CSNPEI Pre-Budget Submission
The community sector in PEI is at a tipping point, and it is imperative to pay attention to the sector’s budget recommendations. The community sector refers to various organizations, groups, and initiatives that address social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues. These organizations and groups may be the community sector, charities, social enterprises, community development organizations, advocacy groups, and volunteer organizations. As a sector, our ability to serve communities is intricately linked to our resources. If these resources are not robust, our capacity to support communities diminishes. Disregarding these warning signs could lead to the gradual disappearance of crucial community sector organizations’ efforts, impacting the island’s economy and the overall well-being of its residents.
The community sector is currently addressing significant systemic issues with makeshift solutions, and it is unrealistic to expect the sector to sustain this approach. Despite our reputation for resilience and practicality, continuing to operate on limited resources into an uncertain future is not sustainable. The demand for community services is increasing because of food insecurity, a housing accessibility and affordability crisis, growing economic disparity, and climate change. This increasing demand, coupled with rising costs, is outpacing revenues, resulting in the community sector losing valuable employees to more lucrative industries. The community sector serves as the frontline of community support, and the need for such support has never been greater.
- Reclassify 40% of all current project-based funding that is destined for the community sector to be eligible as core funding
- Create a “home in government” for the 1700 community sector organizations in PEI
- Create a provincial volunteer recovery strategy in consultation with the community sector to address the declining rate of volunteerism
- Increase awareness and recognition of the important contribution that community sector make to PEI’s economy and society
Recommendation 1 – Reclassify 40% of all current project-based funding that is destined for the community sector to be eligible as core funding
The community sector is an important, successful, and growing part of the island. They provide essential services and support to individuals and communities. They also offer employees and volunteers broad-based job experiences and rewarding career opportunities.
Despite these many successes, the PEI community sector is growing slower than the rest of the economy or the community sector nationally. PEI’s community sector faces challenges in securing stable funding. Inadequate and uncertain funding impedes their ability to serve the community. The significant amount of time they spend applying for grants or fundraising is time not directly spent on achieving their mission. Food insecurity, a housing accessibility and affordability crisis, growing economic disparity, and climate change have exacerbated these difficulties.
Reclassify 40% of all current project-based funding destined for the community sector to be eligible as core funding. Transitioning to stable, long-term, and flexible core funding for the community sector would reflect the actual cost of delivering services and programs, keep pace with inflation, respond to emerging needs, and reduce administrative burdens on the community sector.
Recommendation 2 – Create a “home in government” for the 1700 community sector organizations in PEI
Currently, there are no ministries responsible for the well-being of the community sector in PEI. While the community sector often has great relationships with their most immediate ministries, more complex and collaborative, innovative work requires a minister-level appointment and office to lead, listen, and enable innovation without red tape.
Establish a “home” for the sector within the government in the form of a body tasked with:
- Regularly convening an interdepartmental working group,
- Convening provincial/federal/territorial meetings,
- Creating policies that cultivate a strong and resilient community sector
- Develop policies addressing broad underfunding and systemic inequity
Recommendation 3 – Strengthen the island community by bolstering volunteerism
Volunteers dedicate their time and expertise to making PEI a better place to live, work, and succeed. Volunteers account for over 50% of community sector paid and unpaid hours. Volunteerism rates and hours have been declining in Prince Edward Island. Without volunteers, the workload and negative toll on staff mental health will continue to grow.
Create a provincial volunteer recovery strategy in consultation with the community sector to address the declining rate of volunteerism.
Recommendation 4 – Increase awareness and recognition of the important contribution that nonprofits make to PEI’s economy and society
An APEC study of the community sector in PEI found that in 2019, the PEI community sector directly accounted for $136 million of GDP, with an additional $78 million in indirect and induced impacts. The sector directly employed 3,350 workers and supported another 900 indirect jobs. PEI has one of the highest volunteer rates in the country, translating into approximately 3,500 full-time equivalent jobs – more than the number of paid jobs in the sector.
Recognizing the substantial and often overlooked contributions of the community sector to the economy and society will foster a deeper understanding of the community sector’s impact and facilitate stronger support from the public, government, and private sectors.
CSNPEI is a network for the 1700 community sector in PEI, focused on achieving a sustainable and valued community sector for PEI. We work to develop an empowered community sector using its collective voice for change. We engage our network of diverse community organizations to work together on issues affecting the sector and channel the voices of our network to governments, funders, and other stakeholders.
For more information:
Alexia Riche, Executive Director
Tel: 902 330 3351, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org