awarded or entered into prior to the effective date of the policy. Suppliers and their subcontractors who entered into agreements with the City before May 23, 2007 are encouraged to comply with this policy.
If and when the contracts are eligible for renewal, the supplier and their subcontractors must comply with this policy and may be required to certify compliance in writing.
The City shall not knowingly purchase goods, services and construction that have been manufactured in sweatshops or under sweatshop conditions. All products purchased by the City must be produced in accordance with the standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.
Suppliers shall respect this policy and ensure that their production facilities, and those of their subcontractors, comply with national and other laws applicable in each workplace. Where national law differs from the principles set out in this policy, the provisions that accord the greatest right, benefit or protection to the worker shall apply.
Suppliers shall confirm compliance with this policy by providing written acknowledgement with their bid submission. In addition, when requested, a supplier shall provide the names and addresses of each subcontractor and/or production facility to be used in providing the goods, services and construction. This information is considered public information and, where warranted, will be posted on the City’s website.
The City reserves the right to request that the supplier provide any additional supporting documentation that demonstrates compliance with this policy.
The City shall monitor this policy on a complaints basis only. The Chief Procurement Officer shall assess the validity of complaints in accordance with this policy, and where practical, in consultation with the Stakeholder Committee comprised of business, labour and fair trade representatives. Where warranted, the City shall notify suppliers of suspected non-compliance with this policy. Suppliers shall be required to investigate the reported complaints by employing an independent third party investigation firm, at the supplier’s expense, or by other means of verification deemed acceptable to the City
Within 30 days from the date of the non-compliance notice, the supplier shall provide the City with a report containing information on the verification program undertaken. This information shall include the name of the third party verifier, the findings of the investigation, and the corrective action taken to resolve the violation and achieve compliance with this policy.
Costs involved in the determination of compliance or non-compliance shall be borne by the supplier. All costs associated with the improvement of working conditions that would lead to compliance shall be borne by the supplier.
The Chief Procurement Officer has sole discretion to decide on issues of non-compliance, including granting a reasonable time period to achieve compliance. The Chief Procurement Officer’s decision is final and binding on all parties. When exercising this discretion, the Chief Procurement Officer shall seek the advice and input of the Stakeholder Committee where warranted.
Any supplier complaint with the Ethical Purchasing Policy, or the application thereof, shall not be considered a formal complaint as defined in the City of Ottawa’s Procurement By-law.
City departments are responsible for:
- Following the provisions of this policy; and
- Advising Supply Services of suspected non-compliance.
Supply Services is responsible for:
- Administering this policy and ensuring that City staff and the supplier community are informed of their responsibilities and obligations;
- Collecting supplier certification materials and for publishing the names and locations of supplier production facilities on the City’s website; and
- Receiving complaints and managing policy non-compliance and for ensuring that suppliers undertake third party investigations as requested by the City.
Supply Services shall consult as the need arises with the Stakeholder Committee. Where practical, the City shall seek the advice of the Stakeholder Committee on the:
- Implementation of this policy;
- The investigation of future options for monitoring compliance and improving enforcement of this policy;
- Making a final determination regarding supplier compliance; and
- The consideration of additional products.
Failure to comply with this policy may result in the City exercising its rights under the default provisions set out in the contract between the City and the supplier.
General Terms and Conditions
Supplier Code of Conduct
Legislative and Administrative Authorities
Council Report (ACS2007-CMR-FIN-0004)
Council Report (ACS2010-CMR-FIN-0010)
International Labour Organization Convention
Procurement By-law 50 of 2000, as amended
Child: any person less than 15, unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, or less than 14 if minimum wage law is set at that age in accordance with developing country exceptions under ILO Convention 138.
Employer: an entity that employs or contracts a worker in the production of a product.
Factories or Production Facilities: a facility that is used to produce products for the City, whether it is a supplier’s factory or subcontractor’s facility.
Fairtrade Certified Products: products that are fair trade certified by Fairtrade Canada, or if unavailable, another National Initiative (NI) of the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International. Examples of commodities currently include coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, quinoa, flowers, wine, sports balls, cotton, bananas and other tropical fruit.
Fairtrade Certification: a system that seeks to improve the lives of agricultural product producers in origin countries by ensuring that the owners of farms receive a guaranteed fair price for their harvest. Fairtrade Canada is the recognized certification body in Canada.
Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International: the global Fairtrade standard setting and certification organization for products bearing Fairtrade certification labels. FLO certifies producer organizations and audits trade between certified producer organizations and registered traders in consuming countries, including all steps of processing and industrial manufacturing.
International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Labour Conventions: the minimum labour standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.
International Labour Organization (ILO): the United Nations specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights.
Minimum labour standards: the minimum labour standards set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.
Purchasing: the process of procuring products from manufacturers or suppliers.
Stakeholder Committee: A committee comprised of both internal and external parties including City staff with representation from the labour community, humanitarian and labour organizations, environmental groups and business advocacy groups. This committee convenes at the Chief Procurement Officer’s request to review complaints of non-compliance to this policy.
Subcontractor: an entity that has been subcontracted by a supplier. It does not have a direct business relationship with the City, however, it provides the supplier with goods and/or services integral to the manufacture, provision or maintenance of products for the City.
Supplier Code of Conduct (SCC): the minimum performance standards for the City’s Ethical Purchasing policy. The goal of the SCC is to ensure safe and healthy workplaces for the people who make products for the City; where human and civil rights are upheld in accordance with the conventions of the ILO.
Supplier: an entity that in the course of a commercial business sells a product or service to the City. These companies may have factories or production facilities of their own or they subcontract parts or their entire production.
Sweatshop: a facility where individuals manufacture, assemble or produce consumer goods under working conditions that do not meet or exceed the labour standards set out by the ILO.
Worker: a person involved in the manufacture or provision of services for a product.
For more information on this policy, please contact:
Manager, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Management
Strategic Sourcing Branch
Supply Services, Corporate Services Department