Imagine Canada, the national umbrella for the charitable and nonprofit sector, is encouraged by a number of commitments made by the federal government in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement.
The Minister of Finance has announced the creation of a permanent Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector. The Advisory Committee will include stakeholders from the sector and provide advice to the government on important issues facing the sector, including administrative and legislative reforms.
“The Advisory Committee can be a significant step forward on recommendations that have been made by Imagine Canada, the Consultation Panel on charities’ political activities, the Social Innovation and Social Finance Steering Group, and others,” said Bruce MacDonald, Imagine Canada President & CEO. “We have been calling for a ‘home in government,’ that is, a place where we can discuss and identify solutions to issues facing the sector as a whole. We have also been calling for a process to discuss much-needed legal and regulatory modernization for the sector. We look forward to working with the federal government to demonstrate that the Advisory Committee can be a first step towards achieving broader goals.”
The Fall Economic Statement also included a commitment of up to $755 million over the next ten years to establish a Social Finance Fund, and $50 million over the next two years for an Investment and Readiness stream aimed at building capacity in organizations wanting to explore social finance opportunities. The Economic Statement specifically cited the role of charities and nonprofits in social innovation, and the intent for them to benefit from the Social Finance Fund. These measures respond to recommendations made by the SISF Steering Group.
“We face a significant social deficit over the next decade– that is, the difference between the anticipated demand for charities’ and nonprofits’ services and the resources available to them through traditional funding mechanisms,” said MacDonald. “To the extent the Social Finance Fund helps organizations to avail themselves of new sources of revenue, it represents part of the solution. We hope to work closely with the government and with experts in the social finance realm as the details of the Fund are developed in the coming months.”
The Economic Statement also committed the federal government to exploring action on other recommendations made by the Steering Group. Among these recommendations are legal and regulatory reform to remove barriers that charities and nonprofits face in diversifying their income-generating activities, comprehensive economic data about the social purpose sector, and reform to how federal grant and contribution programs are administered.
The Fall Economic Statement also proposes a new Qualified Donee status for certain nonprofit media organizations. Details on how this will work are to follow in 2019.
“We’ll be closely following developments related to the government’s proposals on nonprofit media organizations,” added MacDonald. “We understand there is no intent to change the definition of charity, and that eligible media organizations won’t be regulated in the same way as registered charities. We look forward to working with the federal government to ensure that there are no unintended consequences, particularly for charities that might want to work with or support nonprofit media organizations in their communities.”
About Imagine Canada
Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and nonprofits. Our three broad goals are to strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.
For further information:
Coordinator, Public Policy
416-597-2293, ext. 331