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WBE Canada Certification Requirements:

  • The applicant must be a legally established for-profit business that is headquartered and operates in Canada
  • Women must have a minimum of 51% Ownership* of the Corporation or Limited Partnership as detailed in the Share Register. A Woman must own 100% in a Sole Proprietorship
  • A woman must have day-to-day knowledge and authority of the Operations, Management and Control** of the business


* Ownership

  • Corporations
    • 51% means voting and the aggregate of all stock outstanding
  • Partnerships
    • 51% own and receive 51% of the profits and benefits
  • Limited Partnerships
    • 51% interest and 51% of the management and control amongst its members
  • Sole Proprietorship
    • 100% ownership
  • Franchise
    • 100% ownership **concern is given when there are policies that restrict control: ie. Termination without cause; lack of ownership of receivables; contracts are approved by the Franchisor; management decisions are made by the Franchisor; hiring and firing cannot be made independently by the Franchisee….


** Operations, Management and Control

  • All legal documents pertaining to the Applicant Company may not contain any provisions that place restrictions on the management/decision-making powers
  • There must be proven knowledge of day-to-day management responsibility, control and understanding of the business practices
  • A woman must hold the highest defined Officer Position




Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. What is a WBE? WBE (Women's Business Enterprise) is an independent business concern that is at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women, whose business formation and principal place of business are in Canada, and whose management and daily operation is controlled by one or more women.

  2. Q. What exactly does it mean to be "certified as a WBE"? Being certified as a WBE means that a business concern has gone through a rigorous and stringent due diligence process to confirm the business is owned, managed, and controlled by a woman or women.

  3. Q. Which documents are required as part of the application and certification process? This depends on whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or incorporated company. See the application process. WBE Canada may require additional documentation beyond the list depending on the circumstances of your business.

  4. Q. What is the fee for certification? The annual fee is currently set at $750, plus GST/HST according to your province of headquartered operation, and is subject to change. This a non-refundable processing fee.


    Total Due (including GST/HST)

    BC – 5%


    AB – 5%


    SK – 5%


    MB – 5%


    ON – 13%


    QC – 5%


    NB – 13%


    NS – 15%


    PEI – 5%


    NFLD – 13%


    NWT – 5%



  5. Q. How long does it take to get certified? Upon receipt of your completed application and fee, you will be contacted to set up a mutually convenient time for the site visit with the owner(s). Generally the process can be completed within 6 weeks, however, the time frame is highly dependent upon the applicant's ability to prepare documentation and be available for the site visit.

  6. Q. What happens at the site visit? The information that you supply in your application is verified during the site visit. A review of your legal and financial documents is undertaken; our assessor interviews the owner(s) to become more familiar with your operations, and a tour of your facilities is assumed. This is also an opportunity to get to know you and your business and for you to ask any questions you may have.

  7. Q. Why do you need all the information that you ask for? We review the information in order to verify that your business is at minimum 51% owned, managed and controlled by a woman or women. It is critical to our corporate members that our certification is of the highest standard to comply with international supplier diversity criteria.

  8. Q. How long do you allow for the applicant to complete their requirements (documentation and site visit availability)? We allow 90 days from the date of application to meet with the owners and conduct our review. If there are extenuating circumstances, an extension may be granted.

  9. Q. Who has access to the database? Can WBEs search the database too? Only WBE Canada's corporate members have access to the full database. Fellow WBEs can view a limited version of the WBE database so that you can find each other for business-to-business opportunities and to forge strategic partnerships in order to enhance bidding capacity. WBEs benefit from any corporation in the world that accepts our certification because of our strong global connections.

  10. Q. What information should I share within the database? Like most large corporations, our corporate members will require some detailed information about your company before they will agree to do business with you. Therefore, the more information you are willing to share with them, the easier it will be for them to accept you as a supplier. Many of the corporations be interested in certain criteria such as revenues and number of employees in order to determine your ability to respond to an opportunity. Ultimately, the information you share is up to you.

  11. Q. I am a private company and I don't want to share my financial information with WBE Canada or others. Why do you ask for this sensitive information? Financial statements provide evidence that you are conducting business as described in the application. Governance document and financial information are used collectively to verify the ownership, management and control by women owners. Please note that the audit process does not evaluate the company's profitability, financial viability or ability to undertake contracts. This is the purview of a buyer.

  12. Q. How will I know when I am approved? After the site visit report is filed, WBE Canada will inform you of acceptance/denial or any unresolved issues. Upon approval, a certificate of certification is issued from WBE Canada directly.

  13. Q. How long does my certification last? The certification is valid for a year from the date of issuance. Provided that your company continues to meet WBE Canada's criteria, you may renew in years 2, 3 and 4 by updating your information in each of these years. In year 5, a documentation review including a site visit will again be required. The annual fee payment is required before each annual renewal period is confirmed.

  14. Q. Is certification with WBE Canada recognized in the U.S. and with other corporations around the world? All certificates are issued by WBE Canada and are recognized globally by many Fortune 1000 companies. WBE Canada was formed in 2009 and mentored by WBENC. That said, it is up to the individual corporations to determine if they will include the foreign contracts in their diversity spend numbers. In addition to our corporate members, and those of WBENC, there are many companies that measure diversity spend and are keen to source from certified women business enterprises.

  15. What is the benefit of attending WBE Canada and other events? The primary advantage of attending the events like WBE Canada's conference or other supplier diversity events it meeting hundreds of corporate buyers in one place who have a commitment to sourcing from women's business enterprises. This is an excellent opportunity to meet supplier diversity professionals and buyers with a commitment to women suppliers and start a relationship that may lead to buy-sell opportunities.

Meet the criteria? Start your certification now!