SOCIAL ECONOMY AND COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CANADA: NEXT STEPS FOR PUBLIC POLICY
When the social economy was introduced to the Canadian policy agenda in 2004,it aroused great interest among community-based stakeholders and policy makers. It also raised many questions of definition, scope and appropriate public policy.
The primary goals of this paper are to deepen the collective understanding of the social economy from the perspective of public policy and to support the development of a consensus among stakeholders on the appropriate next steps forward for the Government of Canada’s social economy agenda.
The first section outlines the real and potential contribution of the social economy to Canada’s policy objective. With data on its economic impact and analysis of its relationship to the Government of Canada’s five-point strategy to build a globally competitive and sustainable economy, the authors illustrate its important contribution to Canada’s overall objectives.
The second section discusses the parameters of the social economy and community economic development. It explores the relationship between the two approaches, one focussed on enterprise development and the other on integrated territorial development. It shows how the two stem from common values and from a common goal of integrating social and economic objectives to obtain sustainable and equitable development at the community level. It also shows that the Government of Canada can benefit from an inclusive definition of the social economy, one that embraces enterprise and territorial approaches and includes cooperatives and components of the non-profit or voluntary sector.
The third and fourth sections identify a series of complex challenges facing policy makers and the different categories of public policy that can be used to support development of the social economy.
A fifth section proposes a brief analysis of the existing policies and programs of the Government of Canada and provincial/territorial and municipal governments.A more complete inventory is provided in the Appendix.
Examples of public policy from other countries are discussed in a section that primarily examines the following types of policies: comprehensive strategies for social enterprise, procurement policy, policies in favour of private investment in the social economy and community economic development, neighbourhood
renewal and evaluation.
The final section outlines and explains a series of recommendations addressed to the Government of Canada for new policy initiatives. A brief discussion of the potential outcome has been included for each category of recommendations.
Chantier de l’Economie Sociale du Québec.