1. What is a WBE?
WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) is an independent business that is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, whose business formation and principal place of business are in Canada, and whose management and daily operation is controlled by one or more women.
2. What exactly does it mean to be “certified as a WBE”?
Being certified as a WBE means that a business has gone through a rigorous and stringent due diligence process to confirm the business is owned, managed and controlled by a woman or women. WBE Canada certifies legally established for-profit businesses that are headquartered and operate in Canada.
3. Which documents are required as part of the application and certification process?
This depends on whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or incorporated company. Our online application has the functionality to upload all the required documents. You need to upload ALL the required documentation which we will review in advance of your site visit. Documentation required to be made available by uploading into the application and/or made available during the site visit: Incorporated Companies
| Sole Proprietorship
.WBE Canada may require additional documentation beyond the list depending on the circumstances of your business. Once certification is confirmed, a confirmation package including a Certificate will be sent to you. For more information see the application process
4. What is the fee for certification?
The annual fee is currently set at $750, plus GST/HST according to your province of headquartered operation, and is subject to change. This a non-refundable processing fee.
||Total Due (including GST/HST)
|BC – 5%
|AB – 5%
|SK – 5%
|MB – 5%
|ON – 13%
|QC – 5%
|NB – 15%
|NS – 15%
|PEI – 15%
|NFLD – 15%
|YT – 5%
|NU – 5%
|NWT – 5%
5. Why do I have to pay for WBE certification?
Verification of your business compliance with WBE standards takes time and money. Fees cover the cost associated with the certification and help us maintain our WBE Database. WBE certification provides additional benefits and opportunities and is a very effective way to provide you with access to corporate and government buyers and growth opportunities for your business.
6. How long does it take to get certified?
Upon receipt of your completed application and fee, you will be contacted to set up a mutually convenient time for the site visit with the owner(s). Generally the process can be completed within 6 weeks, however, the time frame is highly dependent upon the applicant’s ability to prepare documentation and be available for the site visit.
7. What happens at the site visit?
The information that you supply in your application is verified during the site visit. A review of your legal and financial documents is undertaken; our assessor interviews the owner(s) to become more familiar with your operations, and a tour of your facilities is assumed. This is also an opportunity to get to know you and your business and for you to ask any questions you may have.
8. Why do you need all the information that you ask for?
We review the information in order to verify that your business is at minimum 51% owned, managed and controlled by a woman or women. It is critical to our corporate members that our certification is of the highest standard to comply with international supplier diversity criteria.
9. How long do you allow for the applicant to complete their requirements (documentation and site visit availability)?
We allow 90 days from the date of application to meet with the owners and conduct our review. If there are extenuating circumstances, an extension may be granted.
10. Who has access to the database? Can WBEs search the database too?
Only WBE Canada’s Corporate Members have access to view your contact information, business capabilities and NAICS codes. Fellow WBEs can view a limited version of the WBE database so that you can find each other for business-to-business opportunities and to forge strategic partnerships in order to enhance bidding capacity. WBEs benefit from any corporation in the world that accepts our certification because of our strong global connections.
11. What information should I share within the database?
Like most large corporations, our corporate members will require some detailed information about your company before they will agree to do business with you. Therefore, the more information you are willing to share with them, the easier it will be for them to accept you as a supplier. Many of the corporations are interested in certain criteria such as revenues and number of employees in order to determine your ability to respond to an opportunity. Ultimately, the information you share is up to you.
12. I am a private company and I don’t want to share my financial information with WBE Canada or others. Why do you ask for this sensitive information?
Financial statements provide evidence that you are conducting business as described in the application. Governance document and financial information are used collectively to verify the ownership, management and control by women owners. Please note that the audit process does not evaluate the company’s profitability, financial viability or ability to undertake contracts. This is the purview of a buyer.
13. How will I know when I am approved?
After the site visit report is filed, WBE Canada will inform you of acceptance/denial or any unresolved issues. Upon approval, a certificate of certification is issued from WBE Canada directly.
14. How long does my certification last?
The certification is valid for a year from the date of issuance. Provided that your company continues to meet WBE Canada’s criteria, you may renew in years 2, 3 and 4 by updating your information in each of these years. In year 5, a documentation review including a site visit will again be required. The annual fee payment is required before each annual renewal period is confirmed.
15. Is certification with WBE Canada recognized in the US and with other corporations around the world?
WBE Canada certificates are recognized by all our Corporate Members as well as many other Fortune 1000 companies around the globe. WBE Canada was formed in 2009 and mentored by WBENC. That said, it is up to the individual corporations to determine if they will include the foreign contracts in their diversity spend tracking. In addition to our corporate members, and those of WBENC, there are many companies that measure diversity spend and are keen to source from certified women business enterprises. WBE Canada continues to actively build recognition of Canadian certification in corporations and government organizations. List of organizations recognizing our certification is shared internally with all certified WBEs.
16. What is the benefit of attending the WBE Canada Annual Conference and other events?
The primary advantage of attending events like WBE Canada’s Annual Conference or other supplier diversity events is meeting hundreds of corporate buyers in one place who have a commitment to sourcing from women’s business enterprises. This is an excellent opportunity to meet supplier diversity professionals and buyers with a commitment to women suppliers and start a relationship that may lead to buy-sell opportunities.