Last January 20, Béatrice Alain from the Chantier de l’économie sociale du Québec, Michael Toye and Yvon Poirier, respectively Executive Director and International Delegate of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet), had a meeting in Ottawa with the Deputy Minister of the International Development Ministry, Mr. Peter M. Boehm. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Canada’s international leadership in the social and solidarity economy.

We had requested such a meeting in a letter sent on September 26 to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion. This letter was signed by our two organisations and the Women’s Economic Council, Social Entreprise Council and the Canadian Center for Community Renewal. In the letter to the Minister, we insisted on the importance of SSE for achieving the SDG’s. The potential of SSE, and its importance in implementing the SDGs has been largely recognised by nineteen (19) UN Agencies in the Taskforce on Social and Solidarity Economy. We explained the momentum of SSE at local level, as shown by the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), where SSE organisations and Local Authorities collaborate.

The letter ended with the following paragraph.

We urge Canada to build on this leadership and advance the growing global movement for social innovation and the social solidarity economy. 

  • Reinforce Canada’s rich social economy and co-operative leadership on the world stage by supporting the participation of Canadian organizations and institutions in international networks such as the United Nations Task Force on the Social Solidarity Economy, the OECD Forum on Social Innovations and others.
  • Promote social and solidarity economy approaches in Canada’s funding and partnerships for international co-operation and development.
  • Position Canada’s official representatives to intergovernmental bodies and initiatives to take a more pro-active role in advancing social innovation.

In a response received from Minister Dion on December 19, he instructed us to meet the Deputy Minister of International Development, Mr. Boehm. In the letter, he recognized the importance of our approach which has a “focus on an economic development model that supports a full integration of social, economic and environmental objectives.”

As a first contact, our meeting with the Deputy Minister was positive. The Canadian government will be announcing soon how it will implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Once this is known, and when the government announces it new framework for international assistance, we expect further meetings.

For non-Canadians, its important to know that the new government was elected in October 2015, after ten years of a very conservative government, almost all policies are under review. Our organisations have participated in many consultations carried out by the new government. We are looking forward to seeing how the government will adopt appropriate measures.