Support for Social Finance

March 21, 2013

As mentioned in the context of the above Report
to the Standing Committee, the Budget also comments on the ongoing initiative
to facilitate the development of new ideas for social finance in Canada. The potential for social finance to
strengthen government-community partnerships had been noted in the 2011 and
2012 Budgets, and in November 2012 the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
launched a public policy engagement process – the “Call
for Concepts
” – to seek ideas from individuals, non-profits and business
organizations in Canada that would help identify new ways that the Government
can address social and economic issues.

The Budget notes that the Call for Concepts
specifically sought solutions to complex social issues that would be funded
through social finance instruments. It states that the response to the Call for
Concepts exceeded expectations and generated a range of suggestions to address
key priorities for Canada’s long-term prosperity, such as supporting youth at risk,
reducing homelessness and improving employment outcomes for persons with
disabilities.

The Budget states that the Minister of
Human Resources and Skills Development will continue to build on the Call for
Concepts by bringing together key players in the non-profit and private sectors
to develop investment-worthy ideas and tap the potential of the social finance
marketplace.

While the Budget does not
propose any specific measures, it is encouraging to see continuing progress in
the development of social finance proposals as well as the Federal Government’s
acknowledgement of the importance of this emerging concept. We hope that this initiative continues in
earnest. Charities and non-profits who
are engaged in social finance or social enterprise should consult the Ministry
of Human Resources and Skills Development website to ensure that they take
advantage of opportunities to contribute to this process.

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