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Election Results Mean New Public Policy Opportunities for Philanthropy

On Nov. 4, Justin Trudeau was sworn in as the 23rd Prime Minster of Canada, along with his 30-member Cabinet. His election, and the new MPs leading the government, means many new opportunities for AFP, the fundraising profession and the philanthropic sector.

The previous Conservative government had been in power for almost a decade. With a Liberal Cabinet now in place, fundraisers have a unique opportunity to connect with the new leadership team just as they are starting up their portfolios. There are also many new MP’s and Senators that AFP members can meet with and discuss the importance of fundraising and philanthropy.

“This is as important a time for our public policy work as we’ve ever had,” said Andrea McManus, CFRE, chair of the Canadian Government Relations Committee. “With new leadership and many new MP’s, we need to get in the door very early and present our case early and often about why philanthropy matters in our country and how charities and the government can work together to solve critical social problems.”

McManus noted that AFP has created resources that are perfect for this moment, such as the AFP Public Awareness Communications Tool Kit” that can be helpful in meeting and educating legislators across the country. “If you haven’t been engaged with public policy before, now is the time—as individual AFP members and as chapters. We can accomplish so much in the next few months and create  a strong foundation for future public policy work if we get out there and meet with the government NOW!”

AFP is also pleased to note that one of its members is also one of the newly elected MP’s. Bernadette Jordan, development officer for Health Services Foundation in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, was elected as MP for South Shore-St. Margaret’s. Jordan has spent the last eight years as part of a team raising millions of dollars for health care in her region.

“It’s great to know that there is a member of Parliament who really understands fundraising and the challenges we face in solving critical social problems,” said Jason Lee, JD, AFP’s general counsel.

Pushing the Sector Platform

The new election is also an opportunity to educate the new leadership and MP’s about the philanthropic sector’s platform of issues.

The platform was created by a coalition of organizations, including AFP, to state the case as to why government should partner with charities, noting the impact of the sector not only on the provision of services, but also on Canada’s general economy. Two million Canadians work in the charitable sector, which accounts for eight percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product.

The platform also contains a series of recommendations for both charities and government that will help them work better together. They include  recommendations that the government:

  • 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.

A previous article about the platform, including the platform document itself, can be found here.

“The platform provides a strong foundation for our public policy efforts over the next couple of years,” said McManus. “Those recommendations, along with AFP’s specific proposals related to tax incentives for giving and other fundraising-related initiatives, will form the bulk of our work and inform our planning for 2016 and beyond.”

The Cabinet

Below is a list of Cabinet members and their responsibilities. Of particular interest to charities and fundraisers  will be Diane Lebouthillier (Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC), the new National Revenue Minister, and Navdeep Singh Bains (Mississauga–Malton, ON), the new Minister of Industry (now called Innovation, Science and Economic Development).

Prime Minister & Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs & Youth – Rt. Hon. Justin P. J. Trudeau, Papineau, QC

Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness – Hon. Ralph Goodale, Regina- Wascana, SK

Agriculture & Agri-Food – Hon. Lawrence MacAulay, Cardigan, PEI

Foreign Affairs – Hon. Stéphane Dion – Saint-Laurent, QC

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship – Hon. John McCallum, Markham–Thornhill, ON

Indigenous and Northern Affairs – Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Toronto–St. Paul's, ON

Treasury Board President – Hon. Scott Brison, Kings–Hants, NS

Government House Leader – Hon. Dominic Leblanc, Beauséjour, NB

Innovation, Science and Economic Development – Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains, Mississauga–Malton, ON

Finance – Hon. William (Bill) Francis Morneau, Toronto Centre, ON

Justice and Solicitor General – Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould – Vancouver Granville, QC

Public Services & Procurement – Hon. Judy M. Foote, Bonavista–Burin–Trinity, NF

International Trade – Hon. Chrystia Freeland, University–Rosedale, ON

Health – Hon. Jane Philpott, Markham – Stouffville, ON

Families, Children and Social Development (HRSDC) – Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Québec, QC

Transport – Hon. Marc Garneau, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Westmount, QC

International Development and La francophonie – Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Compton–Stanstead, QC

Natural Resources – Hon. James Gordon Carr, Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Canadian Heritage – Hon. Mélanie Joly, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, QC

National Revenue – Hon. Dianne Lebouthillier, Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Veterans Affairs, and Associate Minister of National Defence – Hon. Kent Hehr, Calgary Centre, AB

Environment and Climate Change – Hon. Catherine McKenna, Ottawa-Centre, ON

National Defence – Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Vancouver South, ON

Employment Workforce Development and Labour – Hon. Maryann Mihychuk, Kildonan–St. Paul, MB

Infrastructure and Communities – Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Democratic Institutions – Hon. Maryam Monsef, Peterborough–Kawartha, ON

Sport, and Persons with Disabilities – Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Delta, BC

Fisheries and Oceans, and Canadian Coastguard – Hon. Hunter Tootoo, Nunavut, NVT

Science – Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Etobicoke North, ON

Status of Women – Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Thunder Bay–Superior North, ON

Small Business and Tourism – Hon. Bardish Chagger, Waterloo, ON 



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