CALGARY, Oct. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - In a keynote speech at the Social
Enterprise World Forum hosted by the Trico Charitable Foundation, the
Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
today highlighted the importance of social innovation in addressing
social challenges in Canada.
"Our government is playing a leading role in bringing together the
private business and charitable sectors to find effective and
results-oriented ways to increase the participation of marginalized
populations in our communities and in our economy," said Minister
Kenney. "For too long, governments have imposed solutions to Canada's
social development challenges, while ignoring the innovative and
successful approaches being developed in local communities and the
private sector. Through social financing, the government can link civil
society with those who want to invest in results-oriented projects in
local communities to solve social problems."
Social innovation takes proven ideas that work and applies them to
pressing social issues while building relationships with new partners.
This includes social enterprise and social finance, business and
financial models with dual goals—to create positive returns for
investors as well as positive economic and social outcomes for society.
In his speech, Minister Kenney took the opportunity to announce the
launch of a literacy and essential skills pilot. The pilot will bring
new and effective ways of generating employer and private investments
to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians develop the literacy and
skills they need to better connect to available jobs. Employers and
investors will be reimbursed as they meet the objectives they
established together. The pilot is expected to be active by fall 2013
and reach 1 600 low-skilled or unemployed Canadians seeking work across
The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development),
joined Minister Kenney at the Social Enterprise World Forum, delivering
remarks at a plenary session held on the Forum's opening day. During
the Forum, Minister of State Bergen met with national stakeholders on a
range of issues related to social inclusion, Canadians with
disabilities, Aboriginal issues and homelessness.
Since 2011, the Government has signaled its support for social
innovation initiatives in successive Economic Action Plans. Last
November, the Government launched the first National Call for Concepts
for Social Finance, receiving over 150 submissions. Some of the
submissions were featured in a report entitled Harnessing the Power of Social Finance.
The Government is now testing cutting-edge projects to help community
organizations develop and implement innovative ideas for social
problems and achieve greater, lasting impacts for Canadians.
What is social innovation?
Social innovation refers to developing new ideas or using existing ideas
to find solutions to social challenges. Social innovation is an
initiative, product, process or program that creates positive social
outcomes for societies.
What is social enterprise?
Social enterprise is the use of business strategies by both for-profit
and not-for-profit organizations to achieve a social good. This
emerging business model is helping to increase the financial strength
of community organizations by providing an alternate source of revenue
to tackle complex social problems. Social enterprises are commonly run
by a charity or not-for-profit organization. Revenue raised by the
business operation is reinvested into the charity to support its
programs and operations.
What is social finance?
Social finance is an approach to mobilizing multiple sources of capital
that delivers a social dividend and an economic return in the
achievement of social and environmental goals. It creates opportunities
for investors to finance projects that benefit society and for
community organizations to access new sources of funds.
Employment and Social Development Canada's support for social innovation
National Call for Concepts for Social Finance
As part of broader efforts to research the potential of social finance
to support social innovation and augment existing programs with new
capital and new ideas, Employment and Social Development Canada asked
Canadians to participate in the National Call for Concepts for Social
Finance between November 2012 and January 2013.
The 154 responses to the Call showed that there are many innovative and
collaborative solutions being developed to resolve a wide range of
societal challenges by citizens, businesses, charities and other
groups. Submissions featured social impact bonds, social investment
funds and social enterprises, as well as ideas for structuring the flow
of funds and suggestions for using social finance methods to scale up
successful existing programs or introduce new services.
The subsequent report, Harnessing the Power of Social Finance, provides information on social finance, including national and
international perspectives, and profiles 15 concepts from the Call.
Trico Charitable Foundation's Enterprising Non-Profits Canada project
In 2013, Employment and Social Development Canada announced $1.5 million
in funding for the Trico Charitable Foundation's Enterprising Non-Profits Canada project. The project supports the development of the social enterprise
sector by creating a network of social enterprise program support hubs
across Canada. It will also develop knowledge about the process of
building social enterprises and their capacity to respond to social
problems. Its ultimate goal is to develop social enterprise to the
extent that it can stand next to government and philanthropy in funding
and fuelling solutions to Canada's complex social issues.
Literacy and essential skills pilot
The Government of Canada is leading a pilot to test new ways of
generating employer and private investments to improve labour market
outcomes for Canadians. This pilot is inspired by the social impact
bond initiatives seen in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
The pilot is expected to be active by fall 2013 and reach 1 600
low-skilled workers or unemployed Canadians seeking work across the
The pilot includes:
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges' Essential Skills Social
Finance Pilot. This stream will test models where private investors
provide the upfront capital to fund programs to support unemployed
people to develop the literacy and essential skills needed to better
connect to available jobs.
The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society's The Skilling Up in Environmental Service: A Social Finance Approach. This stream will test new incentives for employers to invest in
literacy and essential skills training of workers and examine how a
return-on-investment model could result in better outcomes for both.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Fortier Office of the Minister
Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.
This news release is available online at www.actionplan.gc.ca.