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Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Call to Action: Social Finance and Social Innovation Strategy Consultation

Monday, November 13, 2017

Last June, Employment and Social Development Canada assembled a Steering Group to help design the federal government’s new Social Innovation and Finance Strategy. The Steering Group has published a discussion paper and has invited comments and suggestions. Imagine Canada is working to ensure that charities and nonprofits are considered in the Strategy. After all, most social enterprises are charities and nonprofits!

Deadline to submit: December 31st!

Among our recommendations, we are advocating for the following:

  • Improved capacity-building for charities and nonprofits. That supports for charitable and nonprofit social enterprises in overcoming demand-side market barriers be central to the mandate of new and more flexible finance mechanisms. This entails a commitment of funds towards this purpose, and the strengthening of an enabling market infrastructure, including the development of accessible and supportive regional intermediaries.
  • Gather data on the sector. That the strategy calls on the Minister of Industry, Science and Economic Development and the Chief Statistician to make economic data about charities and nonprofits a core activity for Statistics Canada. This would be fundamental to understanding social enterprises and social innovation, due to the fact that most social enterprises are charities and nonprofits.
  • Improvements to grants and contributions to free up our ability to innovate. That the Steering Group call on the federal government, particularly the Treasury Board Secretariat, to ensure consistent adoption of the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Panel across federal departments and agencies.
  • Social procurement. That the Steering Group call on the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to work with charities to develop a comprehensive social procurement policy framework.

Why get involved?

This consultation gives us an opportunity to contribute towards positive policy change in the area of earned income, permitting charities and nonprofits to become more financially independent and sustainable. A comprehensive social innovation and finance strategy would touch upon a number of other important policy realms by extension, presenting opportunities in access to data, social procurement and even grants and contributions.

There is an opportunity here to move the needle on a number of files that would contribute to a more enabling environment for charities and nonprofits to serve their communities. Imagine what our sector could achieve were it not bound by the constraints of donor-driven project-based funding; if government developed policy informed by an understanding of our unique needs and characteristics; if we could more easily secure government procurement contracts; and if organizations were freer to finance their own operations.

To get there, we hope you’ll join us in making your voice heard.

So, how do you participate?

1. Draft a letter or email…

To the Steering Group (or personalize this template!). Tell them about your organization, why it’s important for you as a charity or nonprofit to see improved opportunities and regulation around social finance.

2. Then, we invite you to…

  • Attach our submission directly to your email, or
  • Copy and paste any sections you like for your own submissions, or
  • Send in your own submission!

Send to social_innovation_sociale@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca. Please cc us at publicpolicy@imaginecanada.ca so that we can make sure the government considers and responds to all perspectives.

Remember - the deadline for consultation is December 31, 2017.

3. Spread the word

We encourage you to spread the news about the consultation throughout your networks. If it’s helpful, you can simply forward this post to your members and/or stakeholders, letting them know about the issue and this opportunity to participate.

The following can be shared over social media:

Sample tweets

Act now for a federal social innovation and finance strategy designed for charities #WeAdvocate #SocEnt http://ow.ly/ksG030gyb1f

A national conversation is happening now on charities & social finance. Join the action! #WeAdvocate #SocEnt http://ow.ly/ksG030gyb1f

4. Stay informed…

On social finance policy updates and other policy network news by subscribing to our weekly Early Alert service.

Sign up for the Early Alert


Our National Partners

  • great west life
  • Lawson Foundation
  • Muttart Foundation
  • RBC Foundation
  • Suncor
  • TD Bank
  • investors group

Learn more about our National Partners and other supporters.

Charitable Registration Number: 119218790 RR0001