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Canada: First Federal Platform Proposal for Charities Includes New Minister, Federal Department

July 1, 2015

A coalition of charities and nonprofit associations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, has developed the first-ever federal platform proposal for Canada’s charitable and nonprofit sector.

The platform encompasses a number of public policy changes and recommendations designed to create a vibrant environment for Canadian charities and nonprofits to grow their capacity so they have the resources needed to address and solve the issues facing the country. A key part of the platform includes stronger partnerships with government, and calls on political parties to:

  • Name a Minister responsible for the charitable and nonprofit sector;
  • Designate a federal department to have economic policy responsibility for charities and nonprofits;
  • Launch an immediate review of red tape and regulations affecting charities and nonprofits, amending or eliminating those policies that do not effectively advance the public interest;
  • Ensure that future policy proposals consider the impact on charities and nonprofits, similar to the lens already used to identify impact on small businesses;
  • Institute methods to collect and disseminate up-to-date, comprehensive data about the sector, so that public policy decisions about the sector are evidence-based;
  • Facilitate all charities’ and nonprofits’ efforts to share their knowledge and experience to inform the federal public policy process; and
  • Launch consultations with the sector about the implications, positive and negative, of replacing the current definition of charity and regulatory regime, with a modern statutory definition (as has been achieved in the United Kingdom and Australia).

The platform contains other specific legislative changes, including the implementation of the stretch tax credit for charitable giving, and is being shared with all Members of Parliament and Senators.

“The charitable and nonprofit sector represents more than 160,000 organizations and accounts for eight percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “That kind of impact demands attention from Parliament and all of government. And by implementing these changes and working together with government, we can provide even greater and more effective services to all Canadians.”

The development of the platform comes after more than 35 representatives from the charitable sector held the first Hill Day in Ottawa on May 14. The focus of the day, which included meeting with many MPs and Senators, was to educate Parliament about the importance of Canada’s charitable sector and its impact upon society.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen this kind of coordinated effort by the sector,” said Watt. “It’s an exciting time and presents a great opportunity for us to work together and advocate in support of our key messages.”

The coalition of charities involved in the development of the platform and the Hill Day include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Imagine Canada, CanadaHelps, The Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), The Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (CEGN), Community Foundations of Canada, MaRS Discovery District, United Way – Centraide Canada and Volunteer Canada.

The full platform document can be read on the AFP website in both English and French.

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