Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy
As Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, I’m proud of how our country looks after many Canada’s most vulnerable people. At the same time, however, I’m well-aware of the work that still needs to be done to address complex challenges like chronic unemployment, homelessness and social isolation. Such challenges cannot be easily solved through traditional ways of doing things or by any single level of government or organization. Tackling these social issues requires innovative approaches and new ways of thinking.
In order to help foster such innovation, our government announced that we would be developing a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy that supported communities in addressing their most difficult challenges. I was fortunate enough to be tasked with overseeing the development of this strategy in partnership with my colleague the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
Since then, we have taken a number of concrete steps towards developing this strategy. Recognizing the collaborative and open spirit of social innovation, we announced the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group in June 2017. A few months after that, in September 2017, we launched an Social Finance and Social Innovation online consultation, to allow community leaders to share their views and ideas, and ultimately help us tap into innovative thinking that is working for the benefit of all Canadians.
For months, we have been listening and gathering ideas from across Canada. Our Steering Group has hosted a number of meetings, involved over 120 experts and practitioners in an online deliberative process, and taken part in events like the MaRS Social Finance Forum.
More than a thousand people have taken part in our online consultations, participating in the discussion forum, taking quick polls, and sharing their stories. We have heard from think tanks, co‑operatives, social enterprises, business and community leaders.
If you haven’t yet shared your ideas and insights, I want you to know there’s still time for you to participate: you have until January 31, 2018 to provide your input into the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy!
Your feedback will help shape a strategy that serves as a call to action and a road map, not only for the federal government, but for all sectors. Initiatives identified in the Strategy will expand the reach of social action, marrying the best practices of business and sustainability with the caring and dedication that people bring to social issues.
We are fortunate to live in a country rich in ideas, knowledge, expertise, and, most importantly, heart. The Social Finance and Social Innovation Strategy will combine these strengths in a way that changes how Government works and how it delivers its programs. I’m grateful to each and every person who has shared their ideas and stories with us so far, and I hope to hear from all of you, too!