How to Get Diversity Certification in Canada for Food Vendors

October 9, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of the Canadian food industry, diversity and inclusion have become more than just buzzwords. They are integral to fostering innovation, growth, and sustainability. One way to demonstrate a commitment to diversity is through obtaining a diversity certification. This comprehensive guide will explore what diversity certification is, the benefits it offers to food suppliers, and the various agencies that provide certification in Canada.

What is Diversity Certification?

Diversity certification is a formal recognition provided to businesses that are owned, managed, and controlled by individuals from diverse backgrounds, including minorities, women, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities. It serves as a testament to a company's commitment to promoting diversity within its operations and supply chain.

Benefits of Diversity Certification for Food Suppliers

1. Access to New Markets

  • Increased Opportunities: Certification opens doors to opportunities with wholesalers and retailers that prioritize diversity in their supply chain.
  • Competitive Edge: Being a certified diverse supplier can set you apart from competitors, making you more appealing to potential clients.

2. Enhanced Reputation

  • Alignment with Social Values: Certification aligns your brand with social responsibility and inclusivity, enhancing your reputation.
  • Trust Building: It builds trust among clients and consumers who value diversity and social responsibility.

3. Business Growth and Development

  • Networking Opportunities: Certification provides access to networking events, workshops, and conferences, fostering connections and growth.
  • Tailored Support: Many certifying agencies offer mentorship and support tailored to the unique needs of diverse suppliers.

4. Compliance and Regulatory Advantages

  • Meeting Requirements: Some governmental and private sector contracts require diversity certification, making it essential for compliance.
  • Incentives and Grants: Certified businesses may be eligible for various incentives and grants aimed at promoting diversity.

Agencies Providing Diversity Certification in Canada

1. National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

  • About: NMSDC is a U.S.-based organization that also operates in Canada, focusing on advancing business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises.
  • Certification Process:
  • Eligibility Check: Ensure that your business meets the criteria of being at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by minorities.
  • Application Submission: Complete the online application and submit the required documents.
  • Site Visit: A site visit may be conducted to verify the information.
  • Approval and Certification: Upon successful verification, certification is granted.
  • Website: NMSDC

2. Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC)

  • About: CAMSC promotes the economic growth of Canadian Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses through supplier diversity.
  • Certification Process:
  • Eligibility Assessment: Ensure that the business is at least 51% owned and controlled by Aboriginal or minority individuals.
  • Application and Documentation: Submit the application along with supporting documents online.
  • Interview and Site Visit: An interview and site visit are conducted to validate the information.
  • Certification: If approved, certification is granted, and the business is listed in the CAMSC directory.
  • Website: CAMSC

3. Inclusive Workplace Supply Council of Canada (IWSCC)

  • About: IWSCC focuses on certifying businesses owned by veterans or persons with disabilities, aiming to create an inclusive supply chain.
  • Certification Process:
  • Eligibility Verification: The business must be at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by veterans or persons with disabilities.
  • Application Process: Complete the application form and provide necessary documents.
  • Validation: A validation process, including interviews and site visits, is conducted.
  • Certification Award: Successful applicants receive certification and access to IWSCC's network.
  • Website: IWSCC

4. WeConnect International

  • About: WeConnect International focuses on connecting women-owned businesses with qualified buyers around the world.
  • Certification Process:
  • Eligibility Confirmation: The business must be at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women.
  • Online Application: Submit the application and required documents online.
  • Verification: Verification may include interviews, site visits, and reference checks.
  • Certification Grant: Upon successful verification, certification is granted, providing access to a global network.
  • Website: WeConnect International


Diversity certification in Canada is more than just a badge of honor; it's a strategic tool that can significantly impact the success and growth of food suppliers. From accessing new markets and building trust to fostering innovation and aligning with social values, the benefits are manifold.

The process of obtaining certification, though rigorous, is facilitated by various reputable agencies, each catering to different aspects of diversity. Whether it's NMSDC focusing on minority businesses, CAMSC on Aboriginal and minority-owned enterprises, IWSCC on veterans and persons with disabilities, or WeConnect International on women-owned businesses, the avenues are diverse and inclusive.

In a world where diversity is not just celebrated but expected, embracing diversity certification is not just an option but a necessity for food suppliers in Canada. It's a step towards a more inclusive, responsible, and successful future. Explore these certifications, understand their unique offerings, and take the leap towards a more diverse and vibrant food industry landscape.

Transform Your Supply Chain with Pack Fresh