Parliament Hill

The federal election presents an excellent opportunity for charities and nonprofits to promote civic engagement and to talk boldly about issues important to Canadians and our communities!

Canada’s political parties and charities and nonprofits have important things to say about the issues that matter to you. It can be time-consuming to keep track of it all now that the election campaign is in full swing with more and more information available each day! This Election Hub is here to help you stay informed and up-to-date about the issues that you care about and those that affect all charities.

This is the time for charities and nonprofits to show the profound impact they have on Canadian society!

Be heard! Charities have a lot to say! Let’s learn from each other, inspire each other, and showcase our organizations and the issues that we raise on behalf of Canadians.

Stay informed! We’re following the election closely and will report back here when the parties talk about things that would affect all charities and specific causes.

Get involved! It’s important for charities to know that they can take action during the election period to raise the profile of their public policy efforts. We have information as to what registered charities can and can’t do during the election.

Charity Impact Brief: Federal Election 2015

charity impact brief cover

Charities and nonprofits are actively engaging in the current federal election campaign. The Charity Impact Brief illustrates that despite concerns over political activity audits, these organizations continue to speak up on ideas that are critical to Canada’s social good. [Media Release]

Released: October 5, 2015

Download Brief

 

Tell us what your organization is doing

Is your charity or nonprofit involved in the election? Whether you’re working on specific issues, or promoting civic awareness and engagement, let us know so we can include yours.

Fill out my online form.

Aboriginal affairs

The Assembly of First Nations is promoting voting and civic participation among First Nations with material and tools they will continue to update on their website.

The Assembly of First Nations released Closing the Gap: 2015 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada, presenting a host of policy priorities for the election campaign focused on raising the quality of life for First Nations.

Arts and culture

The Canadian Arts Coalition has launched an effort to encourage and assist arts service organizations in getting involved in the federal election.

 NEW  The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities (FCFA) of Canada has launched an elections microsite to inform voters of party positions on the Francophonie and official languages. It also provides tips advocacy strategies for those wishing to engage candidates on these matters.  

 NEW  Sport Matters highlights a number of advocacy tools and policy resources on their Federal Election 2015 site.  Among these are candidate listings (including those with a background in sports), sample letters, and position papers. 

Sport Matters is assessing party positions on issues related to sport and physical activity. Updates from this process can be received by following @sportmatters613 on Twitter. Sport Matters would also like to hear from those planning election activity related to sport. 

Civic engagement

In partnership with Elections Canada, ABC Life Literacy Canada has created a resource for literacy practitioners, entitled A Guide to Voting: A Literacy Practitioner Workbook for Voting in the 2015 Federal Election

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is encouraging the supporters of the creation of a national dementia strategy to pledge their support for this cause during the election. This organization also provides a 2015 advocacy toolkit on their website, providing tips on how to engage effectively during an election. 

The Assembly of First Nations is promoting voting and civic participation among First Nations with material and tools they will continue to update on their website.

Barrier-Free Canada has released an Election Action Kit, a resource intended to promote civic engagement around disability rights.

 NEW  The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations is encouraging nonprofit organizations to join the first Calgary Nonprofit Democratic Challenge. Nonprofit staff, members and clients can accept this challenge by planning to vote on October 19, and rally their engagement efforts with the #NPVote hashtag.  Details can be found on their election resources page, along with other election news and nonprofit engagement strategy efforts.

The Canadian Arts Coalition has launched an effort to encourage and assist arts service organizations in getting involved in the federal election.

The Canadian Bar Association has released its Election Engagement Kit, focused on the issue of access to justice.

 NEW  The Canadian Child Care Federation has released an elections toolkit entitled “Child Care and Election 2015”, which outlines the federal party policy commitments for child care, children and families. Included in this document are questions, stats, facts and figures about child care policy for local candidates.

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation has released an election toolkit as part of their We Can Do Better 2015 initiative.

The Canadian Diabetes Association is encouraging involvement in the election campaign with information on the role of government in related policy, practical details about candidate campaigns, and a guide on how to advocate effectively.

Community Development Halton has released Canada Votes 2015, a tool to help spark dialogue about social issues in Canada.

The Council of Churches, a group composed of several Canadian ecumenical organizations, has published a 2015 Federal Election Resource.

 NEW  The Democracy Education Network is promoting a new initiative this campaign to get out the vote.  VoteParty.ca encourages Canadians to take a non-voter on a #votedate to the polls, and at VotePromise.ca individuals can pledge to voteOctober 19 and receive key voter information via reminder emails.

Ducks Unlimited Canada is encouraging Canadians to raise wetlands conservation as an important issue with their federal candidates through the use of their engagement tool

In support of the creation of a national food policy, community meals, or ‘meals with a message’, are being hosted at various locations across the country by a coalition of farmers, community food organizations, and health advocates.  A list of confirmed events for this Eat Think Vote campaign can be viewed here.

 NEW  The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities (FCFA) of Canada has launched an elections microsite to inform voters of party positions on the Francophonie and official languages. It also provides tips advocacy strategies for those wishing to engage candidates on these matters.  

 NEW  The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) is providing members and supporters with a list of policy files to consider as part of the campaign. A number of these files pertain to environmental concerns including toxic substances, nuclear waste storage, and Canada’s Experimental Lakes Area. FOCA is also featuring an open letter to federal party leaders, posing questions related to environmental sustainability policy. 

Food Banks Canada has released an Election Toolkit for food banks and those they serve to engage on related policy matters throughout the campaign. 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has introduced Healthy Candidates, a platform that encourages Canadians to challenge the candidates in their riding to be a Healthy Candidate.

 NEW  The Manitoba Child Care Association is using their website news blog as a platform for civic engagement for the Manitoba Child Care Community this election. It is continually updated with sample questions for candidates, links to news stories, and voting information.

 NEW  MS Society of Canada has launched a campaign called Vote to #endMS! to engage members and volunteers in calling on candidates to have their parties commit to support people living with MS through accelerated research on treatment and by ensuring individuals’ access to jobs. 

The Ontario Nonprofit Network and Samara launched Nonprofits Step Up, a new resource for engagement (for nonprofits not registered as charities) that includes sample tweets, an infographic, and blog.

Samara Canada has produced a blog providing information for nonprofits (that are not registered charities) about engagement in the election campaign. Samara has also produced the Vote PopUp kit to help community groups encourage participation by new or infrequent voters.

 NEW  Sport Matters highlights a number of advocacy tools and policy resources on their Federal Election 2015 site.  Among these are candidate listings (including those with a background in sports), sample letters, and position papers.  

Social Planning Toronto has produced a series of backgrounders on specific issues to promote voter awareness.

Early childhood

The Canadian Child Care Federation has released an elections toolkit entitled “Child Care and Election 2015”, which outlines the federal party policy commitments for child care, children and families. Included in this document are questions, stats, facts and figures about child care policy for local candidates.

The Canadian Child Care Federation has released a set of three posters regarding the need for affordable, quality child care for Canadian children and families. All documents and information are available on the CCCF website.

The Early Child Development Funders Working Group (ECD-FWG) urges parties to invest in early childhood education.

 NEW  The Manitoba Child Care Association is using their website news blog as a platform for civic engagement for the Manitoba Child Care Community this election. It is continually updated with sample questions for candidates, links to news stories, and voting information.

 NEW  Generation Squeeze, an organization focussed on the unique needs of Generation Y, has released a guide that conveys what federal party leaders say about issues that include day care, family support, medical care, and pensions. This guide is updated on an ongoing basis. 

Food security

Canadian Foodgrains Bank has created Be Heard, an election resource for voters concerned with ending global hunger. This initiative invites people to find out where candidates and parties stand on two key issues: increasing commitment to effective international aid and increasing support for small-scale farmers. This organization also released From Hope to Harvest, a resource for church groups to aid them in their advocacy efforts.

Food Banks Canada has released an Election Toolkit for food banks and those they serve to engage on related policy matters throughout the campaign.

Food Secure Canada has launched the Eat Think Vote campaign, promoting food security policies and encouraging voter involvement.

In support of the creation of a national food policy, community meals, or ‘meals with a message’, are being hosted at various locations across the country by a coalition of farmers, community food organizations, and health advocates.  A list of confirmed events for this Eat Think Vote campaign can be viewed here.

Health

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is encouraging the supporters of the creation of a national dementia strategy to pledge their support for this cause during the election. This organization also provides a 2015 advocacy toolkit on their website, providing tips on how to engage effectively during an election.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has asked all federal candidates to support the development of a national dementia strategy. 

The Canadian Association of Community Health Centres has challenged all parties to commit to a number of policies related to health and healthcare.

The Canadian Cancer Society introduced a set of recommendations in their Federal Election 2015 Wake-Up Call, which would impact upon tobacco regulation, health research, and palliative care.

The Canadian Diabetes Association has urged all parties to commit to take action on diabetes with three policy priorities, including a national pharmacare program.

The Canadian Diabetes Association is encouraging involvement in the election campaign with information on the role of government in related policy, practical details about candidate campaigns, and a guide on how to advocate effectively.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is asking federal election candidates for commitments on issues that are critical to the health and well-being of people living with inflammatory bowel disease. Key issues include calling for an increase in washroom access and establishing a national pharmacare program. With the help of supporters across the country, people can participate by sending letters to their candidates, attending the online advocacy webinar and/or by reading open letters sent to political parties and reviewing the responses received.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has introduced Healthy Candidates, a platform that encourages Canadians to challenge the candidates in their riding to be a Healthy Candidate.

Multiple Sclerosis Society has initiated a letter writing campaign for supporters to connect with candidates on the need for research funding and support of those living with MS.

MS Society of Canada has launched a campaign called Vote to #endMS! to engage members and volunteers in calling on candidates to have their parties commit to support people living with MS through accelerated research on treatment and by ensuring individuals’ access to jobs. 

 NEW  Through the Right by You campaign, Partners for Mental Health is rallying Canadians to call on parties to prioritize policies related to youth mental health and suicide prevention. Their resources include a key takeaway sheet, and a set of targeted questions to pose to candidates.

Human rights

In partnership with Elections Canada, ABC Life Literacy Canada has created a resource for literacy practitioners, entitled A Guide to Voting: A Literacy Practitioner Workbook for Voting in the 2015 Federal Election.  

Barrier-Free Canada has released an Election Action Kit, a resource intended to promote civic engagement around disability rights.

Barrier-Free Canada, along with the support of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, March of Dimes, Canadian Hearing Society, Accessible Media Inc., and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, identified a set of principles in promoting legislation for federal protection of persons with disabilities. 

The Canadian Bar Association has released its Election Engagement Kit, focused on the issue of access to justice.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network has published the party responses to the organization’s questionnaire on policy related to HIV/AIDS and human rights.

FIRST - Decriminalize Sex Work and Pivot Legal Society have compiled a draft letter for federal candidates this election, with key talking points on the topic of sex workers’ rights.

 

International development

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation is spearheading the We Can Do Better campaign promoting policies related to foreign affairs and international development.

Sector-wide policy

Imagine Canada’s Charities Day on the Hill coalition released Stronger Together: Forging a New Relationship between Canada’s Charities and the Federal Government, inviting party platforms to address cross-cutting sector issues through a host of policy commitments.

Protecting Canadian Charities, a group of charitable and non-profit organizations, released a report that documents federal party positions on regulatory issues facing charities. 

 NEW  The Rural Ontario Institute has provided the results of a survey meant to identify policy issues of priority to respondents as members of rural communities in the province. This site also offers a list of 10 questions based on the survey results, to be posed to candidates at local debates and events during the campaign. 

Women

The Up For Debate campaign has been launched by 175 organizations, challenging all parties to adopt policies relating to violence against women, women’s economic inequality, and leadership by women.

 NEW  YWCA Canada’s election strategy includes an election toolkit and the Think Big! Go Vote set of youth engagement tools. This charity has also advocated for a Day of Action to End Homelessness for Women and Girls via social media.  Find them on Twitter: @YWCA_Canada 

Youth employment

Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada has developed a youth-focused election platform, with policy focus on youth engagement, mental health and youth employment.  

Election updates

The majority of major parties have released their electoral platforms, listed here:
 
Conservative Party
Green Party
Liberal Party
NDP
Strength in Democracy/Forces et Démocratie

October 12

The Green Party committed to expanding Medicare to include dental coverage for all low-income youth.

October 9

The Conservative Party released their complete electoral platform. This document contains several references to issues relevant to a number of charitable subsectors. 

The NDP released their full electoral platform. The platform contains references to several charitable subsectors.

October 8

The Liberal Party announced support for efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault. This strategy includes a review of gender- and culturally-sensitive training policies for federal law enforcement; an increase in investments toward the growth of shelter networks and transition houses; and an amendment to the criminal code to reclassify intimate partner violence.

October 5

The Liberal Party unveiled its platform. It compiles previous announcements, and mentions charities directly in committing to clarifying the regulations governing advocacy. 

The Green Party pledged several actions related to water protection. These include the reversal of changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the creation of a National Water Policy, investment in basic infrastructure for drinking water in First Nations communities, and the support of international efforts for the human right to water for drinking and sanitation.   

October 4

The Green Party unveiled a plan to support arts and culture. This plan includes funding for Canada Council for the Arts and the creation of an arms-length committee tasked with appointing members to the boards of cultural institutions in order to prevent political interference.

October 3

The Conservative Party committed to renewed funding for Brain Canada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to neurological research.  

October 2

Strength in Democracy/Forces et Démocratie announced the release of the party’s social platform. The platform contains a section targeted at strengthening the non-profit and charitable sector, with a focus on advocacy limits, access to data, and the need to undertake a broad study on best practices. 

The second French language leadership debate took place on this date in Montréal, with Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Tom Mulcair in attendance. A recording of the debate is available via CPAC, with option for simultaneous translation in English. 

October 1

The Conservative Party committed to re-introducing the Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act if they form government.  This may be of interest to those who have followed the long-standing advocacy efforts of some nonprofit organizations on impaired driving prevention.

The NDP unveiled the party plan for post-secondary education. This includes a targeted investment of $250 million in new federal loans grants over four years, eliminating interest on student loans, and a commitment to work with the provinces and territories to make post-secondary education more affordable.

The NDP announced a proposal to invest in sustainable development projects as part of an approach to combat climate change. The plan would see investments in the renewable energy sector, as well as investments in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund. 

September 30

The Bloc Québécois announced proposed price fixing and reductions in the cost of prescription medicines.

The Liberal Party announced a plan to invest in health care and home care that would include the negotiation of a new Health Accord and new funding agreement. The plan also commits to an investment of $3 billion into home care, and would also seek to improve access to prescription mediations.  

The NDP announced they would reinstate the long-form census as part of their investment in research. As part of this plan, they would also invest $105 million in post-secondary scientific research. 

September 29 

The Green Party reiterated support for the development of a National Seniors Strategy, which would include a guaranteed liveable income, a National Dementia Strategy, and a plan for pharmacare.

The Liberal Party announced a reconciliation plan for the Métis Nation. This proposal includes a coordinated review of existing federal programs and services offered to Métis communities, and a following through of the Kelowna Accord’s commitment to improve existing scholarships and bursaries offered to Métis students.

The NDP proposed the launch of a National Action Plan to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and stated they would introduce a Canadians with Disabilities Act.

The NDP announced they would make amendments to Nutrition North, in order to improve access to food for northern communities and support local solutions for food security. 

September 28

The NDP stated they would begin the process to reinstating funds to Canada’s Official Development Assistance budget, and work towards increasing this to 0.7% of Canada’s gross national income. The party also identified the proposed international development priorities of poverty reduction and women’s equality.

The Green Party made an announcement regarding their plan for First Nations, which includes a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, ad the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations. This plan would also provide support for communities living with the environmental impact of the oil sands. 

September 27

The Liberal Party unveiled their costed fiscal plan.

September 25

Tthe Liberal Party announced that as part of their plan for immigration, they would increase the number of applications permitted for family member applicants as well as speed up processing times. 

September 24

The September 24 French language leaders’ debate is available for on-demand viewing on CPAC’s digital archive page. It can be watched in the original French, or with simultaneous translation into English. 

Maclean’s has also released a French transcript of the event. 

September 23

The Bloc Québécois released their financial framework for the 2016-2019 period, which includes a focus on employment insurance and spending on green infrastructure. 

September 22

The Liberal Party stated that if elected they would double investment to the Canada Council for the Arts, from its current funding levels of $180 million to $360 million.

The NDP revealed that under their plan for employment insurance the party would create upwards of 90,000 training and work transition opportunities, and expand parental benefits.

September 20

The Green Party made an announcement regarding their National Pharmacare Plan, which would provide universal access to certain medicines. 

The Conservative Party announced that if re-elected, the party would match donations to the Terry Fox Foundation, up to a maximum of $35 million.  Additionally, they would provide $12.5 million in funding toward the establishment of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Centre in Vancouver.

September 18

The Green Party committed to a plan intended to protect and conserve national parks. This includes the safeguarding of critical habitats including those of endangered species, the implementation of recommendations of conservation scientists, and the fulfillment of Canada’s international biodiversity commitments.

The NDP announced they would invest $2.6 billion over four years in universal access to prescription drug coverage.

The Conservative Party announced plans to fund Child Advocacy Centres and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres, including assistance to support the provision of Centre services to rural communities. These plans also include funds for research into the impact of crime on victims

September 17

This election campaign’s second leadership debate included leaders of the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, and the NDP. The debate focused on the economy, and leaders addressed a number of wide-ranging issues, some of relevance to the charitable sector. A transcript of the debate can be found here.

During the debate, a group of caregivers and organizations together as part of the Mobilizing Action: Family Caregivers in Canada team, took to Twitter to spread the word about family caregivers’ contributions to the Canadian economy. The tweets can be tracked using the #homeishealth hashtag.

Following the debate, the David Suzuki Foundation highlighted several issues that were raised, and encouraged Canadians to write letters to their local papers with the use of their online tool.  

The Bloc Québécois announced support for improvement to employment insurance.

The NDP made a statement that the party would prioritize affordable housing though building 10,000 units and strengthening social housing.

September 16

The NDP released their campaign platform. This document contains several references to issues relevant to a number of charitable subsectors. 

The Green Party released a statement on the party’s Youth and Education Strategy. Through this, the party would seek to eliminate existing of incurred student federal debt over $10,000, as well as abolish tuition fees for lower income students and families.

September 15

The NDP proposed the creation of a Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth. This $100 million fund would concentrate on improved care and the reduction of wait times for patients seeking support or treatment. 

September 14

The NDP announced an intended $40 million investment in Alzheimer’s and dementia screening, diagnosis, support and research.

The NDP unveiled a plan to invest $300 million in the building of 200 clinics across the country, and assist provinces in hiring over 7,000 health care professionals. 

September 13

The NDP announced plans to support an additional 41,000 seniors through expanded home care support 

September 12

The Green Party revealed a LGBTQ + Strategy. This would introduce legislation for transgender rights and augment health services for transgendered patients, invest in HIV/AIDS education and prevention services, and support public education measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

September 11

The Liberal Party announced a commitment of $1.5 billion towards youth employment, with funds allocated towards jobs in the environment sector and community building projects.

September 10

The Liberal Party introduced proposed measures to protect Canada’s oceans and marine and coastal habitats.

The NDP announced a plan for youth employment with a focus on intern protections and job growth. Working in partnership with NGO as well as private sector organizations, the approach would enable the creation of over 40,000 jobs, paid internships and co-op placements.

September 9

The Liberal Party outlined a number of components of a National Housing Strategy, meant to improve upon and expand the availability of affordable housing for middle- and low-income Canadians.

The Green Party produced their election platform, which includes a focus on policies related to climate change, criminal justice reform, and changes to immigration and refugee systems.

The Conservative Party announced a reduction in payroll taxes for employees and businesses.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois expressed opposition to the development of community mailboxes in the province, announcing the party would seek to reinstate Canada Post’s door-to-door mail delivery service.

September 8

The Conservative Party proposed to double the annual matching grants provided to families through Registered Education Savings Plans.

The Liberal Party unveiled proposed changes to employment insurance intended to reduce wait times as well as payroll costs for employers and employees.

September 7

The Conservative Party announced an expansion to the Registered Disability Savings Plan through an increase in the maximum annual Canada Disability Savings Grant, and a wider range of investment options for RDSP holders.

September 6

The Conservative Party proposed the introduction of an endowment incentive fund to assist local museums. The fund would see individual donor dollars matched by the federal government.

September 4

The Conservative Party announced measures to support conservation efforts, including the creation of a Wildlife Conservation and Enhancement Program.

The Conservative party indicated plans to reduce wait times and improve processing procedures for refugees seeking entry into Canada.

September 3

The NDP revealed a plan related to pensions and retirement security. 

The Green Party released a statement on the Syrian refugee crisis, proposing a commitment of resettling 25,000 refugees.

The NDP put forth a plan for the current Syrian refugee crisis, including bringing 10,000 refugees to Canada, the appointment of a Syrian Refugee Coordinator, and the fast tracking of private sponsorship.

The leader of the Bloc Québécois called on government to immediately receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees.

September 2

The NDP announced a proposed investment of $28 million to  support physical activity for low income and disadvantaged youth.

The Liberal Party committed to receiving 25,000 refugees in addition to those already settled under the current government.

August 31

The NDP put forward an action plan to end violence against women that includes creating more shelter spaces, calling an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, and investing in affordable housing programs. 

August 27

The Liberal Party announced an infrastructure strategy that would see investments in public transit and transportation, affordable housing, and assistance to communities in adapting to effects of climate change.

August 26

The Conservative Party announced intentions to expand rural access to high-speed broadband internet, with a funding allotment of $200 million.

August 25

The Green Party unveiled a plan to invest in social and affordable housing. This plan includes a National Housing Strategy, a guaranteed liveable income, and investments in social housing for First Nations.

August 24

The NDP put forth a plan to assist 200,000 seniors living in poverty. This plan, part of a national seniors’ strategy, would include consultations and a funding increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

August 23

The Conservative Party announced plans for a tax relief measure for service club members of 15 to 29 per cent Charitable Tax Credit value.

August 20

The Liberal Party announced they would invest in availability of EI Compassionate Care Benefits to citizens providing care to ill family members.

August 19

The Conservative Party unveiled planned consultations on red tape reduction for businesses. This is potentially of interest to organizations involved in earned income activities.

The Liberal Party put forth proposals regarding EI and parental leave. This would impact upon sector organizations as employers.

August 18

The NDP announced the party would strengthen federal-provincial Disaster Financial Assistance Agreements. This is of potential interest to organizations mandated with providing relief in disaster situations.

The Green Party announced a host of policy positions that would see the strengthening of environmental laws, bring environmental protection into the Constitution, and ensure the RCMP hear concerns of those seeking action on climate change.

August 13

The Liberal Party proposed policies relating to First Nation’s education, indigenous students’ postsecondary education funding, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and child and family services. These proposals will be of interest to organizations working with Aboriginal peoples, as well as those involved in education, postsecondary education, victims’ rights, and child welfare.

August 11

The Conservative Party proposed new measures relating to the National Anti-Drug Strategy, including a 10-year renewal of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s mandate. This will be of interest to organizations working in the areas of addiction, mental health, and public health, among others.

August 9

The Conservative Party proposed new measures to criminalize travel to designated areas where listed terrorist entities are engaged in hostile activities, recruitment, or training. Details on how such areas will be designated are not available, but the party notes that providing humanitarian assistance may be a legitimate activity that is exempt from restrictions. Organizations working internationally may be particularly interested in seeking more details.

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