Leading organizations call for federal government to invest in capital and capacity solutions
“Investment into the ecosystem of organizations that build capacity and skills will bolster Canada’s inclusive recovery, support economic development in communities across the country, and unlock the potential of thousands of organizations that work to put people and the planet first. This will provide a strong recovery that builds back to a better Canada with a vibrant, inclusive and just economy.” – Adam Spence, CEO and Co-Founder, SVX
Community capital and capacity organizations across the country, including the Centre for Social Innovation, are issuing a public call to action for the federal government to invest in capacity and capital solutions that lead Canada to a path of economic recovery that is inclusive, regenerative, and prosperous for all.
Over the past three months, Canadian organizations that provide vital support and capital to strengthen social purpose organizations have united to rally around a Community Call to Action to address gaps in the collective response to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. Three priority action areas were identified addressing the need for capacity, capital, and systems infrastructure to provide both short-term emergency relief and advance long-term recovery and regeneration. Following a bottom up community development process, the collaborators have developed detailed recommendations regarding the first two priority areas, including capital and capacity solutions. A comprehensive set of recommendations on community capital institution infrastructure will be brought forward in the months ahead.
Two specific actions have been identified for the federal government:
- Investing an additional $150 million over the next two years into ESDC’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP) supporting capacity and skill-building organizations and social purpose organizations; and
- Accelerating the deployment of the Social Finance Fund to move $400 million over the next two years to capitalize indigenous funds, as well as current and emerging national and place-based funds.
These recommendations recognize the role the federal government has in accelerating nation-to-nation dialogue with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit governments to identify investment priorities for their communities as part of a strong and inclusive recovery. It is also recognized that these investments must take an intersectional lens to the needs of the most vulnerable Canadians, and that they can help collectively advance gender-based and racialized equity. Moreover, the second recommendation represents a key component of a unified national proposal of the National Impact Investment Practitioners Table (NIIPT) and CAP Finance to accelerate the deployment of the Social Finance Fund.
The recommendations would seek to:
- help 10,000 social purpose organizations (SPOs) adapt to the crisis;
- maintain and create 10,000 jobs, particularly targeting women, newcomer Canadians, youth, and Black and Indigenous and other people of colour;
- mobilize $800 million in capital for social enterprises and organizations across Canada through existing and new impact investing funds;
- create a resilient and effective community of 100 existing and new intermediary organizations building capacity and providing capital to SPOs across Canada; and
- tackle pressing social, economic and environmental challenges at a local level including food security and food sovereignty, health and wellness, climate change, and inequality, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Social purpose organizations (SPOs) include any for-profit, non-profit or charitable organization that seeks to advance a social, cultural or environmental mission. Examples of SPOs range from nonprofit affordable housing providers to community power co-operatives to for-profit sustainable food delivery businesses. There are an estimated 10,000 social enterprises in Ontario and 25,000 across the country. The social economy in Québec represents more than 7,000 organizations which generate approximately $40 billion in revenue and account for 215,000 jobs. There are an estimated 170,000 charities and non-profits in Canada that employ two million people and contribute over eight (8) percent to Canada’s GDP, which have been natural adopters of social innovation and social finance practices.In Canada, there are over $14 billion in assets dedicated to companies, organizations, and funds seeking to generate positive social and/or environmental impact alongside financial return.
“Canada is stronger in every sense for the work of these social innovators and entrepreneurs. Like technological and business innovation, social innovations thrive in environments where a rich ecosystem of entrepreneurs and specialized supports drive innovations through each developmental stage. These organizations can and must play a role in creating the Next Economy, one that is regenerative, low carbon, inclusive, equitable, and prosperous for all.” –Tonya Surman, CEO, Centre for Social Innovation (CSI)
In June, a full letter and backgrounder was prepared and submitted to federal government representatives, and partners are connecting with these representatives in the days and weeks ahead to discuss the recommendations in further detail. Over 80 organizations from across Canada participated in the community engagement process for the development of the key recommendations. Over 100 individuals and organizations signed on as supporters to the Community Call to Action at ImpactResponse.ca.
“As we work to advance a more sustainable future and address critical challenges facing Canadian communities, it is critical we continue to invest in, and strengthen collaboration in support of, social enterprise to ensure they have the support and resources they need to flourish and lead an inclusive and regenerative recovery effort. Community foundations in Canada are ready to help advance and invest in this important work.” – Andrew Chunilall, CEO, Community Foundations of Canada (CFC)