On 26 April 2021, MPP Anand spoke about the “Supply Chain Management Amendment Act.”

Madam Speaker, I am blessed to represent the diverse riding of Mississauga–Malton, a community with a 78% visible minority population and a 61% immigrant population.

Before I begin, Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member from Waterloo for her intention to include diverse communities, something I am passionate about. I believe if every brick is strong, our wall will be strong; if every wall is strong, our whole building will be strong and we can weather any storm. Our country is built on diverse communities. When these communities grow, our country grows.

At the same time, Madam Speaker, one of the biggest challenges, of course, is the limited number of diverse suppliers in Canada. I would encourage and support more diverse suppliers to start businesses in our province, to expand, to help them participate as a vendor with Supply Ontario.

I want to acknowledge and appreciate my cabinet colleagues for actively using the fiscal firepower to support businesses from marginalized communities and supporting them to grow. For example, aside from the ongoing successful Aboriginal Procurement Program, the 2021 budget doubled investment in the Indigenous Community Capital Grants Program, which will help fast-track long-term infrastructure projects both on- and off-reserve.

Also, we held a round table earlier this year to advance racial equity in Ontario’s workplace with an investment of $1.6 million over two years.

Madam Speaker, this bill calls for a duplicative advisory board, which will add bureaucracy and red tape. This bill mandates certain tasks to be completed within 6 months, a timeline that is nowhere near feasible. Diversity is not something that can be rushed. Supply Ontario was the result of 18 months of stakeholder engagement that has already taken place. Our government is already working to deliver principles highlighted in this bill and will do so without the unintended consequences.

To echo my colleague the member from Mississauga Centre, we’re building a policy in line with the values of Ontario’s procurement policy framework, which includes equal access for vendors, transparency, fairness and non-discriminatory practices. Supply Ontario will open doors for diverse communities as it becomes operational, and I’m very confident about its leadership.

To conclude, Ontario is home to some of the most innovative, industrious and diverse business owners around the world. Creating opportunities for businesses and innovators of all sizes and from all regions of Ontario to supply our government has always been a driving force behind the creation of Supply Ontario. I would like to thank the member opposite for her thoughts and I ask her to come on board. I want to assure you, I will be reaching out to the organization you cited in your speech. Let’s work together to support our residents and build a better Ontario. Together, let’s support Supply Ontario.