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Frequently Asked Questions

When asking is certification beneficial for your business, here are some questions you need to answer.

What is a diverse supplier? 

A diverse supplier is a supplier from an under represented (or historically underutilized) group. Women, visible minorities, Indigenous, veterans, disabled, LGBTQ2SIA+ are all considered diverse suppliers. 

What is a WBE? 

WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise. 

What exactly does it mean to be "certified as a WBE"? 

Being certified as a WBE means that your business has gone through a rigorous and stringent certification process to confirm that your business is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by a women or women (i.e. diverse supplier). 

Why do I need by business to be certified? 

Certification is important to today's suppliers, especially as large companies who have supplier diversity programs continue to look to increase their spending with diverse businesses. While certification does not guarantee you business, it does give you access to the corporate purchasing process where you will still have to compete based on price, quality and delivery. The national certification organizations host a variety of events each year, providing you will access to corporates with supplier diversity programs (for example, RBC, TD, BMO, Telus, Bell Canada, GM, Toyota, FCA, Walmart, Sodexo, EY, IBM, Kelloggs, John & Johnson, Accenture - to name a few). 

Who can certify my business? 

In Canada, there are several third-party national certification organizations. As a WBE, you must determine which organization best suits your business. Talk to each organization and ask about the benefits about being certified with them and what corporates are their members. 

How much does it cost to be certified? 

Each organization differs, but expect to pay in the range of $750/year. Certifications can be renewed annually. There is no funding available for certification. In order to leverage your certification, expect to be present at events that are typically held in Ontario. This means that you will have to budget for travel several times each year. Since each of the certification organization head offices are located in Toronto, almost all events are held there. 

What is the certification process? 

The process involved documentation, screening, interviews and possible on-site visits to confirm your business is diverse. The applications are typically done online and may take several weeks to be approved. Once you have received your certification, you will be included in the database of the certifying organization. Corporate members of that organization may use this database to look for diverse suppliers for upcoming purchases. More importantly, corporate members will want to meet you at the various events held each year. 

Which documents are required as part of the application and certification process?

This depends on whether your business is a sole proprietorship, corporation or partnership. Typically you will be required to provide copies of your financials, partnership agreements, minute book, etc. 

Do governments (federal, provincial, municipal) recognize supplier diversity certifications? 

No. However, the Government of Canada has committed to increasing the number of women owned and led businesses it purchases goods and services from. 

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