National Indigenous Business Definition

National Indigenous Business Definition

The National Indigenous Procurement Working Group (NIPWG) was formed in part to facilitate the creation of Indigenous Business Definitions that can provide clarity and consistent structure to procurement processes.

While created initially for use in Federal Government procurement, these definitions are intended for use across all levels of public and private sector procurement to improve economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples of
Canada by engaging in business relationships with legitimate Indigenous owned and operated businesses.



Available in English and French.


How to Use the Definitions

There are opportunities for all participants in procurement processes to understand, utilize, and spread awareness of the Indigenous Business Definitions.

The following are suggestions for how major groups can integrate the Definitions into new and existing practices. These suggestions are not exhaustive, and each group should be innovative and create ways to ensure that Indigenous Peoples of Canada are meaningfully engaged in the economic prosperity of Canada.

Domestic and International Corporations and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises can…

  • Incorporate the Indigenous Business Definitions and means of verification into their procurement policies.
  • Spread awareness and adoption of the Definitions to partners, Industry, and other stakeholders for use in their procurement opportunities and submissions.
  • Build relationships early and engage with Indigenous communities and businesses at the earliest stages of procurement. Involve the Indigenous entity in the work, support their leaderships, and hear their voices.
  • Negotiate fairly, with respect, and in good faith, using the Indigenous Business Definitions to support the active participation of Indigenous businesses and communities.
  • Proclaim and uphold a culture of security and respect for legitimate Indigenous procurement according to the Definitions. Enforce policies that protect legitimate Indigenous businesses, communities and their members. Extend these imperatives to third-party contractors, audit their activities, and take definitive and transparent action when breaches occur.
  • Establish and incentivize your own targets for Indigenous business procurement participation using these Definitions.

Canada’s governments can…

  • Adopt the Definitions into procurement processes. Increasing Indigenous economic participation would have significant economic benefits for Canada and especially the economy and capacity of Indigenous businesses and communities.
  • Protect the integrity of Indigenous procurement participation by requiring the use of the Definitions in procurement processes, verification of legitimate Indigenous businesses, and audit contracts for compliance.
  • Develop enforcement mechanisms using the Definitions to ensure bad actors are held accountable.
  • Work together to create a consistent and coordinated approach to supporting Indigenous business procurement participation, including sharing best practices and collaborating on initiatives that aim to increase Indigenous
    participation and build capacity in Indigenous communities.
  • Continue to work with Indigenous Peoples to refine the Indigenous Business Definitions and adhere to their obligations under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs can…

  • Engage in Canada’s growth. Indigenous involvement, collaboration, and leadership is a critical component of the economy, the environment, and social structure of the country.
  • Participate in the use of Indigenous Business Definitions and push for adoption of the definitions as a requirement for procurement participation at all levels.
  • Only take part in business relationships that respect legitimate Indigenous businesses according to the appropriate definition helps protect the integrity of the Indigenous procurement system and discourage bad actors from trying to circumvent these controls.
  • Continue to engage with Canada’s governments to develop the Indigenous Business Definitions and ensure that Indigenous issues are heard.
Scroll to top