Charities’ Engagement in Public Policy
Charities have a long and proud tradition of involvement in public policy which some have recently called into question.
In response, a number of organizations have darkened their websites today (June 4, 2012) to raise awareness. Working on the front lines, charities know the impact of policies on people and communities. They also give voice to those otherwise unheard. The country and world would be poorer without their unique perspectives.
Additional Information and Resources:
On June 4, a number of prominent environmental charities are spearheading a BlackOutSpeakOut campaign. For more information on the campaign, please visit blackoutspeakout.ca.
Canada Revenue Agency
CRA’s Policy Statement on political activities by charities does an excellent job summarizing the rationale for charities to be involved in the policy process:
"Through their dedicated delivery of essential programs, many charities have acquired a wealth of knowledge about how government policies affect people's lives. Charities are well placed to study, assess, and comment on those government policies. Canadians benefit from the efforts of charities and the practical, innovative ways they use to resolve complex issues related to delivering social services. Beyond service delivery, their expertise is also a vital source of information for governments to help guide policy decisions. It is therefore essential that charities continue to offer their direct knowledge of social issues to public policy debates."
The policy provides definitions of what constitutes political activity and addresses a variety of questions that you may have regarding oversight of these activities.
Imagine Canada Resources
In promoting and protecting the sector’s right to engage in public policy, we have produced and made use of a number of resources.
We worked with a number of our partners, in particular the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers' Network, to produce a Q&A document on foreign funding and advocacy activity. We’d also like to point to Advocacy Rules for Charities, a piece produced by the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.
Did you know that there are 161,000 nonprofilts and charities in Canada?
Did you know that Canada’s nonprofit and voluntary sector is the 2nd largest in the world?
The sector represents $79.1 billion or 7.8% of the gross domestic product
The sector is larger than automotive and manufacturing. It generates $112 billion in revenues and employs 2 million people
Canadians donated $10 billion in 2007
Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick have the highest donor rates.
Canadians volunteered 2.1 billion hours in 2007
Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 are more likely to volunteer than Canadians in any other age group
One percent of nonprofits command 60% of all revenues flowing to the sector
Canadians with the lowest household incomes give a greater percentage of their income than others
Saskatchewan has the highest volunteer rate in the country, followed by the Northwest Territories and the Yukon
Those exposed to giving and volunteering activities early in life are more likely to continue those behaviours as adults