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Imagine Canada

Strong Charities. Strong Communities.

Charities heating up Federal Election despite ongoing Chill

Monday, October 5, 2015

A brief released today by Imagine Canada shows that despite the recent advocacy ‘chill’, charitable and nonprofit organizations are actively engaging in the current federal election campaign. Charity Impact Brief: Federal Election 2015 illustrates that despite concerns over political activity audits, charities and nonprofits are speaking up on ideas that are critical to Canada’s social good.

“This federal election is a wonderful time for charities and nonprofits to not only remind voters, candidates and political parties about the transformative impact of their work, but is an opportunity to have important issues which contribute to the improvement of Canadian communities become part of the election conversation,” says Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO of Imagine Canada. “We encourage charities to be courageous in respectfully challenging candidates to address these issues and we invite Canadians to think about social good and community impact as a lens when casting their vote on October 19.”

Charity Impact Brief: Federal Election 2015 Key Takeaways

  • Charities and nonprofits are challenging political parties to address a wide range of issues impacting almost every aspect of Canadian life.
  • These organizations play a key role by providing information to parties and voters alike and encouraging people to vote.
  • To date, not all of the major parties have issued comprehensive platform documents, however parties are discussing ideas that are relevant to charities and nonprofits, largely on specific social and economic issues.
  • Thinking about charitable and nonprofit organizations collectively as “a sector” and economic driver has not matured in the minds of politicians, their parties and Canadians. Indeed, there is limited discussion about the policies that affect these organizations as employers, service deliverers, or key contributors to the economy. Serious discussions about Canada’s economy and workforce require a change to this mindset.
  • While nonprofits have fewer limitations on their activities, registered charities must follow the rules set forth by the Canada Revenue Agency. However, within these limits, they can and are encouraged to engage in public policy activities and advocacy. We strongly believe that public policy is better when the charitable and nonprofit sector is at the table.

Move past the chill

The chill refers to the hesitancy among charities to engage in public policy and advocacy in the wake of a small number of well-publicized audits of such efforts. The history of engagement between charities and the federal government is significant and powerful for our communities. We applaud the charities that are heating up this election and encourage other organizations to move past the chill to voice their own policy suggestions.

Download and read the Charity Impact Brief

Available through Imagine Canada’s Election Hub at imaginecanada.ca/election-2015

A Charitable Sector Federal Platform Proposal

We invite party platforms to recognize the important role of the charitable and nonprofit sector and address the cross-cutting issues that affect this important sector as a whole. Stronger Together: Forging a New Relationship between Canada’s Charities and the Federal Government (PDF download: imaginecanada.ca/sites/default/files/hillday_sectorplatform-en_06122015.pdf)

Additional Insights from the Chief Economist

“The charitable sector broadly defined accounts for about 13% of the total workforce in Canada and about 8.1 % of gross domestic product… The charitable sector is jobs and growth and value in action.” –  Brian Emmett, Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector, Charities, the economy and the 2015 federal election (imaginecanada.ca/blog/charities-economy-and-2015-federal-election)

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Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities. 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.

imaginecanada.ca | Twitter: @ImagineCanada | Facebook: facebook.com/ImagineCanada


For further information:

Marnie Grona [English Media]
Director, Marketing & Communications
416-597-2293, ext. 244

Nicole Mitchell [médias francophones]
416-597-2293, ext. 305

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