Great news! Yesterday, the Standing Committee in charge of the Lobbyists Act review chose to maintain the exemption for public-benefit nonprofit organizations.
Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations commends the Government of Alberta for its recent announcement of additional funding and changes to the Community Grants Program. These changes will support nonprofits as they do their work across the province, and provide clarity.
The Fair & Family Friendly Workplaces Act was introduced yesterday in the Alberta Legislature. The proposed bill puts forward significant changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code.
Budget 2017-18 holds the line on spending as Alberta enters the third year of economic downturn. The budget maintains spending on front-line public services, which is consistent with what the government had signaled leading up to yesterday’s release.
In December 2016, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner, who oversees the Lobbyists Registry, recommended significant changes to the Lobbyists Act. The recommendations call for removal of the exemption for public-benefit nonprofits. The removal of the current exemption would layer an additional administrative burden on Alberta’s public benefit nonprofits, including charities.
CCVO views today’s announcement about funding for audits and planning as a positive first step and a key component of a larger program to support nonprofits with energy efficiency.
CCVO has provided its feedback on the CRA consultation on charities’ political activities. In it, we support the recommendations made by Imagine Canada as they relate to the Income Tax Act.
CCVO provided four recommendations to the Advisory Panel on how future energy efficiency programs can reflect the needs of the nonprofit sector.
Alberta’s new Climate Leadership Implementation Act passes into law measures that were announced through the 2016-17 provincial budget, including Alberta’s new carbon levy. As it is presently structured, the Carbon Levy program places a disproportionate burden on Alberta’s nonprofits and charities that have little means at their disposal to recoup these costs. Read more about what CCVO, and our colleague organizations, are doing on this issue.
Overall, this budget has a stabilizing effect on Alberta’s nonprofit sector, as other sources of revenue are in decline. Most new spending is tied directly to capital investment or election promises, such as those pertaining to climate change and income inequality.
The 2016-17 budget is, by and large, what was signalled by the Government over the past weeks. While it is consistent with election promises, the drastic fall in oil prices has slowed implementation in several areas.
CCVO recommends that PIPA be amended to apply fully to all nonprofit and charitable organizations and activities, subject to an 18-month transition period that includes training and education opportunities.
CCVO recommends that the 2016-17 budget be used to restore and enhance the information available about Canada’s nonprofit-charitable sector and its workforce.
Over the past few months we have encountered some perceptions, and concerns, from service providers around procurement initiatives underway and planned in Human Services. These concerns have arisen for a variety of reasons, and are also linked to the very natural uncertainly that comes from working with a new government. In an effort to ensure people’s concerns are based on facts, rather than misunderstanding or speculation, CCVO reached out to the Ministry of Human Services with some direct questions around the goals, impetus and process of the procurement initiative.
The provincial budget released on October 27 is not transformational; rather, it is transitional. It maintains service levels in a lagging economy, and includes a number of targeted investments and initiatives that are consistent with campaign promises. It signals shifting priorities and suggests a larger transformation may be reflected in the spring budget.
Today’s provincial budget reflects priorities outlined in the NDP election platform and demonstrates the government’s commitment to preserving public programs and services. Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) President and CEO Katherine van Kooy notes that “the priorities laid out in this budget reflect an understanding of the importance of maintaining community services during times of economic hardship and strengthening programs for Alberta’s most vulnerable.”
On December 15, the Alberta Government issued a press release outlining steps that will be taken to control spending through the remainder of this fiscal year through cost containment measures.
The release states that lowered resource revenues and expanding populations pose “unique challenges” for Alberta.
There is nothing unique about the current provincial economic circumstances.
Dear Premier Prentice:
On behalf of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), I am writing you regarding the provincial fiscal situation and messaging from the Province about cost containment measures in the current fiscal year and in budget 2015-16.
We are very concerned about the potential for monetary decisions to compromise the nonprofit sector’s ability to sustain services it provides to communities. CCVO urges the Province to consider the impact of its budgetary decision-making on Alberta’s nonprofit sector. Additionally, we cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that Government facilitate a meaningful conversation with Albertans about the best way to stabilize provincial finances.
Dear Mayor Nenshi and Members of City Council;
Re: Support for Increase in Secondary Suites
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), strongly urges you to legalize and increase access to secondary suites.
CCVO exists to support and strengthen the nonprofit sector. We have a membership of over 300 Calgary based nonprofits that reflect the breadth and diversity of the sector.
This agenda outlines key policy and research priorities along with ongoing and emerging issues that will guide CCVO’s policy and research work for the coming year. It should be viewed as a living document, as the critical issues impacting the sector are anything but static.
Arts and nonprofit organizations impacted by the June 2013 floods are eligible for additional funding to assist in their rebuilding efforts.
In the wake of a cabinet shuffle, there tend to be more questions than answers, and the one Premier Redford announced Friday is no different – particularly as it relates to Alberta’s social services sector, where employment and skills training has been removed from the Human Services Portfolio.
For many years nonprofit sector leaders have maintained that more meaningful and timely consultation between the government and the sector would improve public policy and help identify potential unforeseen consequences of policy or budget decisions before they have an effect on the sector and the clients they serve. It has generally been a hard sell to get governments to put this into practice, but the experience of Alberta’s Human Services Workforce Alliance may signal a change in attitude.
By Geoff Braun, Director of Policy and Research, CCVO
A number of unique items appeared on the menu during Premier Redford’s leadership bid and in the 2012 general election. There was stable and predictable funding for the nonprofit sector, wage parity with comparable positions in the public service, and meaningful involvement in the public policy process.
CCVO has updated it’s 2010 publication Influencing Public Policy to reflect new changes from the CRA. This resource helps nonprofits understand what advocacy activities are considered allowable, under the guidelines of the Canada Revenue Agency Policy Statement on Political Activities (CPS-022)
On March 7, the Government of Alberta released a budget that holds overall operational spending at $36.4 billion, the same level as last year. It forecasts an operational deficit of $451 million before an additional $5.2 billion in capital spending. While some of the implications of this year’s budget for Alberta’s nonprofit sector are immediately apparent, others will come into clearer focus in the months ahead.
Over the past several months, we have seen the emergence of a difficult and long overdue conversation about how we finance the services that Albertans need and expect. Debate about tax options, expenditure controls and the level of services required to meet the needs of a growing population and a strong economy is healthy in a democratic society, but following the government’s release of the 2012-13 third-quarter fiscal report, now projecting a deficit between 3.5 and 4 billion dollars, the public discussion has been dominated by voices such as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Fraser Institute and others who see expenditure reduction as the only solution.
CCVO believes that civil society and democratic engagement are fundamental to the wellbeing of our communities. The following information, resources and links are intended to support nonprofits with their provincial election engagement strategies.
Across Canada, charities have a wealth of in-depth knowledge about their community and the populations they serve. Organizations working on the ground can identify new or emerging issues and opportunities, and be a source of insight and expertise. Sharing this knowledge with all levels of government can lead to the development of and implementation of effective policies that build a healthy and vibrant community.
Under rules set out by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), charities must devote substantially all of their resources to their charitable purposes and activities. They can only use 10% of their resources for allowable political activities (non-partisan) that further their charitable purpose. These restrictions, known as the “10% rule,” are set in CRA’s Policy Statement on Political Activities (CPS-022), an interpretation of the Income Tax Act.
On February 9, the Government of Alberta released what has been widely interpreted as a stay-the course, pre-election budget. Budget 2012 does signal some new directions, however, these will not be implemented prior to the election.
Bill C-470: An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Disclosure of Compensation For Registered Charities)
Update April 20, 2011
With the dissolution of Parliament on March 26, all bills that had not received Royal Assent, including Bill C-470 on compensation disclosure for registered charities, have been terminated. Bills cannot be reinstated; however, a new bill with the same or similar intent to that of Bill C-470 could be reintroduced in the next Parliament. MP Albina Guarnieri, who originally sponsored the Bill C-470, is not seeking re-election, so another member of parliament would have to introduce the bill.
In anticipation of the release of the 2011 Federal Budget, the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations submitted a pre-budget brief to the Standing Committee on Finance that proposed the following three recommendations:
This Pre-Budget submission by CCVO, ECVO, Volunteer Alberta and The Muttart Foundation called for the Provincial government to maintain funding levels for community based organizations, earmark infrastructure spending for community projects, continue to support programs and policies that stimulate charitable giving and continue to support the Alberta Voluntary/Nonprofit Sector Initiative (ANVSI)
This issue of In Brief looks at Bill 1: The Lobbyist Act and the Federal Accountability Act and what their affect on the Canadian and Albertan voluntary sectors will be if they are passed into law in their current form (as of the end of July 2007).