The State of Supplier Diversity Programs in Canada

Paul D. Larson, Ph.D., CN Professor of SCM, University of Manitoba
Jack D. Kulchitsky, Ph.D., Senior Instructor in Marketing, University of Calgary
Silvia Pencak, M.A., President, WBE Canada

In Fall 2020, WBE Canada and experts from the Universities of Manitoba and Calgary conducted a national survey on the status of supplier diversity (SD) in Canada. The survey focused on the barriers to SD programs and the facilitators and motivators needed to move SD forward.

Participating organizations reported varying degrees of SD, including those with full or partial programs, those in the initial stages of developing an SD program and those who currently have no formal program. These organizations were asked a series of questions on the primary goals of their SD program, motivators and facilitators, importance of Canada’s certifying councils, barriers and status of internal reporting of diverse spends, including from Tier 2 suppliers.

The results of this survey present a better understanding of where SD fits within the strategies of Canada’s large corporations and how Canada’s public-sector post-pandemic recovery efforts need to include SD as a strategy to ensure continuing and long-term economic growth. Utilizing the data gathered from this research is immensely helpful as WBE Canada continues to develop the tools and resources to help Canada’s private-and public-sector organizations build SD programs, improve their internal reporting and find qualified suppliers needed to expand and diversify their supply chains.

This report follows the release of the first report ‘The State of WBE Certification in Canada: The Suppliers’ Perspective’ which was published in June 2021.

Download the report


Paul D. Larson, Ph.D. is the CN Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Manitoba. Paul is lead author of Supplier Diversity in Canada: Research and analysis of the next step in diversity and inclusion for forward-looking organizations, published in 2016 by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

Jack D. Kulchitsky, Ph.D. is a Senior Instructor in the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. Jack is the co-researcher on the 2020-21 supplier diversity project, which includes surveys of suppliers and buyers, along with a supplier diversity program content analysis of Canada’s “Best Diversity Employers” in 2020.

Silvia Pencak, M.A. is the President & CEO of WBE Canada. Silvia is an innovator driving transformation in supplier diversity in Canada with projects like WBE Canada Toolbox, Supplier Diversity Accelerator, Supplier Diversity Data Services and many others, designed to enable and propel supplier diversity forward in Canadian market.