A strong nonprofit sector helps communities thrive. Together with the sector, we advance federal public policy so that organizations are supported in achieving their missions.
Learn what nonprofit sector policy priorities we asked the government to take action on in 2023.
This new report demonstrates what the sector has long known but not had the data to prove: our workforce is incredibly diverse but undervalued. 77% of nonprofit workers are women, 47% immigrants and 35% Indigenous and racialized people. To improve conditions for the nonprofit sector’s diverse workforce, we need immediate action from funders, governments, and nonprofit leaders.
Charities and nonprofits have no federal entity responsible for the sector’s wellbeing or addressing systemic issues that impact it, despite being one of the three pillars of the Canadian economy.
The federal government frequently relies on the sector to deliver crucial programs and services but very rarely allows nonprofits to use its funding to cover essential core costs.
Nonprofits are playing a crucial role during the COVID-19 crisis, but many are facing financial losses and increased demand. They need support so they can continue to provide key programs and services.
Many charities and nonprofits engage in business activities in support of their missions, also known as social enterprise activity. However, they face barriers in pursuing these activities that for-profits do not.
Rules aimed at protecting public and charitable funds make it difficult for charities to partner with non-charities, resulting in equity-seeking communities having less access to these funds.
A lack of economic, organizational and employment data on the nonprofit sector means that public policy, funding and organizational decision making is done without basic information.
Registered charities are required to spend a certain percentage of their assets on charitable programs or on grants to other charities annually. This quota mainly impacts foundations.
A more digitally enabled nonprofit and charitable sector will result in greater efficiency, communication and collaboration. To adequately serve the needs of society, the digital capacity of the sector must be enhanced.
How we work
The charitable and nonprofit sector is incredibly vast and diverse, with a huge policy agenda to match. In order to represent the interests of the entire sector and advance solutions, we work in collaboration with a wide variety of partners and networks. This helps us create a bigger impact and to ensure that a wide range of diverse perspectives inform our public policy priorities and approaches. Below is a sample of some of the groups that collaborate with us:
- The Canadian Federation of Voluntary Sector Networks is a group of regional sector networks that comes together on a regular basis to discuss issues of shared interest.
- The Equitable Recovery Collective formed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the nonprofit sector and the communities it serves. The Collective aims to advance an equitable recovery and a strong nonprofit sector.
- The Federal Data Working Group is a group with members from more than 20 organizations working together to improve federally collected and held data about the nonprofit sector.
- The Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Digital Resilience is working towards a digitally-enabled nonprofit sector, where Canada’s nonprofits use data and tech to advance their mission and multiply their impact.
- The People-Centred Economy Group brings together community economic development, co-operative, social economy, and nonprofit representative bodies to advance inclusive economies and strong communities.
- The Solidarity in the Social Economy Working Group works in solidarity to confront and mitigate apathy towards inclusion, diversity, equity and access in the social finance, social economy, co-operative and community economic development movements.
- Report: Working Better Together. In 2021/22, Imagine Canada commissioned consultant Yves Savoie to investigate the potential of building a national policy network.
Parliamentary committee studies and government consultations are a great way for nonprofits to get involved in policy and legislation, raise awareness about issues, and connect with MPs.
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