About The Partnership Project

Archived Backgrounder

About The Partnership Project

The Partnership Project was an eight-month consultation process to discover ways on how to strengthen the relationship between the Ontario government and the not-for-profit (NFP) sector to best support Ontario families. The project was launched on April 22 and culminated in a report submitted to the Premier in December, 2010.

Project co-chairs - Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Dr. Eric Hoskins and Helen Burstyn, Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation - met with representatives from hundreds of organizations at nine regional roundtables. The Co-Chairs also met with representatives from arts, environmental, social services and youth serving organizations, as well as funders and representatives from private sector and family foundations. Submissions were also received on-line at the Project's website and more than 400 people registered to follow discussions online.

Participants were invited to share their views on how government can be more responsive, supportive and accessible to the sector. Participants advised on legislation, policies, structural issues and funding mechanisms. They also contributed ideas on how to better coordinate policy, research and communication with and for the sector.

The Report and Next Steps

The Partnership Project report details the feedback received during the conversation between the government and the NFP sector.  The report also outlines recommendations to enhance this relationship. These are:

Promote Respect and Recognition

1. Promote a culture of respect and recognition within government and across the province.

  • Appoint a minister to be responsible for, and accountable to, the sector.
  • Issue an annual report on the state of the NFP sector and progress made in strengthening the sector and its relationship with the government.

Foster Coordination and Collaboration

2.   Provide the NFP sector with an identifiable, central and authoritative point of contact within government.

  • Create a coordinating body within government for the NFP sector to act as a central point of contact for the sector and to coordinate inter-ministerial collaboration.
  • Establish an advisory group, drawn from the public, private and NFP sectors, to guide the ongoing work of the coordinating body.

Build Sector Capacity

3. Address the funding, operational and capacity challenges facing NFP organizations by adopting an approach - across all ministries - that provides similar supports, consideration and recognition received by for-profit organizations in Ontario.

  • Enhance communication with the sector.
  • Develop avenues for greater collaboration in policy development and legislative and regulatory oversight.
  • Work with the sector to develop new approaches to funding, as well as appropriate performance and accountability measures.
  • Invest in projects that support intra-sector cooperation, communication and networks.
4. Support new ways to reinvigorate Ontario's tradition of volunteerism.

  • Convene a forum on the future of volunteerism in Ontario to mark the ten-year anniversary of the International Year of the Volunteer and further strengthen, support and acknowledge volunteerism.
  • Encourage volunteerism among all Ontarians, including youth, newcomers and seniors, through social media and recognition awards.

Modernize, Standardize and Streamline

5. Leverage technology to break down silos, increase transparency, and share information.

  • Establish an online portal which will act as a one-stop-shop for information on new laws, new programs, available sources of funding, consultation opportunities and sector-related resources and information.
  • Create a province-wide database to streamline applications for funding, amalgamate and disseminate information on not-for-profit organizations, and better coordinate ministries and agencies.

Invest in Social Innovation

6. Invest in social innovation.

  • Work with the Government of Canada and Canadian financial institutions to address regulatory and legal barriers to social innovation, and make a range of social financing tools available to Ontario's not-for-profit sector.
  • Identify new resources and vehicles for encouraging innovation and collaboration within the not-for-profit sector

The Partnership Project's recommendations have been accepted as the vision for the Ontario government's continued partnership with the NFP sector. 

To push this vision forward, Ontario will establish the Office of the Partnership Project. This office will act as the point of contact between the sector and government on issues of common interest and concern. A Partnership Advisory Group of leaders from the private, public and NFP sector will provide strategic advice to guide this work. A new annual report will provide updates on the status of Partnership Project recommendations and will explore the state of Ontario's NFP sector.

Impact of Ontario's Not-For-Profits

The NFP sector delivers vital services to Ontario families and sustains economically vibrant communities.  The impact of the sector can be seen through its contributions to Ontario, through programs supporting the province's health, culture, social services, housing, environmental conservation and economic development.

The total economic impact of Ontario's NFP sector is nearly $50 billion, representing more than seven  percent of GDP, a figure greater than the automobile and construction industries combined. The sector employs almost one million Ontarians - 15 percent of Ontario's total workforce. In addition, the sector partners with over five million Ontarians who volunteer more than 800 million hours annually.

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