A year ago a steering committee was appointed by the Federal Government with the goal of co-creating a national Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy.
Canada consistently tops international rankings for happiness and liveability, but we have challenges of our own to overcome – poverty, indigenous injustice, homelessness, climate change, to name but a few. Complex issues demand innovative thinkers and luckily, we are a nation of those too. The committee made up of 17 members from philanthropic, financial and research communities from across the country held over 60 engagement sessions and collected feedback from hundreds of Canadians and organizations.
The result? 12 concrete recommendations for our nation to focus on to magnify the work of social innovators from sea to shining sea (we have paraphrased a bit for brevity);
Governance and Public Service Infrastructure
1. Anchor commitment and long-term policy action through federal framework legislation
2. Establish and fund a permanent multi-sectoral Social Innovation Council to formalize collaboration between social purpose organizations and government
3. Create a permanent Office for Social Innovation to ensure sharing of resources and mutual accountability
Skills and Capacity
4. Improve access to federal innovation, business development and skills training programs for social purpose organizations
5. Establish a cross-sector Social Innovation Ecosystem Program to address gaps in early-stage support, capacity building and impact measurementFunding and Capital
6. Establish a Social Finance Fund to improve access to capital for social purpose organizations and accelerate development of a social finance ecosystem.
7. Ensure federal funding practices support and enable social innovation (shift from rigorous reporting of activities to flexible pursuit of outcomes)
8. Use the Government of Canada’s purchasing power to generate ongoing demand for the goods and services provided by social enterprises
Policy and Regulatory Environment
9. Address the legal and regulatory issues impeding charities and non-profits from engaging in social innovation, social finance and social enterprise
10. Allow for testing, exploration and experimentation of new models through regulator exemptions as part of comprehensive reform process.
Evidence and Knowledge Sharing
11. Establish a Social Innovation Evidence Development and Knowledge Sharing Network
Awareness and Mobilization
12. Build awareness of the value of social innovation and social finance among the general public and within the public service.