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Government Relations Update – Federal Election

Dear AFP Greater Vancouver Members,

We are pleased to share an update on recent advocacy in relation to the upcoming Federal Election on Monday September 20, 2021. In future days, we also hope to provide an overview of major party platforms in relation to our sector and what we can do as members to advocate for our profession and the sector with the election only 12 days away.

We reached out to all the candidates in the riding of Vancouver – East (home to the Government Relations Committee Chair) to ask about their respective party platforms related to the non-profit and charitable sector. Only one of those candidates replied.

Ms. Jenny Kwan, the current incumbent for Vancouver – East wanted to thank all of us for our work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and inform us that the NDP believes that more needs to be done to ensure that Canada’s charities and not-for-profits can continue to provide our vital services. She then highlighted that the NDP aims to take immediate action to save not-for-profit childcare centres and create 500,000 units of non-profit housing. While unfortunate that there was only one response, Vancouver – East, is considered a New Democratic Party stronghold.

While we did not hear directly from the other candidates, our partners at Imagine Canada, have been able to provide us with some insight into the platforms for each of the major federal parties in relation to the Non-profit sector.

Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservatives, led by Erin O’Toole have released their platform entitled Canada’s Recovery Plan.

  • A commitment to increase the disbursement quota for charitable foundations from 3.5% to 7.5%.
    Note: In the April 2021 budget, the current government stated that they already investigating methods to increase this disbursement quota, with a goal of releasing an additional $1 to $2 Billion, the Conservative commitment seems to significantly increase this number.
  • A commitment to cut red-tape regarding international development projects, which currently are required to be directly controlled by a Canadian charity. No concrete details are provided.

Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberals, led by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have released their fully costed platform entitled Forward for Everyone. Much of this platform was previously unveiled in April as part of the 2021 Federal budget.

  • If re-elected, the Liberals plan to extend the eligibility of its $650M Canada Small Business Financing Program to include non-profit and charitable social enterprises.
  • A commitment to extend the Canada Recover Hiring Program to March 31, 2022.
  • An Arts and Culture Recovery Program, which would match ticket sales for performing arts, live theatres and other cultural venues to compensate for ongoing reduced capacity.
  • As part of its commitment to a $10/day childcare, the Liberals hope to increase childcare spaces, primarily within the Not-for-profit sector.

New Democratic Party

The NDP, led by Jagmeet Singh, who is the Member of Parliament for Burnaby – South has released their platform entitled Ready for Better.

  • No direct commitments for the sector.
  • A commitment to save not-for-profit childcare centres that are at a risk of closure due to closed spaces because of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • A commitment to create fast-start funds to help kick-start the construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing.
  • A commitment to investment in social infrastructure such as community centres, long-term care and childcare centers. These organizations are predominantly part of the Non-profit sector.

Green Party of Canada

The Green Party, led by Annamie Paul, has yet to publish a platform regarding the 2021 election and states that it will roll one out in pieces due to the length of the campaign.

What are AFP Canada’s Priorities for this Election?

AFP Canada has two priorities for advocacy during this federal election.

  • Establish a home in government.
    • There are mutual benefits for establishing strong relations with both incumbent and incoming Members of Parliament.
    • We can help educate MPs as well as influence policies which have a direct impact on all our members.
  • Seek an equitable recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.
    • Continue to assist in long-term planning to build sector resilience.
    • An equitable recovery will encourage donors to continue their support with the knowledge that the sector will persevere.

What Can You Do as a AFP Member?

AFP Canada suggests the following ways for how we can advocate for our sector. Feel free to consult the AFP Canada 2021 Election Toolkit, which will provide you with useful tools for your own advocacy efforts.

  • Engage with your local candidates, find your riding here. The Elections Canada website will give you information on each candidate in your riding.
    • Ask them about their experiences with our sector.
    • Ask them about where they stand on our priorities.
    • Attend and ask questions at debates in your riding.
  • Share your actions and candidate responses via your social media platforms, using the hashtag #fundraisersvote.
  • Most importantly, VOTE! Information about voting is available on the Elections Canada website.

Important Deadlines

  • Advanced Voting is available between Friday, September 10 to Monday, September 13, 2021.
  • Voting by Mail requires a special application which has a deadline of Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

Moving forward, AFP Greater Vancouver will engage with Members of Parliament shortly after the election. We will continue to advocate for our sector and ultimately to ensure that our members and sector remains resilient as we continue the fight against COVID-19.

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