2015 Federal Election: Priorities for Non-Profits & Charities

By Barb Willet

A sense of excitement is building as this long federal election campaign comes to a close next week on Election Day – October 19th. In this election, many Canadians feel as if their vote can truly make a difference, and several organizations are supporting civic engagement and democratic renewal.

Get out and vote!

With the goal of encouraging every Canadian to vote, ABC Life Literacy Canada has partnered with Elections Canada to promote civic literacy. They have developed a guide to assist literacy practitioners in teaching the voting process to adult learners. Access A Guide to Voting: A Literacy Practitioner Workbook for Voting in the 2015 Federal Election to learn more.

Focusing on reaching younger Canadians, the Broadbent Institute recently launched a digital campaign to capture the feeling of urgency and anticipation leading up to the election. The Institute released a humorous video titled Can’t Wait that depicts Canadians abruptly stopping their current tasks to get to the polling station. You can watch the video here: http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/cantwait

Priorities for Non-Profits & Charities

Yet, before you drop everything and vote, it’s important to take a look at the issues. Many charities and non-profits provide a strong sense of key election priorities. Below: some of the topics that matter most in this year’s election and the organizations supporting them.

Aboriginal Affairs

Key Supporters: Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Public Health Association

Why it’s important
The difference between the quality of life experienced by First Nations people and non-Indigenous Canadians is astounding. Ways to eliminate this difference include strengthening First Nations Families and Communities, equitable funding, the preservation of First Nations’ rights, and revitalizing Indigenous languages.

Learn more:

Basic Income Guarantee

Key Supporters: Association of Local Public Health Agencies, Basic Income Canada Network, Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st  Century, Canadian Public Health Association, Ontario Public Health Association

Why it’s important
Poverty is the single largest determinant of health. By providing guaranteed annual income for Canadians, the federal government can help to ensure that all Canadians have a safe place to live and enough to eat.

Learn more:

Child Care & Early Childhood Education

Key Supporters: Canadian Child Care Federation, Canadian Public Health Association, Early Child Development Funders Working Group,

Why it’s important
As stated by CPHA, “Canada has no national program or overall approach to early childhood education and care.” With 70% of Canadian mothers working and regulated childcare spaces available for only 20% of children, this poses a serious financial issue for many families and can also negatively impact child development.

Learn more:

Francophonie & Official Languages

Key Supporter: The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities (FCFA)

Why it’s important
There are 2.6 million Francophones living in Canada and yet the majority of Federal Government programs fail to take into account the specific needs of Francophone populations. Unless the government invests in services targeted to this group, Francophone communities in Canada could continue to diminish.

Learn more:

Federal Protection for Persons with Disabilities

Key Supporters: Accessible Media, Barrier-Free Canada, the Canadian Hearing Society, CNIB, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Why it’s important
There are over four million Canadians with disabilities, and yet many of them are not afforded equal access to government services, transportation, and information. Many may not even have the assurance that they can independently access their neighbourhood polling station on October 19th. All Canadians should have the right to public services that are accessible and barrier-free.

Learn more:

Environmental Health

Key Supporters: Canadian Association of Community Health Centres, Canadian Association of Social Workers, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Medical Association

Why it’s important
In recent years, there have been numerous threats to our environment and Canada has been accused of sufficiently contributing to the fight against climate change. Action needs to be taken now to ensure that Canada’s vast natural resources can be preserved for future generations.

Learn more:

Food Security

Key Supporter: Food Secure Canada

Why it’s important
The implementation of an effective food policy could impact myriad aspects of Canadian life. Addressing serious issues such as hunger, unsustainable food production, climate change and unhealthy diets, a national food policy focused on zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and a sustainable food system could make a measurable difference.

Learn more:

Mental Health & Addictions

Key Supporters: Canadian Public Health Association, The Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Why it’s important
One in five people in Canada experiences a mental illness or addiction. This results in a $51 billion burden on the Canadian economy. Canadians are calling for prevention, detection and early intervention efforts to promote mental health.

Learn more:

These are only a few of the major issues in this election supported by non-profits and charities. When heading to the polling station, it is important to consider your own priorities and to carefully review what each political party has to offer. You can find direct links to the websites of parties most often mentioned in the media below:

To learn more about election priorities for non-profits and charities, visit Imagine Canada’s Election Hub.