On October 26, members of the Canadian CED Network, Stacia Kean and Lynne Markell, together with Executive Director, Mike Toye presented CCEDNet's pre-budget brief to the House of Commons Standing Commitee on Finance.
The brief makes five recommendations to improve the environment for community enterprises. It also outlines legal frameworks, tax incentives, direct financial supports and other measures that many nations (notably Belgium, France, UK, US, and Spain) have created to encourage community enterprises. In these jurisdictions, community enterprises activate and organize citizens and communities to drive economic recovery in such a way that creates social and economic benefits.
Click here to read the brief.
This year, several regional CED events are being planned across the country for Spring 2011. Also, the Canadian CED Network has partnered with the Chantier de l'economie sociale for the International Forum on the Social and Solidarity Economy in Montreal in October 2011.
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in the BC CED event, complete this survey or send an email to Chelsea Calder firstname.lastname@example.org. Chelsea is the event organizer and a CreateAction intern hosted by Tradeworks Training Society in BC.
By David LePage, Program Manager for enterprising non-profits
The social enterprise sector in BC continues to develop and grow. Across the province, we’re seeing more business models and greater community impacts: including increased employment opportunities for targeted groups, food security initiatives, increased theatre and arts options, and on and on. Some recent launches include a mobile abattoir in the Cariboo area, an electronic recycling centre in Creston, and Everything But the Kitchen Sink in Vancouver’s DTES with some stock straight from the Olympic Village and the lost & found centre which they operated during the Games.
Continuing to develop a supportive environment for this growing sector requires an integrated system built upon four key pillars: Greater Understanding and Awareness; Improved Business Skills in the Non-Profit Sector; Access to Appropriate Financing; and Enhanced Market Opportunities. (Click here for the report from the BC Social Enterprise Summit in 2008 where this framework was developed.) Many groups and efforts are engaged in these activities.
Clearly, access to investment capital is one of the key pillars of a supportive environment for social enterprises, especially as new businesses launch and others grow and scale. One new option proposed to facilitate new investment into social enterprises is the creation of hybrid corporations that blend social outcomes and limited investor returns.
Last week, the BC Ministry of Finance posted notice of a consultation on the potential development of a Community Interest Corporation (CIC), “seeking your input on the CIC model itself as well as whether the availability of the CIC hybrid will impact existing non-profit and for-profit entities operating in the province.” Information and the letter inviting comments can be found at http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/prs/cicc/. Comments are due December 1, 2010.
The Ministry’s announcement states, “CICs would be incorporated with all the flexibility and certainty of regular companies, but under legislation that ensures they primarily benefit the community. Dividends on CIC shares and interest on bonds would be capped to ensure that profits are either retained by the CIC or funneled to the community benefit. Becoming a CIC would signal publicly that a company will be conducting its business for social purposes and not purely for private gain. This “branding” could help attract investment capital that is currently not accessible to the social enterprise sector.
CICs would allow an option currently not available with a regular business corporation, whose primary focus is making money for shareholders, or a society, which is not allowed to make a profit.”
What is interesting in BC is that under the current corporate law regulations a for-profit corporation could in fact decide to ‘conduct business for a social purpose and not purely private gain’. However, if the business was ever sold, that ‘social purpose’ would not have to be followed by the new owners. The proposed CIC model would make the ‘social purpose and the limited returns to investors’ effective in perpetuity.
So the current Ministry proposal is not a new regulatory arena, but proposes “amendments to the Business Corporations Act to allow for the incorporation of a new hybrid type of company - the Community Interest Company (CIC) - which would both benefit the larger community and allow limited investor returns within the context of a traditional for-profit company.”
I would encourage you to submit your comments to the Ministry to support a comprehensive supportive environment for social enterprise, including this CIC proposal as “one element” of building a supportive environment for social enterprise. We want to emphasize the fact that we need to continue to build all the pillars, and within the Ministry of Finance especially this means the inclusion of social enterprise in the tax credit regulations and the adoption of a society’s act that encourages and supports social enterprise activities.
Information and the letter inviting comments can be found at http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/prs/cicc/. Comments are due December 1, 2010.
The authors make the case for investment in green jobs as a way to transition to a sustainable economy and then outline a framework for doing so. Here's a snapshot of the argument:
Fully 80% of BC's commercial and industrial GHG emissions come from but four sectors: mining, oil and gas, transportation and manufacturing. "A few hotspots stand out for having high levels of GHG emissions per worker: mining, oil and gas extraction, electricity generation, transportation and agriculture. "The biggest culprit is the oil and gas industry, which provides very little direct employment in return for its substantial emissions." These industries are subsidized by the province by providing transportation infrastructure (roads and bridges), access to low cost electricity and tax breaks. Jobs associated with these industries are high-paid, unionized providing a decent standard of living, while jobs with a low carbon footprint, such as those in the service sector, have been typically low-paying. "For a green industrial revolution to truly fulfill its potential, green jobs must be synonymous with decent work."
The authors plot a course with seven key routes: building retrofits, public transportation, green manufacturing, research, adaptation planning, a green social contract and carbon transfer.
Read it here.
"Victor is one of the best instructors I've ever had." Student evaluation, October 2010
"Melanie is a great source of knowledge, expertise and, of course, her actual hands-on knowledge is invaluable." Student evaluation, October 2010
"I found this course very useful because of the following: 1) I learned what type of projects attract financing. 2) I learned the different components to a financing plan, and 3) I learned the key expectations of people who provide financing." student evaluation, February 2010
Wiring the Social Economy (Vancouver, December 4)
Five reasons to go to Quebec next fall:
1) The blaze of fall, 2) the return of the snow geese, 3) Quebeckers
more info coming soon www.canadianworker.coop
The enterprising nonprofits program is accepting applications until November 25. Grants support nonprofits that are starting or expanding businesses. Click here.
The Real Estate Foundation is accepting applications until December 3 for grants which support land use knowledge and practice in BC leading to sustainable land use practices. Click here.
Community Action Initiative is accepting applications until December 20 for programs that prevent mental health and substance abuse. Click here.