An aerial view of rural Ontario manufacturing facility

Ontario has introduced a new regulation under the Building Ontario Businesses Initiative Act, 2022 (BOBIA), aimed at giving local companies a better chance to secure procurement contracts from public sector entities, including hospitals, school boards, and universities. This regulation establishes specific procurement thresholds designed to provide opportunities for Ontario-based businesses, setting them at $121,200 for goods and services in the Broader Public Sector, and $30,300 for goods and $121,200 for services for the Ontario Public Service.

The provincial government estimates that approximately $30 billion is spent annually on goods and services by the public sector, and it is leveraging this expenditure to potentially benefit local businesses. They predict that Ontario businesses could receive at least $3 billion in contracts by 2026 as a result of this initiative.

Supply Ontario, a provincial agency, plays a crucial role in this initiative, aiming to address challenges within the public sector’s supply chain by transforming and modernizing the procurement process. Alongside this, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters have launched the Ontario Made program, supported by the province, to promote locally manufactured products.

These initiatives are part of Ontario’s broader strategy to support local economic growth and job creation through public sector procurement. While the government asserts that these measures will protect the supply chain and foster economic resilience, the impact of such policies will need to be assessed over time to determine their true effectiveness in promoting sustainable economic development and how they align with existing trade obligations.