TORONTO -- It seems white men can apply after all to do business with the 2015 Pan Am Games.
That's the word from Bill Zakarow, the director of procurement for TO2015.
"We don't have a goal to flood our supplier pool with diverse businesses," he told QMI Agency on Thursday.
Zakarow was responding to an Oct. 4 QMI Agency column revealing that would-be suppliers wishing to be considered for one of the many contracts available before and during the Pan Am Games are asked to declare whether or not theirs is a diverse business.
As reported on Oct. 4, when Scott Anders of Milton, Ont.-based Scooters Catering went online to the Pan Am website earlier this year to register, he was surprised to find questions asking him whether his business is 51% owned and operated by females, visible minorities, aboriginals, disabled people or by people who identify as LGBT. He was also asked if his business has a "diversity certification."
Calling it a case of reverse discrimination, he decided at the time not to pursue signing up, figuring his company would "never ever have a chance" of being picked to bid for any food-related tenders.
What Anders and other suppliers like him didn't know at the time is that TO2015 CEO Ian Troop had vowed to make "multiculturalism" to the 2015 Pan Am Games what "green" was to Vancouver's 2010 Winter Olympics.
When he announced his People's Games with great fanfare in March 2011, Troop pledged to "adopt diversity as standard practice" in their day-to-day business -- meaning all their procedures and decision-making criteria would embrace diversity from purchasing goods and services to hiring employees and recruiting volunteers.
But Zakarow told me Thursday that the online diversity questionnaire was always optional.