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The Partnership Project Progress Report 2013

Working Together to Strengthen Ontario’s Not-For-Profit Sector

Not-for-Profit Sectors

In Ontario and across Canada, the sector discussed in this report is most commonly referred to as the non-profit/not-for-profit sector.

The 2011 Partnership Project uses the term not-for-profit sector to describe the sectors that include not-for-profit, charitable and voluntary organizations as well as social and civic enterprises along with the many networks and umbrella organizations that support them.

This report also speaks to the emergence and growth of social enterprises – organizations that apply innovative, business-like strategies to deliver on their social, environmental and economic missions.

While the 2011 Partnership Project report focused on not-for-profits and voluntary organizations, the language and scope of this report has been broadened to incorporate any type of venture, for-profit or not- for-profit, that deliver a Social Return on Investment to the communities that they serve

Message from the Minister

Our government has a vision of Ontarians working together to build strong communities. From the millions of volunteers who give life and spirit to our communities, to the thousands of agencies which comprise this important sector, Ontarians are fortunate to have a growing and vital not-for-profit sector sustaining their communities.

Through the Partnership Project, the Ontario government and the not-for-profit sector are working together to strengthen this vital force in our communities.

When the government launched the Partnership Project we did so knowing the sector’s importance as a partner in delivering public services. Our goal was to strengthen the sector and the communities it serves by building a better long- term partnership.

This journey began with a conversation; eight months of discussion with people representing a wide range of organizations from across the province. This led
to the Partnership Project report and its six key recommendations – a real blueprint for the future.

I am truly pleased to report progress in recognizing and strengthening the thousands of organizations and agencies which form our communities.

With the formation of the Partnership Forum in 2012, chaired by Helen Burstyn, we took another important step forward. This table brings together the public sector, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector to guide our efforts to build stronger, more sustainable and more liveable communities.

We’re well on our way. Living up to its name, the Partnership Project has indeed made us true partners in building a stronger future and a higher quality of life for Ontarians.

Michael Coteau

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Message from the Chair

Across Ontario, there are millions of volunteers and countless social entrepreneurs investing their time and talents to make our communities stronger, more liveable and more sustainable.

When the then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dr. Eric Hoskins and I were asked by Premier Dalton McGuinty to co-chair the Partnership Project in 2010, we embraced this opportunity to engage the province’s thriving not-for- profit sector in building a better future for all of us.

The collaborative nature of the Partnership Project has helped us put these recommendations into practice. We are bringing diverse partners to the table, creating new and better ways of doing business and providing innovative services to those who need them, when they need them.

It is exciting to watch the sector evolve and take on new forms as it adapts to meet new demographic, economic and social challenges. Today, thousands of Ontario’s not-for-profits are choosing to operate as social enterprises – embracing a new way to do business, while at the same time being animated by a social purpose.

In 2012, Ontario created the Office for Social Enterprise to encourage and enable this new generation of innovative thinkers and doers to make their mark on the world. The partnerships we are forging with the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors today are changing the face and the pace of public service delivery in this province. Today’s social enterprises are meeting not just one bottom line, but double and often triple bottom lines, and they are inspiring businesses and other organizations to do the same. This is happening not only in Ontario, but in Canada and around the globe.

Collaboration and innovation are the hallmarks of our partnership with the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors. This approach has served us well and will continue to position Ontario as an innovative leader in the global marketplace.

Improving the quality of life of Ontarians: this is our ambitious agenda, and it’s one we are tackling with confidence and delivering together with our partners.

Helen Burstyn
Chair, Partnership Forum

Executive summary

The Partnership Project began in 2010 with an extensive conversation with the not-for-profit sector: eight months, nine roundtables representing dozens of communities, hundreds of organizations and thousands of people. The questions the Ontario government asked and the issues explored were all about strengthening the partnership between the sector and the government. The result was the Partnership Project report with its six recommendations.

The purpose of this report is to bring you up to date on the progress that has been made putting those recommendations into practice.

Ontario continues to make progress on all six recommendations and is moving forward with a host of new initiatives – including partnering with social enterprise.

Progress at a glance

1. Promote Respect and Recognition

2. Foster Coordination and Collaboration

3. Build Sector Capacity

4. Reinvigorate Volunteerism in Ontario

5. Modernize, Standardize and Streamline

6. Invest in Social Innovation

Introduction

The not-for-profit sector reaches into every corner of our province. Its work touches the lives of people of every age and gender and involves people from all cultural communities. As a distinct pillar of our society and our economy, it defines who we are and what we aspire to achieve as a province.

The 46,000 organizations in this sector are critical partners in building economically and socially vibrant communities across the province. They are key partners in helping the Ontario government meet its priorities and deliver many vital services on its behalf.

In 2010, the Premier affirmed the significance of the work of these organizations and the sector’s vital importance to Ontario’s social and economic wellbeing by calling for a review of the province’s not- for-profit sector. The Partnership Project, co-chaired by Ontario’s then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Eric Hoskins and Helen Burstyn, the former chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, was launched and tasked with getting input and advice from sector representatives on ways government could strengthen the partnership.

The Partnership Project

Over eight months, the Partnership Project co-chairs met with more than 400 representatives from more than 340 not-for-profit organizations. Surveys were conducted and sector organizations, staff, volunteers, clients and members of the public were invited to engage in online discussions.

The conversation focused primarily on four topics:

During the discussions, the co-chairs heard what worked and what fell short in terms of legislation, policies and funding mechanisms. They heard about the day-to-day struggles to deliver programs and the challenges and frustrations of understanding and dealing with government. They heard uplifting stories of triumph and innovation.

The Partnership Project report captures in more detail what was heard during the discussions. The report also contains six recommendations (listed on page 7),
all of which were accepted by the government as a vision for a continued partnership with the not-for- profit sector.

These recommendations have led to a stronger partnership between government and the not- for-profit sector.

The six partnership recommendations

Promote respect and recognition

1. Promote a culture of respect and recognition within government and across the province.

Foster coordination and collaboration

2. Provide the not-for-profit sector with an identifiable, central and authoritative point of contact within government.

Build sector capacity

3. Address the funding, operational and capacity challenges facing not-for-profit organizations by adopting an approach – across all ministries – that provides similar supports, consideration and recognition received by for-profit organizations in Ontario.

Enhance communication with the sector.

4. Support new ways to invigorate Ontario’s tradition of volunteerism.

Modernize, standardize and streamline

5. Leverage technology to break down silos, increase transparency, and share information.

Invest in social innovation

6.  Work with the Government of Canada and Canadian financial institutions to address regulatory and legal barriers to social innovation, and make a range of social financing tools available to Ontario’s not-for-profit sector.

Putting the recommendations into practice

Promote respect and recognition

Minister designated to be Responsible for the Sector

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is the minister responsible for Ontario’s not-for profit organizations. The Minister also reports on the government’s efforts to support the sector and its work and is a champion for the sector at Cabinet.

Partnership Project Progress Report 2013

One of the Partnership Project recommendations was that the government provide an update on the progress made in strengthening its relationship with the sector. This is the first of the progress reports.

State of the sector: profile of the ontario charitable and not-for-profit organizations

In 2012, Pollara Strategic Insights, one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research firms was engaged to carry out research in order to gain a better understanding of the not-for-profit sector’s size, scope and socio-economic contribution to the province.  The research will provide the sector with a foundation, providing context that will allow further collaboration between the government and the sector.

The national survey of nonprofit and voluntary organizations

The National  Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations was the last comprehensive review of the sector. A consortium  that included Imagine Canada and Statistics Canada published the results of their research in 2003.

The definitions of the data employed in this survey are generally compatible with the International Classification of Non-profit  Organizations used by the Johns Hopkins University Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project.

The current update on the not-for-profit sector in Ontario is designed to be compatible with the National  Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, so we can make comparisons where possible and identify trends.

Foster coordination and collaboration

Partnership project office established

The Partnership Project report included a recommendation that a coordinating body for the not-for-profit sector be established within government to act as a central point of contact for the sector and to coordinate inter-ministerial collaboration.

Shortly after the release of the first report in March 2011, a Partnership Project Office was established within the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

The office has led many of the initiatives highlighted in this report. It has also worked closely with other lead ministries involved in projects to strengthen the relationship between the sector and government.

Since the creation of the office two years ago, there has been a significant increase in collaboration and coordination between the sector and the government. In addition, having a dedicated body for this sector has increased the government’s awareness and appreciation of the sector’s work and its contributions to Ontario’s economy.

Partnership forum established

Another recommendation in the Report was that an advisory group drawn from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors be established.

This group, named the Partnership Forum, was convened by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in the summer of 2012 and reports to the Minister.

The Partnership Forum provides a venue for government and the not-for-profit sector to discuss key issues identified in the Partnership Project report as well as other issues, challenges, trends and opportunities as they emerge. The membership provides expert advice and direction to government on key initiatives being undertaken by government. The forum has already met a number of times to date, and plays a leading role in fostering coordination and collaboration.

2012–2013 Partnership forum members

Build sector capacity

Open for Business Initiative Underway

The not-for-profit sector was one of seven industry sectors invited to participate in the Open for Business process, a government initiative to create faster, smarter and more streamlined government-to- business services. During the sector strategy process, the sector was represented by the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN).

The ONN worked with Open for Business to identify five of the sector’s priorities to strengthen its relationship with the Ontario government. Work has either been completed or is currently underway on all five fronts.

1. Streamline and Modernize Government Funding

The June 4, 2012 agreements under Open for Business made commitments to both short- and longer-term reforms to simplify
and standardize the transfer payment process with community service organizations.

The ONN represents stakeholders, and the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is coordinating government involvement.

Consultation and planning is organized through the Joint Funding Reform Steering Committee.

Communication and collaboration with central agencies and various ministries continues to grow. Activities to date include:

2. Provide Consistent Information on Police Records Checks

Working with a number of sector stakeholders, including the ONN and Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources – Ontario (PAVR-O), Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services developed an online resource tool to assist with the sector’s police record checks.

This resource provides the sector with consistent information on provincial government legislative and regulatory requirements regarding police checks and enhances the appropriate and effective use of police records checks in the screening process.

The toolkit was made available on the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Ministry
of Community Safety and Correctional Services websites in January 2013. This recommendation is fully complete.

3. Expand the Infrastructure Ontario Loan Program

Ontario’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Infrastructure Ontario have formed a joint working group with the ONN and other sector representatives. Its purpose is to conduct a review of previous expansions of the loan program, and to address the needs of not-for-profit organizations applying to the loan program.

The working group also identified facilitator organizations that can help eligible sector organizations prepare successful loan program applications and business plans. Infrastructure Ontario has agreed to provide advice and outreach to support these organizations. Following the recommendations of the working group, a proposal for the expansion of the program will be put forward for the government’s consideration later in 2013.

4. Maximize Public Investment Returns for Surplus Government Lands

Ontario’s Ministry of Infrastructure (MOI) has received approval to include not-for-profit corporations without share capital and with public benefit purpose on the list of entities eligible to purchase surplus MOI lands at market value prior to them being placed on
the open market.

MOI, Infrastructure Ontario and the ONN have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for ONN to manage a registry of eligible organizations. This on-line registry was launched in April 2013, effectively fulfilling this recommendation. Eligible organizations now have access to surplus government lands.

For more information, please visit: www.theonn.ca/open-for-business-ontario/ government-lands-registry.

5. Provide Broader Public Sector Access to Ontario’s Vendors of Record

The Ministry of Government Services has developed a process, products and tools to assist transfer payment entities to have enhanced use of corporate Vendor of Record arrangements. These will be introduced in 2013.

Partnership grants awarded

The Partnership Grants Program focused on building sector capacity by investing in projects with local, regional and provincial outcomes. Projects support intra-sector cooperation, communication and network building to support structural, foundational and systemic issues facing the not-for-profit sector in Ontario. Eligibility for the grant required applicants to form partnerships with not-for-profit organizations, networks or umbrella organizations. Over 50 organizations are benefiting from up to $300,000
of funding for 27 one to three-year projects. Most projects began as early as September 2011.

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) foundation for philanthropy Canada

This capacity building initiative  focuses on providing information and resources to enhance and support charitable giving from a wide-range of diverse communities in Ontario. The project will focus on education, training, and networking for Ontario-based charities, not-for-profit groups, associations, fundraising professionals, and donors. The goal of this project  is to develop a series of workshops and training opportunities focused on mobilizing charitable activities and civic engagement initiatives among a number
of ethnic and immigrant groups, aboriginal peoples, women, youth, francophone and other communities.

Better Beginnings Better Futures

The Better Beginnings Better Futures project aims to engage businesses, public and not- for-profit  organizations in Greater Sudbury in building greater sense of community. Together these groups initiate,  develop and support creative and sustainable solutions to family and community issues facing the Donavan/Flour Mill and Louis Street neighbourhoods. They have already begun to witness greater collaboration among community agencies and social service providers, resulting in increased direct access to community and social services by community members.

Ontario non-profit housing association

The Ontario Non-Profit  Housing Association has been awarded a grant to roll out an innovative new program for strengthening the governance and operations of non-profit housing providers.

The project  will recruit retired employees from the social housing sector to work with Boards of Directors and staff of approximately 20 housing providers that have been identified by their municipal service managers as being “projects  in difficulty” in order to provide mentorship opportunities. Together, they will use existing tools and updated resources to assess and rectify difficulties and problem areas. They will also identify best practices and refine the program and resources for long-term roll out across the province.

Support New Ways to Invigorate Ontario’s Tradition of Volunteerism

NEXT10 Forum

In December 2011, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration hosted the NEXT10 Forum to explore ways to strengthen, support and invigorate volunteerism in Ontario. The forum, which was attended by about 250 participants from the not-for-profit, private and public sectors focused on youth volunteerism and diversity as well as new models and resources for volunteering in the future.

In September 2012, at an online forum hosted by MaRS and the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for NEXT10 participants, Volunteer Canada released Bridging the Gap in Ontario: A Profile on Current Trends in Volunteering, a research report on the nature, scope and trends of volunteering in the Province of Ontario.

The report, commissioned by the Ontario government, proposes new strategies to strengthen and invigorate volunteerism in the province.

The provincial study built on the results of an earlier Canada-wide study on volunteerism called Bridging the Gap: Enriching the Volunteer Experience to Build a Better Future for Our Communities. This research continues to inform the work being done by the Ontario government.

Since the NEXT10 Forum in 2011, an online Partnership Project Facebook community has been formed to promote an ongoing discussion among participants in the not-for-profit, public and private sectors on the current and future state of volunteerism in Ontario.

Modernize, standardize and streamline

Not-for-Profit Web Online Channel in Progress

During the consultations for the Partnership Project not-for-profit organizations stressed the need for an online channel to connect government and the sector. The online channel is currently being developed by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in conjunction with ServiceOntario and in consultation with the sector. The government expects to launch the online channel in Winter 2013.

The online channel will be accessible through ServiceOntario.ca and the government’s One-Source for Business portal, and will provide information and services specifically for the sector.

It will be a one-stop shop information tool and will include the following elements:

The not-for-profit channel is part of the government’s long term strategy of modernizing services and pursuing more effective methods of delivery, including through the online channel.

Grants Ontario manages grant applications and administration

In 2012, the Ontario government launched Grants Ontario, an integrated web-based tool for administering grant applications.

Grants Ontario consists of two components:

It was designed as an Ontario government-wide system that could accommodate more grant and transfer payments in the future. Currently, Grants Ontario supports 60 diverse grant programs offered by:

In the first year of Grants Ontario, there were over 14,000 customer service requests, over 3,200 registered applicants, over 70,000 unique web portal visits, and approximately 5,000 applications in 29 programs that opened since the launch (22 MTCS, 6 MCI, 1 MEDTE).

Invest in social innovation

Social enterprises are innovative, mission-driven organizations focused on solving the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing Ontarians. They include both not-for-profit and for profit organizations that apply business-like
strategies to deliver on their social, environmental and economic missions.

Ontario is already home to thousands of innovative social enterprises, such as JUMP Math and The Stop community food centre, with more starting up every day.

In 2012, Ontario created the Office for Social Enterprise in response to the Partnership Project’s recommendation to invest in social innovation. The office is dedicated to coordinating the government’s services and supports for new and existing social entrepreneurs, educators, and impact investors.

The Ontario government is using a number of initiatives to boost social innovation, such as:

Ontario social innovation summit — The summit was held in May 2011 and attracted over 200 business, government and community leaders to learn from one another and build effective partnerships.

Ontario’s social innovation wiki was launched at the summit. More than 1,500 people participated in the wiki process to crowd-source Ontario’s first policy paper on social innovation between May and September 2011. A number of recommendations from the policy paper were adopted by government, including the establishment of a Solutions Lab.

Solutions lab — With support from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, MaRS is developing a new Solutions Lab. The lab will provide a space outside of government where multi-disciplinary teams can examine complex social problems, explore new ideas and develop prototypes of innovative solutions.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) — With a $1 million investment from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, the OCE is piloting a Social Innovation Partnership program designed to encourage collaboration between start- up social enterprises and established businesses like insurance companies and public utilities. These collaborative projects would lead to better social outcomes and new jobs.

Other government initiatives

Many efforts to strengthen the not-for-profit sector predate and complement the work being done by the Partnership Project. They are described below:

Changetheworld: ontario youth volunteer challenge

The ChangetheWorld: Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge is delivered by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration in partnership with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network and its member volunteer centres.

The program goal is to build and sustain volunteerism in Ontario by increasing the capacity of volunteer centres to involve youth and by creating positive early experiences for youth who volunteer.

The program is launched during National Volunteer Week in April of each year. It is largely delivered by volunteer centres in local communities throughout Ontario and is provincially coordinated by the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network.

Since the program began in 2008, more than 63,000 students have participated and volunteered for more than 265,000 hours in their communities.

ChangetheWorld’s outreach, communications and social media strategies are recognized as best practices for engaging youth in an Ontario government program.

In 2012, a campaign to increase the number of young people to volunteer greatly exceeded expectations. There was an 80 per cent increase in the number of young people who participated and a 77 per cent increase in the total number of volunteer hours over the results of the 2011 campaign.

During the three weeks in 2012, there were 578 community and school events in 313 communities across Ontario and more than 27,000 students contributed 124,000 volunteer hours.

This year, in response to what was learned in the Partnership Project report and requests from the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network, the Ministry increased the campaign period to four weeks and provided volunteer centres with a 3 year funding commitment for the first time.

Ontario volunteer partnership

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration created the Ontario Volunteer Partnership in 2006 to respond to the sector’s request for assistance in addressing operational capacity challenges through improved
risk management.

As part of this partnership, the Ministry funded Imagine Canada to operate the Insurance and Liability Resource Centre for Nonprofits for six years.

The Ontario Volunteer Partnership has been a tangible example of reducing administrative burden on the organizations in this sector through improved operational and management capacity.

Diversecity: the greater toronto leadership project

Founded in 2008, DiverseCity is helping to change the face of leadership within the Greater Toronto Area to better reflect the community’s diversity.

The project, which is led by the Maytree Foundation in partnership with the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, provides newcomers and immigrants with ways to contribute to the community in meaningful leadership roles, and raises awareness of the importance of integrating the talents of diverse citizens for the benefit of everyone. It also prepares diverse leaders for participation through networking, mentoring, and leadership training, and helps them find voluntary leadership roles, which increases their sense of belonging and satisfaction within the community.

The project also aims to increase the desirability and attractiveness of the GTA as a destination of choice, by actively involving and seeking the participation of the region’s diverse population and large pool of talented leaders.

Ontarios Honours and Awards Programs

Through Ontario’s Honours and Awards programs, the government continues to celebrate and recognize the people who make our province a better place to live. The programs acknowledge outstanding achievement in education, health care, business, science and medicine, community service, the arts, and many other fields.

Ontario supports the spirit of volunteerism through recognition and celebrates the diversity of those contributions. Each year the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards program recognizes contributions of volunteers of all ages to their communities and to Ontario at
large. Individuals are recognized for five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 60 or more years of service. Youth are recognized for two or more years of service in 35 communities across the province.

Ontarios Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010

Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA) is targeted to come into force no earlier than January 2014. The new Act will make it easier for Ontario’s not-for-profit corporations to operate and do business in today’s world. It will provide these corporations with up-to-date rules to run the organization, and will ensure greater transparency and accountability.

The new rules will also simplify the incorporation process and give more rights to members as well as provide better protection to directors and officers from personal liability. A not-for-profit corporation will continue to be allowed to engage in commercial activities provided the corporation  use the revenues to support its not-for-profit activities.

The Ministries of Consumer Services, Citizenship and Immigration  and Tourism, Culture and Sport have given a grant to Community Legal Education Ontario  (CLEO) to support not-for-profit corporations as they make the transition to ONCA.

A continuing dialogue

We have made great progress on the recommendations in the Partnership Project report. The groundwork has been laid and in the coming months and years we will build on it.

There is more we must do to work together as partners. The sector is diverse in its size and mission and in the way its members access resources. As the sector continues to grow in importance, the government and the sector’s leaders must understand the role it plays today in creating a rich tapestry of civic activity and an essential economy of care.

The Partnership Project began with a conversation, and the dialogue is ongoing today as the government and the sector work together to build strong communities and improve the quality of life for Ontarians.