Social Enterprise

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Legislative frameworks

The legislative environment to support social enterprise in Ontario

In this paper, ONN looks at the big picture and establishes six key priorities for growing the social enterprise sector. The important contribution and potential of social enterprise has only recently begun to be understood and recognized. Read: ONN Policy Blueprint for Strengthening Social Enterprise in the Province of Ontario (September 2014).

No to hybrid legislation

ONN made a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology about proposed changes to the Canadian Businesses Corporations Act. The changes would include the introduction of hybrid legislation for socially responsible enterprises, which ONN finds has not worked for entrepreneurs, investors or communities. Instead, the focus should be on improving existing not-for-profit legislation. Click here to read our submission.

Crowdfunding: Protecting Nonprofit and Charitable Enterprise Participation

With the growth of crowdfunding as a revenue tool for the sector, ONN made a submission to the Ontario Securities Commission on the proposed “prospectus exemptions and proposed reports of exempt distribution in Ontario”, and specifically the proposed crowdfunding prospectus exemption. ONN advises that:

  • all types of start-ups and small and medium enterprises be able to benefit from the proposed exemptions, regardless of corporate form, including nonprofits and charities
  • debt securities are an essential offering to be included under the proposed exemptions
  • compliance costs to crowdfunding issuers and portals be minimized for nonprofits and charities.

Read our full submission: ONN Submission to the OSC re. Crowdfunding

A Social Enterprise Showcase for Nonprofits in Ontario

SEontario.org is a community-driven showcase of social enterprise and the social economy in Ontario. ONN worked with a collaboration of regional and national nonprofits to create an online space that demonstrates the geographic scope and community impact of social enterprise across Ontario. Check out its geo-mapped searchable database, storybank and wide range of resources, marketplaces and events.

Social Enterprise Strategy for Ontario

The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade & Employment has released its province-wide plan Impact: A Social Enterprise Strategy for Ontario. It was great to see that almost every example came from the nonprofit sector. ONN responded directly to Minister Hoskins in a letter to note that while we were pleased to see these examples, there has been concern from sector leaders that recommendations focus predominantly on emerging for-profit social enterprises.

Read our letter to the Ministry (PDF)


The Social Finance Census

As a joint project of the Ontario Nonprofit Network and the Social Venture Exchange, the Social Finance Census is the first survey to take a look at what’s happening on the ground in this province, across social ventures in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. For making this report possible, thanks to ONN sponsors: the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI); and SVX sponsors: Social Innovation Generation (SiG) at MaRS, the TMX Group Inc., Causeway Social Finance, and the Government of Ontario. This report’s all-new data on Social Ventures in Ontario lays the foundation to better identify some trends in the nonprofit sector. For example, of the 196 nonprofits surveyed, ninety – almost half – are currently engaged in social enterprise, and of those not engaged, 32% are thinking about starting a social enterprise in the next two years. This information speaks to many of the changes and challenges facing the nonprofit sector as we look towards 2011.

The Executive Summary gives an overview of these issues, and the full Social Finance Census Report, 2010 details the data. “While social enterprise activities will likely never be able to fully replace the need for government grants and charitable dollars to fund certain core activities of a nonprofit, such strategies can allow organizations to provide employment, training, and products and/or services directly to the constituency they seek to serve, resulting in a more dynamic and inclusive social change strategy for the entire organization.”