By Neale Carbert, Policy Analyst, and David Mitchell, President and CEO
During the year, there were a number of important decisions, initiatives, and events, including some potential “game changers” for nonprofits in Calgary and throughout Alberta. Here’s CCVO’s Top 10 List of policy files of the year that impacted the nonprofit sector:
1 — Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code will be coming into effect January 1, 2018. The changes to the Code have a huge impact on nonprofits and will require many to update policies and procedures, most notably in the area of overtime and job-protected leave.
2 — Increases in minimum wage. Since the first increase in minimum wage in 2015, nonprofits have been impacted by the financial ripple effect of the increase and the compression effect on other wages, without any commensurate adjustments to government contracts. The minimum wage continued to increase in 2017 (to $13.60) and will move to $15.00 in 2018.
3 — The CRA consultation and panel report on the political activities of charities. (Technically starting in 2016, but so big it spilled into 2017.) This conversation was long-overdue and anticipated by the sector. The panel report shows that our sector has an enormous impact, and paves the way to much-needed changes to CRA regulation and legislation governing charities.
4 — This year’s Lobbyists Act Review. The results of the review mean that public-benefit nonprofits can continue to participate in the policy process and make their voice heard without unnecessary administrative burden.
5 — Alberta Budget 2017 delivered on some commitments in the area of the arts but failed to account for growing costs in the Community Grants Program. A large provincial deficit continues to pose the possibility of looming cuts to government-funded nonprofits.
6 — Creation of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Transition Program allows nonprofits to receive energy audits and rebates on efficient technology, to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
7 — A national working group on data. CCVO joined Imagine Canada, Muttart Foundation, and Ontario Nonprofit Network (among others) to discuss the current state of data about the charitable sector. The group has seen progress in the reinstatement of Statistics Canada’s satellite account surveys to provide better, and more recent, data on the nonprofit sector nationally.
8 — The Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation (COPTER). As part of this year’s Municipal Government Act review, the regulation was updated. The COPTER policy greatly impacts facility-based nonprofits’ and organizations’ abilities to maintain tax-exemption while renovating and updating buildings.
9 — The release of a National Housing Strategy. This is a long-awaited and a symbolic commitment to housing in Canada, with the potential to improve the lives of families and individuals served by social service, housing, and development nonprofits.
10 — The re-election of Naheed Nenshi for a third term as Mayor of Calgary. CCVO intends to hold Mayor Nenshi—a friend of the sector—to his commitment made during our mayoral forum during the municipal election campaign and host him for a bear-pit session with the nonprofit community in the New Year. We are looking forward to hosting the Mayor for an open dialogue about the issues facing nonprofits in Calgary. Look for an invitation to attend the session and ask your questions to Mayor Nenshi in the new year.
What do you think were the most impactful policy files this year? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org.