Dossier: Tides Meeting 2006 “Scaling Up the Canadian Social Finance Sector”

This was a 2 day strategy private meeting held on October 19-20, 2006 with Tides Canada, Vancity Credit Union, J.W. McConnell, PLAN Canada, Coro Strandberg. The purpose of the meeting was to map out an accelerated growth path for the financial infrastructure needed to support the “social economy”.

“Social finance for the purpose of the meeting was described as sustainable finance with a social or environmental goal, covering a growing continuum including community investing, social enterprise finance, micro-lending, sustainable business, and philanthropic program-related investments. Premised on the view that the Canadian social sector (including charities, non-profits and community enterprises) is drastically under-financed, the meeting sought to consider how to reverse this situation through advancing the growth of the social capital marketplace.”

  1. https://corostrandberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/scaling-up-the-canadian-social-finance-sector.pdf

Nancy Neamtan CEO Chantier de l’economie sociale: “In Quebec the focus is on the social economy, not on economic development per se. It is important to advance development from a bottom-up perspective, through engaging unions, co-operatives, charitable, environmental and community economic development organizations, etc.”

Coro Strandberg provided a summary of barriers for social finance: the barriers she was referring to were government policy

• Need to map out and conduct an inventory of existing financial instruments and tools in Canada, some of which is being undertaken by Human Resource Social Development Canada (HRSDC) as part of its work with the Community Finance Advisory Panel

• The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) social economy research program is a resource for this initiative

The committee discussed 4 Main Goals as follows: GOAL #1 and #3 would impact government

• Goal 1: Access to social finance capital to scale up social economy

• Goal 2: Social sector capacity for social financing is built

• Goal 3: An enabling policy and regulatory environment to scale up social finance exists

• Goal 4: Organizations and affinity groups are working together on a coordinated approach to scale up social finance

GOAL #1: Access to Capital for Social Economy

  • Establish a National institution to act as a “social investment bank” (Infrastructure Bank?)
  • Use of decentralized capital investments: mutual funds loans, pension funds, labour funds, recruit VanCity to initialize the process

GOAL#3: Government Policy Change

• Political outreach: develop a non-partisan program to be advanced through the political arena. As political parties are developing their platforms there is an opportunity to build pre-electoral alliances within all parties in order to seed a social finance agenda

• Document the impacts of recent cuts and illustrate a role for social finance

• Need to advocate all levels within government, including policy development, program delivery and politicians

• Start at the community level – make it a citizens movement first and work up to provincial and federal levels; engage cross-sectorally; build upon current regional success; focus on the provincial window

• Use social marketing expertise to help sector act like a movement. The sector needs to speak with one voice; who represents the sector?

• Don’t position the issue as a grant/contribution issue, but a finance and investment issue.

• Focus a communications strategy by identifying a series of social and environmental challenges, show how we need a policy response to help adapt capital tools for solving social and environmental problems.

It was agreed that the initiative should continue under Tides Canada Foundation’s administrative leadership. SOROS

Participants commented there is a critical need to develop a public policy agenda and to scope out a role for an intermediary/s in this space, possibly a virtual brokerage function to manage targeted sectoral strategies to raise capital.

McConnell Foundation looking at PRIs POLICY RESEARCH INITIATIVES

Development of a community investment vehicle for pension fund investments (ETIs) PENSIONS??

The question here is Johanne Mennie attending meetings with Corporations where it was discussed that her role would be to help facilitate policy change within government to help finance the “Social Economy”…. Was that meeting ever registered with Lobby Canada?

  1. http://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/39-1/HUMA/meeting-39/evidence
  • HOC meeting November 21, 2006 on the “social economy.”
  • Witnesses include: Johanne Mennie,

The following were witnesses: Johanne Mennie (HRSDC), Nancy Neamtan (President CEO Chantier de l’economie Sociale Quebec), Carol Hunter (CEO Canadian Cooperative Association a national trade association with 9,000,000 members) (CEO Cooperative Development Foundation of Canada a charitable foundation responsible for international and Canadian cooperative development, fundraising and governance),Sylvan Savage (Director Economic Development Agency of Canada for the region of Quebec), David LePage (Enterprising Non-Profit programs)….. on this list ALL with the exception of Sylvain Savage were present at the TIDES Meeting on October 19-20 2006. The question here is Johanne Mennie attending meetings with Corporations where it was discussed that her role would be to help facilitate policy change within government to help finance the “Social Economy”…. Was that meeting ever registered with Lobby Canada?

The Social Economy generates 4.3 billion in annual sales per year. Additionally (not shown here) Federal funding gave rise to other agencies giving money as well: Fonds de solidarite de la FTQ, Fondaction (pension funds), Investissement Quebec. The focus is “service before profits”. They wanted to see te program rolled out to the rest of Canada. Their narrative was on the environment and renewables.

ThIs quote above is by David LePage representing Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) which represents 3000 community development organizations across Canada referred to as Enterprising Non-Profits. He advocated for policy change an enabling environment that supports social economy.

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