Highlights of the Federal 2019 Budget

The 2019 Federal Budget was tabled on March 19, 2019 by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The budget, Investing in the Middle Class, includes new investments for the 2019 year, with a heavy focus on longer term funding and fewer immediate budget spending measures. The budget includes new funding opportunities for nonprofit and charitable organizations in nearly every subsector. CCVO has analyzed some of the key investments and opportunities that may be relevant to the nonprofit sector.

The Social Finance Fund

As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada proposed to develop a Social Finance Fund to give charities, nonprofits and social purpose organizations access to new financing, connecting them with non-government investors for projects that drive positive social change (see CCVO’s news post for more details on this).

Budget 2019 gives more details on the Fund:

  • The Fund will be managed through professional investment managers with expertise in social impact reporting, with proven ability to promote inclusive growth and diversity in the social finance market.

  • The Fund Manager(s) will invest in existing or emerging social finance intermediary organizations that have leveraged private or philanthropic capital for co-investment.

  • A minimum of $100 million will be allocated towards projects that support greater gender equality.

  • A $50 million investment will be made in the newly proposed Indigenous Growth Fund.

  • CCVO encourages interested nonprofits to continue monitoring news updates for more details on the Fund and associated opportunities.  

Health & Wellbeing

Budget 2019 reaffirms the 2017 Budget investment in mental health ($11 billion over 10 years), with a focus on expanding access to community-based mental health and addiction services, especially for children and youth. The 2019 budget also focuses on developing new opportunities for ensuring persons with disabilities are able to fully contribute to our society and economy, following recommendations from the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Development and the Status of Persons. There is a total of 20 measures in this budget that are specifically targeted at helping persons with disabilities, including those with chronic health issues.  

Budget 2019 also reaffirms the Government’s commitment to the Poverty Reduction Strategy. The strategy includes adopting an official poverty line based on a basket of goods and services that Canadians require to achieve a modest standard of living, as well as indicators such as housing and literacy. This strategy will create funding opportunities for nonprofits devoted to poverty alleviation.   

Arts, Culture & Sports

Budget 2019 proposes to provide $16 million over the next two years to the Canada Arts Presentation Fund, supporting nonprofit professional performing arts organizations, including festivals and performing art series. Similarly, the budget proposes to provide $24 million over two years to the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program and the Celebration and Commemoration Program; supporting more festivals and community-based celebrations. The budget also proposes $30 million over five years to enable sports organizations to promote accessible, ethical, equitable and safe sports.

Indigenous Peoples

In its commitment to chart a new path forward toward reconciliation and to renew the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Peoples, the budget contains 24 measures that are specifically aimed at helping First Nations, Inuit or Métis across a broad range of areas, including education, economic participation, and health and well-being

 Other Important Funding Opportunities

  • Nonprofits focused on affordable housing and homelessness will be interested in the proposed $2.2 billion program to prevent homelessness, and the $4 billion Canada Housing Benefit to provide financial relief directly to those in core housing need.

  • Nonprofits focused on seniors will be interested in the proposed $100 million over the next five years for a project to improve the quality of life for seniors (improve community kitchens, provide literary classes and volunteer opportunities), and the Government’s commitment to ensure workers receive their CPP pension.

  • The budget proposes a $5 to $6 billion investment in rural broadband over the next 10 years to ensure rural, remote and northern communities are connected. This funding may interest nonprofits located in rural communities or nonprofits that serve people in rural communities. 

  • The budget also proposes $350 million for the Collaboration on Community Climate Action fund, providing nonprofit organizations and municipalities with financing to improve energy efficiency on large community buildings.

  • $45 million over three years is being allocated to fund a new Anti-Racism Strategy. Its key purpose will be to find ways to counter racism in its various forms, with a strong focus on community-based projects.

  • The budget provides $20 million over 2 years, starting in 2019–20 to help address the unique needs and persisting disparities among LGBTQ2+ Canadians by investing in capacity building and community-level work of Canadian LGBTQ2+ service organizations.

  • The budget proposes funding that will tackle systemic barriers impeding the progress of women through a boost in funding to women’s rights organizations. $160 million will be allocated to the Women’s Program over the next five years. By 2023–24, the Women’s Program will total $100 million annually. The budget also continues to include a gender-based analysis.

Canadian Journalism

Also announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada will be developing three new tax measures to support Canadian journalism. The budget’s draft legislation would allow certain organizations to register as ‘qualified donees’ under the Income Tax Act, whereby organizations would be exempt from paying Canadian income tax, allow them to issue official donation tax receipts for individual and corporate gifts, and allow them to receive gifts from registered charities. Budget 2019 provides some clarity on how this would work, stating that an organization must be designated by an independent panel as a ‘qualified Canadian journalism organization’ and can then fill out an application with Canada Revenue Agency to become a qualified donee. Qualifying organizations will not be able to apply for this status until January 2020. It is important to note that while the independent panel will be responsible for recognizing journalism organizations as being eligible under the new tax measures, very few details about the panel are available in the budget 2019 document. For more details on this, please visit Tax Measures: Supplementary Information.

What’s Left Out?

A major ask of the nonprofit community for the 2019 Budget, as indicated by Imagine Canada, was for access to more data and information about the Canadian charitable sector (i.e. a national survey or other data collection methods). This was not included anywhere in the 2019 budget. Further, aside from the introduction of the new form of qualified donee, there was no mention of any new charitable donation tax incentives. 

Click here to view the full budget plan 2019. 

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Federal Budget? Let us know in the comments below!