What are Social Innovation and Social Finance?

A Co-Creation Steering Group, appointed by the Government, engaged stakeholders from across sectors and regions to provide recommendations for a pan-Canadian Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy.

What did we hear the Government should do?


Letter from non-government members of the previous Co-Creation Steering Group in relation to the proposed federal Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy, an invitation to help us to build awareness and support for the recommendations:

Get Involved

Let’s promote Government action in 2019 for community-led solutions and national systems change.

Help build awareness for the recommendations and call on your Member of Parliament
to support the Strategy. Use our tools to take action!

Find out more about getting involved. Stay updated on the progress of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. Sign up for more information:


In line with our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Strategy contains twelve recommendations to improve our ability to put social innovation and social finance to work in Canada.

The recommendations for the proposed Strategy are designed to support an ecosystems approach, where each component complements the others.

Governance and Public Service Infrastructure
Recommendation 1
Anchor commitment and long-term policy action toward social innovation and social finance in Canada through federal framework legislation.
Governance and Public Service Infrastructure
Recommendation 2
Establish and fund a permanent multi-sectoral Social Innovation Council.
Governance and Public Service Infrastructure
Recommendation 3
Create a permanent Office for Social Innovation.
Capacity and Skills
Recommendation 4
Improve social purpose organizations’ access to federal innovation, business development and skills training programs.
Capacity and Skills
Recommendation 5
Establish a cross-sector Social Innovation Ecosystem Program to address gaps in early-stage support, capacity building and impact measurement.
Funding and Capital
Recommendation 6
Create a Social Finance Fund to accelerate the development of social finance ecosystems across Canada.
Funding and Capital
Recommendation 7
Ensure federal funding practices support and enable social innovation.
Market Access
Recommendation 8
Incorporate social procurement guidelines, tools and training into Government’s focus on a cohesive sustainable procurement plan.
Policy and Regulatory Environment
Recommendation 9
Address the legal and regulatory issues impeding charities and non-profits from engaging in social innovation, social finance, and social enterprise.
Policy and Regulatory Environment
Recommendation 10
Develop regulatory innovation capacity using ‘sandboxes’ to explore and experiment with new models.
Evidence and Knowledge Sharing
Recommendation 11
Establish a Social Innovation Evidence Development and Knowledge Sharing Initiative.
Awareness and Mobilization
Recommendation 12
Coordinate a national social innovation and social finance awareness campaign.

Indigenous organizations, communities, and individuals
First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and groups who were engaged saw a potential opportunity to adapt social innovation and social finance to their cultural perspectives, in their own manner, and with their own leadership. At a pace determined by communities and National Indigenous Organizations, the Government should further explore potential Nation-to-Nation collaborations. All community participants—and civil society—have roles to play too.

iMPact Day

As part of Imagine Canada’s pilot program iMPact Day, from August 15 – September 16, MPs from across the country have agreed to spend a day with a social purpose organization in their constituency for a deeper understanding of the sector and the challenges they face.

Did your organization host an MP?

To help navigate which MPs are participating and which communities sent out the most invitations, check out our map.

Engagement in iMPact Day Across Canada

Click on a Constituency to see more information.


  • Invitation(s) sent to MPs (larger dots indicate more invitations)
  • MPs who have agreed to participate
This map was created by Maria Swindells as a volunteer GIS Analyst with support from the Social Enterprise Network of Nova Scotia. Disclaimer: This map is not meant for the purpose of navigation, and the owners of this website cannot guarantee the accuracy of the GIS data included. Geographic datasets sourced from the Government of Canada, acquired July 17, 2018. Open Government License

Across Canada, as of August 29, 2018:

  • 427 organizations have invited an MP
  • 35 MPs have agreed to participate and have been matched with organizations

Stories of Social Change

Located in Charlottetown, UpStreet Craft Brewing employs local island youth, donates used grain to local farmers for cattle feed, and has donated almost $30,000 to local community groups. In 2016, this for-profit company and certified B-Corp won Startup Canada’s Social Enterprise Award for community impact.

Located in Vancouver, Atira Property Management is a for-profit business, wholly owned by the registered charity Atira Women’s Resource Society. As a social enterprise, it not only delivers property management services, but provides jobs to hundreds of women and men facing significant barriers to employment. According to an assessment by Ernst and Young, for every dollar received in revenue to Atira Property Management, $4.13 in overall societal value was created in 2016.

Across all sectors of society ecosystems are forming, where a diverse range of organizations and individuals are working together to make their communities more sustainable and inclusive places through social innovation and social finance.