Ontario Citizenship Minister Eric Hoskins is set to unveil the province’s partnership strategy with the vital non-profit sector on Thursday, along with Helen Burstyn of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Ontario’s non-profits include 45,000 organizations and employ more than one million people – 15% of the province’s workforce. Non-profits contribute $50 billion to the provincial economy – 7.1% of GDP, greater than auto and construction combined. Non-profits deliver community-based health, housing, social and education services – plus culture, recreation, faith and other vital elements that support our lives, nurture our health and help build strong and inclusive communities. The Wellesley Institute’s Michael Shapcott served on an advisory committee to Minister Hoskins for the partnership project. We know that a robust and resilient non-profit sector is good for helping individuals, and also for building healthy communities and a strong economy. However, non-profits face a growing administrative burden, out-dated legal and regulatory structures, uncertain financing, and challenges in effective collaboration.
Canada’s Social Finance Task Force has set out a national roadmap to strengthen the financial foundations for non-profits and social enterprises, and many of its recommendations are relevant to Ontario. Much of Canada is racing to catch up to the remarkable innovations in social finance in Britain and the United States. Just recently, US President Barack Obama announced a $1b impact investment fund that draws from British experiences. The Ontario Non-Profit Network has made a detailed submission to the provincial partnership project.
“A year after the Liberal government promised to make Ontario open for business, it’s now extending a hand to not-for-profits,” writes Martin Regg Cohn in today’s Toronto Star.
Stay tuned for more details as we report on the provincial plans to engage non-profits as full partners in building a healthy and inclusive Ontario.