The Social Finance Fund: a giant step for social innovation

The Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS) applauds the federal government's commitment to supporting impact investing

Montréal, November 26, 2018 – The Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS) is pleased to learn of the federal government’s commitment to create a $755M Social Finance Fund, as announced last week during the fall economic statement. The MIS believes that this fund is essential to support the many social and environmental challenges facing Canadian communities, especially in urban settings. By creating this fund, the government recognizes not only the relevance of social and environmental innovation to maximize and accelerate the impact of solutions put forward by agents of change, but also creates conditions conducive to attracting private social impact investments.

MIS co-director general, Patrick Dubé, says Québec is ready for this kind of shift. 

“In Québec, the social innovation ecosystem is booming. The portion of this Social Finance Fund that will reach Québec communities will certainly help propel the initiatives that are being led by this ecosystem and support their scaling-up to reach a greater number of people.”

He adds that the Social Finance Fund is the incentive that will also drive change in the private sector.

In fact, the federal government says in its economic statement that it wants the fund to mobilize equivalent funding from other investors, including private sector investors, and that it can rely on a sharing of risks and benefits related to investments that are not yet viable in the commercial market.

According to Violaine Des Rosiers, also co-director general of the MIS, this prospective public approach to impact investing is an unexpected lever for the entire social innovation ecosystem in Québec.

“We must understand that there are a multitude of social innovation actors who are natural allies to this new approach by the government. The MIS, for example, helps to reduce risks for social innovation projects for the benefit of potential impact investors by strengthening the capacity of the people who lead these projects by accompanying them from the ideation stage to the deployment of their initiatives, thus maximizing the efficiency of their approach and the impact of their projects within communities. This service offer is a guarantee of quality to increase the chances of success for projects that target different vulnerable populations and an added value for social investors.”

According to the MIS, the Social Finance Fund is a daring and intelligent tool in keeping with best-practices for economic and social development since it mobilizes both philanthropic and non-profit organizations as well as those in the public and private sectors in a concerted, integrated and effective action to respond to the major social and environmental issues of today’s society. The MIS therefore takes this opportunity to commend the work of the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group, whose recommendations have greatly contributed to mobilizing the attention and actions of governmental decision-making bodies. It also commends the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, for his leadership in this process.

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