Imagine Canada’s Priorities for Budget 2022
Pre-budget consultations are an important opportunity for organizations and individuals to weigh in on what they would like to see in the upcoming federal budget. As we appear to be entering the recovery phase of the COVID-19 crisis and begin to chart the future for the country, it is important that the nonprofit sector’s voice is heard.
Our sector has risen to the immense challenge of delivering to communities on basic needs and maintaining quality of life during the most severe health and economic crisis in generations. Organizations adapted their services to reach existing and new clients; reconfigured revenue models, staff structures and program design to sustain operations; and in many cases worked harder and for longer hours under tighter constraints. Unfortunately, much of the sector continues to face rising demand despite insufficient capacity and what are often steep revenue declines. Many nonprofits and charities are sacrificing their own long-term sustainability in order to deliver on their missions.
We have put forth recommendations for Budget 2022 that will help propel the nonprofit sector’s potential as a key player in ensuring an equitable recovery. Our recommendations fall within three themes:
- Enabling a more equitable funding environment: The majority of the nonprofit and charitable sector has faced financial challenges throughout the pandemic, but our research shows that organizations serving small regions or specific populations are facing the steepest challenges to adapting. In addition, long standing rules have hindered the flow of charitable dollars to meet emerging needs, Indigenous communities, and other equity seeking groups. Expanding the Community Service Recovery Fund and changing “direction and control” requirements would create a more equitable funding environment and help preserve the diversity of our sector.
- Strengthening organizational capacity through innovation and adaptation: Nonprofits and charities have gone to incredible lengths to innovate and adapt in order to continue pursuing their missions during the pandemic. At the same time, many lack the ability to make the technological investments required to bridge to sustainability. Expanding eligibility of the Canada Digital Adoption Program to nonprofits and charities will support adaptation through the recovery period. Investing in the collection of nonprofit sector data will help the government understand organizations’ continued capacity strengths and challenges across the “K” shaped recovery.
- Strengthening the government’s relationship with the nonprofit sector: Our sector’s relationship with the federal government has never been more important, yet the weak nature of this relationship has never been more evident. The Government of Canada frequently relies on the nonprofit sector to deliver on priorities with programs and services, but does not currently engage strategically with its infrastructure and capacity. The creation of a national early learning and childcare system is a step toward reversing this trend by investing exclusively in nonprofit child care. The creation of a home in government would put nonprofits and charities on equal footing with other economic sectors.