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Are community services in BC under attack?

17 Jan 2019 1:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

It continues to be a time of transition for the employment service sector as contractors and subcontractors to the WorkBC program transition to the new contracts. No official announcement has been made as I write this, but I am interested to know how the former contractors and subcontractors are faring under the new contract environment. 

We’ve been contacted by The Federation of Social Services of BC and Board Voice who are concerned about the effect of the new WorkBC contract awards on the ability of social service organizations to remain viable within the communities they serve. Is it really feeling like BC non-profits are under attack?

I am always intrigued and delighted by the ingenuity of the service providers to respond to funding shifts and market needs.  As a sector, it is our competitive advantage and is something that I refer to often in my advocacy work to employer stakeholders and government. This ingenuity is not limited to our non-profit members but also our private members: both can be described as community benefit organizations.

For the past two years, I have been a board member for 3rdVoice representing the interests of ASPECT members. We have been working to providegovernment with community-up ideas and provide a collective voice to the needs of a diverse range of provincial organizations, networks, and federations. There have been some successes, but for a variety of reasons 3rdVoice has been challenged to produce statistics and measures to clearly demonstrate the value (both economic and social) of community benefit organizations in BC. Our hope is to mirror some of the effectiveness of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN).  

ONN produced an infographic a few years ago that shows the economic impact of non-profits in Ontario, and when you look at the statistics that they have collected, its mind-blowing!  We needthat information in our province to prove to anyone who will listen that community benefit organizations and their economic and social impact is a force to be reckoned with.  

Last week I was in Vancouver meeting with my 3rd Voice-colleagues to discuss among other topics, how we can collect compelling data in BC. We asked questions such as:  How many non-profits are there within BC? Who do we include in our data collection? What kind of data do we collect? How do we gain access to the information we need? and what other organizations should also be at the table?

Over the coming months, our plan as 3rdVoice or as just a collective of community benefit organizations, will be to reach out to several organizations to see if we can collect the information we need. Accordingly, ASPECT will be polling its members to find out our impact on our economic and social health of the province.  As service providers, we know that policing in our communities is negative result to an underfunded community supports.  A healthy and vibrant community service environment saves tax payers’ money in the long run. We just need the numbers to prove it.

As always, I welcome your comments at any time and would like your help collecting statistics to share with my colleagues at 3rd Voice. What statistics do you use to promote your own organization to your funders and community stakeholders? What are your measures of success? Please send me  what you have, copies of your Annual reports, or anything you can that would help us determine what success is for community services in BC. I will keep you posted on this endeavour and share what I can moving forward.

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