Social innovation is a new solution to a social or economic problem which gives better results than traditional approaches. It can improve people’s quality of life through collaborating with new partners, testing creative ideas and measuring their impact. Social finance is a tool that seeks to mobilize private capital for the public good. It creates opportunities for investors to finance projects that benefit society, and for community organizations to access new sources of funds.
Both social innovation and social finance often involve collaboration across different levels of government, charities and the not-for-profit and private sectors to act on a common social issue. This collaborative approach aims to better support communities and improve the lives of those who need it most.
The Government of Canada made the commitment to develop a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy to find new innovative approaches that improve the well-being of Canadians.
In order to gather ideas from communities and regions across Canada, the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group has launched an online consultation. Canadians are invited to share their views through the online engagement before the end of December 2017.
The Steering Group, which was announced on June 8 by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, plays a central role in the co-development of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy with the Government of Canada. By drawing on its members’ broad range of expertise and know-how, and through consultation and engagement activities, the Group will develop policy measures to advance social innovation and social finance, and support the social enterprise sector and the social economy in Canada.
- Social innovation, social enterprise and social finance have been successfully used in countries like the U.S. and the United Kingdom. For example, in the United Kingdom, government support for social finance over the past five years has helped generate over $1 billion (£600 million) in social investment and grow the domestic social enterprise sector, which now employs 2.3 million individuals.
- In recent years, the Government of Canada has been exploring social innovation and social finance to increase the effectiveness of its programs. It is already testing new types of partnerships and approaches (e.g. social impact bonds, micro-loans, pay-for-performance and support for social enterprises).
- Since 2014, several Employment and Social Development Canada grants and contributions programs, including the Homelessness Partnering Strategy and Skills Link, have launched open calls for proposals seeking submissions for innovative projects.