Imagine Canada

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So there’s a federal election going on… why should we care?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Public Policy
Public Policy
Psst...there's an election going on

You’ve probably already heard this, but there’s a federal election coming up on October 19. Maybe you’ve been focused on getting the kids back to school or recovering from your holidays to really be thinking about politics. I know I am!

For most of you, provincial and municipal politics is really where it’s at. Those are the folks providing funding and making most of the social policy decisions that affect your communities.

But the federal election really does matter to us as charities and nonprofits. Here’s why:

Do you count on donations for some of your revenue?

If you do, the federal government matters. Federal tax incentives can have a huge impact on how many people donate, and how much they give. Any proposals to change those tax credits – to restrict them or to make them more generous – will have an impact on your bottom line. So far, none of the parties have taken a stand on charitable donation incentives – which gives you a lot of leeway to press your local candidates and educate them on the issue.

Do you want to increase your earned income through new business activities or forms of financing?

If yes, you’d better be paying attention to federal politics. Through the Income Tax Act and other regulations, the federal government decides what you can or cannot do without jeopardizing your charitable or nonprofit status.

Are provincial funding decisions affecting you or your clients?

Federal transfers account for a varying but significant portion of provincial government revenues across Canada. The next federal government’s decisions on transfer payments are going to trickle down to you on the front line.

Do you want to do more advocacy work?

The federal government regulates the type and amount of advocacy that charities can do – even if you never deal with federal issues!

Are you interested in poverty, social justice, the environment, and other major issues?

While we don’t always see it day to day, the federal government has a huge impact on the people and communities we serve. We’re already seeing parties compete over who is proposing the most to help families with children. Federal policies on tax levels, environmental regulation, overseas development, Employment Insurance, parental leave, regional and economic development, and transfers payments – among others – all make a real difference to our work.

Do you want to improve politicians’ and the public’s understanding of the role we play in communities?

Don’t forget, the long campaign means lots of opportunities to pin down candidates. Ask them what they know about the sector, what they know about your issues – and take the time to educate them about what we do. Charities have a lot to say and this election is a not-to-miss opportunity for our voices to be heard.

Your role in a charity or nonprofit won’t be the only thing you think of over the next few weeks, nor should it. But don’t think the federal election won’t have an impact on your organization or your cause. Whoever forms the next government, we will all be affected and we should stay informed about the policies proposed by each federal party.

Imagine Canada is keeping track of federal election issues through the lens of charities and nonprofits and the issues affecting your causes. Follow our Election Hub to stay up-to-date. And, if you are an Imagine Canada member you can subscribe to our Early Alert: Election Edition.

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