What does the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Legislation mean for Alberta Nonprofits?

by Alexa Briggs, CCVO Manager, Policy & Research The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation was passed by the provincial government in June 2018 to enable municipalities to establish a program that assists property owners to make energy efficiency upgrades. It is a voluntary program that provides financing, which is repaid through property taxes. Municipalities must pass a PACE bylaw in order for residents to participate. My nonprofit is exempt from property tax, am I eligible? In short, yes. There is a mechanism for nonprofits to secure the financing for eligible energy efficient upgrades. If you want details, contact Energy Efficiency Alberta to find out more. My nonprofit rents or leases our space, how can we take advantage of the program? Nonprofits may wish to see property owners take advantage of energy efficient upgrades with the goal of reducing their operational costs. The provincial government intends to: work with nonprofits to develop resources that will assist in negotiations with landlords; do outreach to property management companies; and work with organizations like the Alberta Real Estate Association to encourage property owners to take advantage of this opportunity. What’s next? Whether or not a PACE program becomes available in Calgary depends upon The City of Calgary’s approval of a PACE bylaw. As PACE unfolds in Calgary, CCVO will: continue to work towards ensuring that operational savings earned by property owners are passed on to nonprofit organizations; encourage minimal administrative burden on nonprofits; share updates to keep the sector informed about developments. What can my nonprofit do right now? Your nonprofit can contact Calgary City Council and The Mayor to find out...

A Whole New World: 4 Things to Watch for and Consider in the New OH&S Act

by Christopher Spasoff, guest blogger Founder & OH&S Lawyer, F2 Legal Counsel It’s now been just over a month since Alberta’s new Occupational Health and Safety Act took effect. The Act introduced not only a number of new obligations and stakeholders, but an entirely new concept of workplace health and safety that extends beyond the worksite itself, and includes things like domestic violence, psychological health, and social well being. To put it mildly, the changes are aplenty, and are taking workplace health and safety in Alberta to a place it’s never been. Industry and academics have spent the past several months opining on what the changes mean for employers and workers alike, in both a legal and practical/operational sense. Similarly, much has already been said and written on everything from whether the changes are a good thing or a bad thing, to whether they’ll even prove effective. That, of course, remains to be seen in the coming months and years, as employers implement, officers enforce, and courts ultimately interpret them. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot more to come. For the time being though, the changes are neither good nor bad. They simply are. And as you wade through the mounds of information – and unfortunately some misinformation – there are a few things in particular to consider: Signing up for the Alberta Government’s Health and Safety eNews. Each month, the Alberta Government publishes it’s Health and Safety eNews, an electronic newsletter covering hot topics and current issues in occupational health and safety. The June 2018 version, for example, included clickable links to a number of additional resources...

Lobbyists Act – Call to Action

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.

Carbon Levy Update

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.

Human Services Procurement Q & A

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.

Alberta Minimum Wage Increase – What We’ve Heard

On May 29th the Government of Alberta announced that they are moving ahead with the plan to raise the minimum wage in Alberta to $15/hour by 2018. With a phase-in to start October 1st, 2015 the Government has been undertaking consultations throughout the month of June and the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations was invited to attend. The consultations focused on how to phase in the increases, phase out the differential in minimum wage for food and beverage workers who serve alcohol and other issues the Government needs to consider. Prior to attending, CCVO consulted with nonprofit stakeholders and reached out to our members with a short survey to capture information on how the proposed increase would affect their organizations. CCVO used the feedback to inform our input during the consultation. Thank you to those who responded to our survey.  What follows is a summary of what we’ve heard. Current Wages Given the breadth and diversity of the nonprofit sector, the impact of increasing minimum wage will vary significantly. Many of the larger, professionalized  nonprofits do not have positions that pay less than $15 per hour. But there are many others that have positions that earn less than $15 per hour, such as day camp counsellors, night relief staff, or custodial workers. Potential Impact The primary concerns raised by those who responded to our survey are as follows: Financing Wage Increases While some organizations are able to adjust prices to account for increased payroll costs, many cannot. Therefore, some anticipate they will have to reduce staff hours and/or positions. The Ripple Effect Organizations have expressed concerns about how the...

NDP Platform Highlights

The following is a compilation of statements taken from the Alberta NDP 2015 Election Platform that are particularly relevant to Alberta’s non-profit and charitable sector. Statements are taken verbatim. CCVO has reordered some of the statements and in some cases, added different headings. We have also removed reference to the Progressive Conservative Party and former Premier Prentice in these statements. Children & Families | Communities & Municipalities | Economic Diversification | Education | Employment | Environment & Climate | Fiscal Framework | First Nations & Indigenous People | Gender Equality | Health | Social Services | Budget Summary Children and Families We will invest in child care, creating new spaces and improving affordability, quality and access. We will move toward $25-a-day care in quality child care centres as Alberta’s finances permit. We will immediately implement enhancements to the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit and the Alberta Working Family Supplement so low income families do not have to wait more than a year to benefit. We will also adjust the Supplement to ensure all low income families can access it. We will review employment standards to support family-friendly work standards, including improving compassionate care leaves and providing time off for family responsibilities. Communities and Municipalities We’ll provide stable, predictable funding to both large and smaller municipalities and ensure they have resources they need to fulfill infrastructure priorities, such as transit. We will maintain the Municipal Sustainability Initiative. We’ll ensure rural communities have access to needed health care, education and infrastructure services. As part of this commitment, we will sit down with local government stakeholders to review the question of linear assessment....

Alberta’s Fiscal Future: An important message from CCVO

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.

An open letter to Premier Prentice

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.

Shuffling the Deck

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.

A Promising Example of Successful Government & Sector Dialogue: The Workforce Alliance Experience

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.

Serving Up Change

By Geoff Braun, Director of Policy and Research, CCVO

The Menu

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.

2012 Provincial Election Resources

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.

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