November 2014

The Evolving Role of Charities in the Canadian Economy

11:45am-1:30pm | The Fairmont Chateau Laurier - 1 Rideau St, Ottawa

The role of charities in the Canadian economy has been undervalued by business, government and arguably by charities themselves. However, the sector is now so large and expanding so rapidly that its opportunities it creates for business and government can no longer be ignored.

In Canada, as in most developed economies, the charitable sector is a significate component of national income (8 + % of GNP); a big employer (10+% of employment) and is growing faster than the economy as a whole. This growth is driven by demand and value. Fundamental economic and demographic realities mean that demands for health and social services, culture and recreation are growing rapidly – and these are precisely the areas in which charities specialize and excel.

Like any expanding sector, the charitable sector faces growing pains. Since it is growing faster than GNP while its sources of funding are projected to grow, at best, in line with GNP this creates a significant financial challenge which will require flexibility and innovation in relations with government, donors and business. Its importance as a growing in the knowledge economy will require more and more attention to metrics and the demonstration of value. The changing face of Canada will require innovations in governance and service delivery.

Change and growth and innovation pose problems but the benefits to business and government and charities themselves will be enormous and real. A successful, growing sector will mean more than continued jobs and growth and better services – it will be a necessary condition to create and maintain the country we want to live in, help us remain competitive as a destination for skills and talent in the global marketplace and assure our place as a successful country in the world. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be to develop a new partnership, a new bargain with government, business and donors to make this happen.

Member Pricing:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $801 +HST

Guest Pricing:
Individual: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

The Evolving Role of Charities in the Canadian Economy

Brian Emmett

Chief Economist for Canada’s Charitable and Nonprofit Sector
Imagine Canada

Brian Emmett completed undergraduate studies in economics at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Essex in England and did postgraduate work at the University of Western Ontario.

Mr. Emmett began his career in the Public Service with Environment Canada in 1973, in the Office of the Science Advisor. From 1979 to 1989, he worked with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (now Natural Resources Canada) in the analysis of energy policy issues. During that period, Mr. Emmett took a leave of absence from the Government of Canada (1984-1986) to become the Assistant Secretary for Energy and Mineral Policy for the government of Papua New Guinea.

Mr. Emmett rejoined Environment Canada in 1989 as Director General, Policy and was promoted to Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Policy Group in 1991. He played a key role in the development of Canada’s Green Plan. He also represented Environment Canada and the Canadian government nationally and internationally on environmental issues and was involved in the negotiation of international agreements, protocols and conventions.

In 1995 and 1996, Mr. Emmett was Managing Director of the Propane Gas Association of Canada in Calgary, Alberta.

Mr. Emmett was appointed as Canada’s first Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in 1996. As Commissioner, Mr. Emmett reported directly to Parliament on the environmental performance of the Government of Canada, as well as other environment and sustainable development issues of importance, such as climate change, toxic chemicals and smog. In 2000, he joined the Canadian International Development Agency as Vice President, Policy, working primarily on approaches to improve the efficiency of Canadian assistance to poor countries.

In September 2003, Brian Emmett became Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service, at Natural Resources Canada. As such, he was responsible for an organization with facilities across Canada and for national forest research and policy. Mr. Emmett chaired the North American Forest Commission, represented Canada on the Committee on Forestry of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and was a director on the board of several organizations.

In September 2006 Mr Emmett became the Assistant Deputy Minister. Strategic Policy Sector. In this job he was responsible for policy and strategic analysis for cross cutting issues affecting NRCan as a whole.

In 2007, Mr Emmett joined Sussex Circle, an Ottawa consulting firm specializing in strategic advice to government. In 2013 he became Imagine Canada’s first Chief Economist.

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