Partnering for People
By Teshini Harrison, ONN policy analyst
Every Ontarian is connected to a nonprofit – whether through the cultural festival on the weekend, the environmental program at a local park, the social housing services, the hockey league at the town arena, the child care program, or the community research on food security.” – ONN Value framework for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector
Ontario has a new government. So what now? What is the next step? The new government promises to deliver change and results for the people of Ontario. The nonprofit sector’s role is crucial as this government begins to strategize around how to deliver and implement its plan for the province.
Public benefit nonprofits are a pillar of society and the economy, reaching across sectors, bringing partners and people together. Now is the time to remind ourselves and the new government that we’re all working for the people; together we can ensure that communities across Ontario thrive and prosper.
We are a natural ally and partner for the government. We are creative and innovative in the way we approach challenges and develop solutions to benefit our communities. We employ over one million people, have a volunteer base of five million and generate $50 billion in economic impact. We leverage government investment by generating more than half our income from non-government sources. We deliver consistently and resourcefully while maintaining our ability to invest directly in people and communities.
Over the next fours years challenges and opportunities will arise, but we will be ready to embrace them. ONN will engage the government in order to:
- Strengthen and support the nonprofit sector labour force and its diverse and active volunteer base, as a way to mobilize for communities
- Improve the sector’s funding environment by advocating for the reform of the sector’s investment relationship with the government and for the removal of barriers for nonprofits to earn income
- Ensure that the sector’s regulatory frameworks – policy, legislation, and regulation – support and empower the sector’s work
ONN will support the sector by working to increase engagement and the diversity of our network, championing the sector’s value and impact, and advocating for the policy and systems change needed for public benefit nonprofits and the people they serve across this province.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- Reach out to your local MPP today (if you haven’t already). The legislature is reconvening on Wednesday, so get out there and make sure your organization is heard
- Create dialogue around a local cause and inspire participation – reaching out to the people you serve, volunteers and supporters, and people with diverse views to convene around a cause is vital first step
- Focus on the people you serve, listen and let them tell their stories
- Revisit ONN resources, including our policy agenda, to support your public policy work
- Participate in and catch up on the recordings of ONN’s and Maytree’s Nonprofits Driving Public Policy webinar series to brush up on the ways in which the sector can engage and build relationships with government
- Join us for the upcoming Nonprofit Driven conference to meet people across sectors and consider opportunities for collaboration
- Keep in touch! Connect with ONN through our newsletter or by joining the network, and connect to people and organizations across the sector
So as we wait for the new legislature to start up again, remember that this new government is an opportunity to strengthen the sector, build bridges and expand our reach beyond our silos and ourselves. As we embrace the road ahead, ONN hopes that the new Ontario government seizes on this opportunity because an Ontario that works with public benefit nonprofits is an Ontario that works for people and their communities.