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ONN’s Pre-Budget Submission for 2020

In the midst of growing and complex socio-economic and environmental challenges like housing affordability, climate emergency, mental health, and the automation of jobs, Ontario’s nonprofits continue to innovate, partner, and create public value. At the same time, they are a pillar of Ontario’s economy, contributing $50 billion to our province’s GDP, through job creation and investments in their local economies. ONN’s 2020 Pre-Budget submission is a proposal for the Ontario government to provide a supportive public policy environment for Ontario’s nonprofits to maximize their social and economic contributions, while playing a bridging role to keep government connected to, and appropriately supporting, the people it serves.

Our three recommendations:

Continue to tackle red tape that has the nonprofit sector and government spending too much time on paperwork

  • Create a joint government-nonprofit table to consolidate Transfer Payment Agreements (TPA) and further reduce red tape.

  • Proclaim the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) in 2020 to prevent its expiry at the end of this year – and make public the new data from the nonprofit registry.

  • Create an equivalent to the Small Business Access portal for nonprofits so that they can easily access legislation, regulations, and funding opportunities that affect them. Cut red tape for volunteers who need police record checks.

Build local prosperity across Ontario through nonprofit social enterprise

  • Develop a made-in-Ontario social enterprise strategy with the nonprofit and co-operative sectors to drive local job creation and to support rural, remote, and urban self-reliance.
  • Require all ministries and the broader public sector (including school boards) to list surplus lands on the Nonprofit Lands Registry as part of the updated surplus land disposal process. Thriving communities need facilities like affordable housing, child care centres, and recreation centres. To offer these services, nonprofits must be able to access land and space at reasonable prices. A strategic way to achieve this is to provide access to public property when it is no longer needed.
  • Include a social procurement policy in regulations under the new Supply Chain Management Act, with targets for the first and second tiers of the supply chain, to ensure that the centralization of supply chains does not undermine local economies generally and nonprofit social enterprise in particular.
  • Promote financial sustainability and a stable base for community services by enabling nonprofits that deliver services on behalf of government to retain any surpluses for program investments or capital asset purchase and maintenance.

Support the hard-working nonprofit staff who help communities thrive

  • Exempt community-governed nonprofits from wage restraint legislation (Bill 124) to create a level playing field for talent recruitment with corporations, and enable a sector with wages that are 29 per cent lower than the Canadian average to keep pace with inflation.

We note that 2019 was a difficult year for Ontario nonprofits which saw delays up to five months and more in TPA renewals while continuing to provide services for Ontarians, the rapid restructuring of many funding streams, the reversal of legislation that would have improved employment conditions across the province, the reduction of budgets for the Ontario Trillium Foundation and other funding streams, and the cancellation of two major social enterprise development funds. As ONN’s 2019 province-wide survey of nonprofits indicated, the sector was left reeling from the breadth and pace of change, as well as from the lack of advance consultation.

We urge the Ontario government to sit down with the nonprofit sector in advance of making substantive changes to regulatory or funding frameworks that affect communities. We have been encouraged by recent government announcements that indicate a commitment to deeper engagement with nonprofits on policy issues that affect them and their communities, such as the recent Transfer Payment Consolidation announcement.

ONN remains committed to working with government toward our shared objective of a strong and thriving province. We look forward to bringing together nonprofits and government representatives to ensure that our two sectors develop public policy that best serves Ontario’s diverse communities.

Read the full budget submission
Share your pre-budget submission
Please share your pre-budget submission, as we track what the sector would like to see in the 2020 budget. To submit, please email our Manager of Communications and Network Engagement, Melanie, at melanie@theonn.ca.

ONN will make a presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance on January 24. Stay tuned for updates.