Over the course of the summer, many Albertans have been waiting for the outcome of the PC leadership race. It is an encouraging sign for Alberta’s nonprofit and voluntary sector that an incoming premier has addressed nonprofit policy as part of her campaign platform. Premier-designate Alison Redford has indicated a desire to address some of the major issues that have been raised by the voluntary sector. “Tens of thousands of Albertans of all ages depend on nonprofits and while these service providers receive well-deserved respect for their outstanding track records, the funding and support they need to excel is too often absent,” says Redford on her website. “It’s time for a change.”
In her campaign platform, Redford communicated her intent to change how government works with nonprofits by including them in policy dialogue early on in the process and by, “...using their knowledge to craft precisely targeted, high impact legislation.” She also called for a new Department of Human Services that would serve to amalgamate departments responsible for social service programming, creating a “single point of entry” for non-profits.
Redford’s platform also identified the following strategies aimed at enhancing the sustainability of the sector:
- Work to bring salaries up to par with public sector social services. This will help agencies retain skilled staff, save them money on training and ensure that clients can depend on seeing familiar, friendly faces;
- Apply my stable and predictable funding model to this sector, providing organizations with long-term contracts that allow them to plan ahead and budget effectively;
- Shift from per-hour to outcome-based contracts, giving agencies the flexibility to respond to client needs as they see fit;
- Change contract terms to allow for funding increases in response to rising service delivery costs;
- Assist agencies with funding and support for recruitment campaigns designed to attract the skilled and compassionate staff non-profits need to serve Alberta's growing population.
It is promising that contained within this platform are elements that are very much aligned with priorities identified by the voluntary sector. CCVO has long supported efforts to enhance the dialogue across public and voluntary sectors through its work on the Alberta Nonprofit/ Voluntary Sector Initiative (ANVSI). Likewise, there is an urgent need to address human resource issues and improve upon existing funding models.
Some of the proposed changes may raise concerns within certain subsectors. In principle, a shift away from funding service activities to funding outcomes is supported by many service providers. However, this has proven challenging to implement where services are designed for complex needs clients. This underscores the need for meaningful dialogue with service providers and recipients alike. We are encouraged by the Premier-designate’s stated intent to work with the voluntary sector to develop sound policy.
The campaign policy platform focused primarily on government contracted human services, a major point of contact between the Province and the voluntary sector. CCVO looks forward to opportunities to discuss these objectives, as well as how to create a policy environment that supports the full breadth and scope of voluntary sector work that supports the health and vitality of our communities.
CCVO welcomes the opportunity to work with the new premier, and a new cabinet, to ensure that nonprofits and charities remain on the agenda for change.
source : CCVO
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