Budget 2015 and Canadian nonprofits (HIGHLIGHTS)

The federal budget was released today, and there are plenty of potential impacts on and opportunities for the nonprofit sector. One item not included is the charitable donation stretch tax credit championed by Imagine Canada, but here are the most relevant tidbits I found during a cursory review.

General implications

Ability for charities to invest in limited partnerships (LPs): A gamechanger for social finance and a policy priority championed by Philanthropic Foundations Canada and Community Foundations Canada. This is one of the largest roadblocks to opening more impact investment / social finance in that the most natural legal structure for many social finance vehicles that the charitable sector (especially foundations) would like to invest are limited partnerships.

Exempting donations of private shares and real estate from corporate gains tax: There are currently exceptions for charitable donations of publicly traded shares (aka securities), but opening this up to other investment donations will do good for areas of Canada where there is a combination of high net worth individuals and real estate investment / private companies (ie Vancouver).

Creating of a government “Social Finance Accelerator”: ESDC is the federal government lead on social finance. However, a risk averse government and a untested social/market tool do not equate to quick innovation. I hope ESDC works with external partners to make this happen (“workshops, advisory services, mentorship, networking opportunities and investor introductions”) in a timely manner. I know the people in ESDC working on this file and they are smart wonderful hardworking people, it’s the highers up that slow things down. In a fast moving field like Social Finance, doing things “in house” can lead to irrelevance quickly.

$56.4 million over four years to Mitacs, an independent organization that provides funding to businesses (eligibility was opened to nonprofits earlier this year) to solve business challenges through research collaborations with universities via paid graduate-level internships.

Unclear changes to the governance of not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives: this budget item started with a focus on increasing women and diversity on corporate board, but finishes with “Amendments to related statutes governing cooperatives and not-for-profit corporations will also be introduced to ensure continued alignment among federal laws.”

Support for specific nonprofit organizations

Futurpreneur Canada: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $14 million over two years, starting in 2015–16, to Futurpreneur Canada to support young entrepreneurs.”

Organizations that provide loans to newcomes for foreign credential recognition: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to reallocate up to $35 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to make the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans pilot project permanent to support internationally trained workers in their pursuit of foreign credential recognition.” [I got to see some of this while on contract recently in the social innovation unit within Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Pre- and post-loan incomes for newcomer clients with one organization went from ~$14,000 to over $100,000. Most loans are <$10,000.]

Opportunities

Organizations that support women entrepreneurs: “Economic Action Plan 2015 announces support for the Action Plan for Women Entrepreneurs in order to help women entrepreneurs succeed, through mentorship and increased access to credit and international markets.”

Working with post-secondary to train the nonprofit labour force: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide a one-time investment of $65 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to business and industry associations to allow them to work with willing post-secondary institutions to better align curricula with the needs of employers.”

Organizations that support employment of Aboriginal peoples: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $248.5 million over five years beginning in 2015–16 to support Aboriginal labour market programming.”

Organizations that want refurbished computer equipment and work with vulnerable populations: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $2 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to expand the Computers for Schools program, extending access to refurbished computer equipment to non-profit organizations such as those that support low-income Canadians, seniors and new Canadians.”

Improvements for community infrastructure: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to create a new dedicated infrastructure fund to support the renovation, expansion and improvement of existing community infrastructure in all regions of the country as part of the Canada 150 celebrations.”

Organisations who do work in financial literacy: “In 2015–16, the Government will release a National Strategy to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.”

Organizations with mortgages for social housing: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $150 million over four years, starting in 2016–17, to support social housing in Canada by allowing social housing providers to prepay their long-term, non-renewable mortgages without penalty.”

Organizations who do work related to Austism Spectrum Disorder: “Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to provide $2.0 million in 2015–16 to support the development of a Canadian Autism Partnership.”

Other items of interest

Updating labour code to protect interns in federally-regulated industries (not the nonprofit sector, but still a great step). See more about regulations re: internships via Canadian Intern Association. This is a good reminder that just because volunteering is OK, unpaid internships are often not, in the nonprofit sector.

There are many items relevant to clients of nonprofit organizations not listed here.

Any other items I missed?

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