Pan Am diversity policy has vendor sidelined

Scott Anders, owner of Scooters Group of Companies, with his truck in Milton. (Dave Abel/QMI Agency)

Scott Anders, owner of Scooters Group of Companies, with his truck in Milton. (Dave Abel/QMI Agency)

Sue-Ann Levy, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

TORONTO - Scott Anders, of Scooters Catering, had hoped to be able to sell his hot dogs, gently smoked pulled pork and St. Louis style ribs at some of the venues during the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Anders thought himself a perfect fit.

After all, events like this are bread and butter for his Milton-based company. When I spoke to him earlier this week, he was just winding down from a busy summer operating his food trailer at the Honda Indy, the Live Nation tour at Ontario Place, as well as a variety of weekend festivals.

But when he went online to the Pan Am website in the spring to register as a supplier with the games' database, he was shocked to see that he had to declare whether his is a diverse business.

That meant reporting whether it is 51% owned and operated by females, visible minorities, Aboriginals, disabled people or by people who identify as LGBT.

He also had to indicate whether his business actually has a "diversity certification."

Anders told me he'd never seen anything like it and that the most he's ever been asked in an application is to send a picture of his booth.

"They never ask what colour you are or whether you are owned by a woman," he said, noting he's been in the business for 18 years. "What does this have to do with being a food vendor ... I just want to sell hot dogs."

He decided not to continue with his application figuring his company "would never ever have a chance" of being selected.

Another gentleman, who did not want to his name or company used, went to a presentation early this year which included a talk by someone from the TO2015 organization.

He heard the presenter say that when two companies are competing for a particular contract, they will lean towards companies with Aboriginal, LGBT and other minority employees.

"It drives up costs and it makes people frustrated where they won't bid," he said. "I've never seen these social biases put into a purchasing requirement ... it made me feel sick."


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