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Special Senate Committee Report

26 September 2019 6:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Why is it so hard to do great works of charity? - Special Senate Committee Report
Innovative & practical recommendations for our Non-Profit Members, insight & perspective for all Members 
reported by Jennifer Nichol, ASPECT Member Services and Administrator


"Why is it so hard to do great works of charity? This was the question the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector (the committee) set out to answer." Read more of the executive summary here...

Struck in January 2018, the committee was asked to examine and report on Canada’s diverse and vibrant charitable and nonprofit sector.  The work done in this sector benefits ALL people. Whether the interdependence is obvious or not, this report makes it clear that it's there. What may be surprising to some is that this sector employs over 7 million people in Canada.  

Released in June, the report's findings were broadcast via webinar yesterday morning and the ASPECT office was able to hear the findings first hand from one of the Senators on the committee, Ratna Omidvar. Amongst the 42 thoughtful and thought-provoking recommendations made in the report, a few stood out as being especially relevant to our sector.

  • Recommendation 5 (p. 36) That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Finance and federal-provincial-territorial meetings of Ministers of Finance, support the development of pensions for the charitable and non-profit sectors that are portable across provincial and territorial jurisdictions
  • Recommendation 6 (p. 37)That the Government of Canada, through Labour Canada, work with the charitable and non-profit sector to develop and implement a human resources renewal plan to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector workforce, recognizing that the needs of northern, rural and urban communities are unique.
  • Recommendation 10 (p. 45) That the Government of Canada, through the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, develop policies that require departments and agencies to compensate for full administrative
    costs associated with delivering the services being funded in transfers to charitable and
    non-profit organizations.
  • Recommendation 12 (p. 47)That the Government of Canada, through Treasury Board of Canada, ensure that grants and contribution agreements cover a minimum of two years, renewable as appropriate;
    and that the level of information required for both application and reporting on these
    agreements are commensurate with the level of funding, minimizing complexity for smaller
  • Recommendation 15 (p. 52): That the Government of Canada’s procurement strategy be further modified to remove barriers to the participation of charitable and non-profit organizations, with a particular focus on suppliers with smaller staff complements. 

Outside of these official recommendations, in the context of the webinar environment, we also heard about the need for innovative ways for the sector to self-fund, as ASPECT CEO, Janet Morris-Reade discussed with her “Big Idea” at our inaugural ASPECT Summit. We heard about the real need for formal relationships to exist with the Federal Government, outside of the CRA. Another idea discussed was to create a set of standard accounts used by the sector to enable ease of reporting and accessibility to procurement data and establishing baselines for overhead costs.   

Organizations like ASPECT are one of many non-profits across Canada who also have the privilege of serving both the public and our members, a distinction also discussed as a way to further develop policy and regulation. 

Wrapping up, we also heard from participants who wondering why this report hasn't been picked up by more news agencies. It was suggested that few reporters are dedicated to this sector, which often leads to misrepresentation of the work being done or even a lack of understanding around how much the sector contributes to our current economic model (it's 7% of GDP) so we encourage our Members to read and spread this report around, as always, we are stronger together.

What do you think about these recommendations? We want to know. Meh or 10/10?

Read the whole report here ...

Do you have something you'd like featured? Please email jnichol@aspect.bc.ca

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