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Policy Matters: Karen Link

Later this year, Canadians will vote in the 43rd federal election. Many non-profit organizations, networks, and coalitions see elections as a critical opportunity to raise relevant public policy issues. Recently, the rules for charities engaging in public policy have become a prominent source of debate and discussion in government and the sector. As we countdown to the next election, The Philanthropist is asking non-profit leaders what public policy issues are top of mind for them.

Name and organization: Karen Link, Volunteer Alberta and Alberta Nonprofit Network (ABNN)

What current election issues might impact your work?  

ABNN has identified a set of strategic issues of key importance to the sector as a whole. These priority issues are:

  • Sector workforce development;
  • Strengthening sector value and impact;
  • Establishing a data strategy to support and inform responsive programs; and
  • Improving government relations to bring sector voices to policy development and decision-making. Any federal policies, programs, funding, or reviews that will support or detract from these issues will impact our work. We need a cohesive policy agenda that includes reviewing and modernizing laws, policies, and funding models to help realize the public benefits of non-profits and voluntary organizations.

What issues would you like to bring more attention to in the election? 

To increase the impact of the non-profit sector, we require coordination and action on these issues:

  • Supporting the non-profit sector’s workforce through progressive initiatives related to pension plans, wages, training, recruitment, and retention;
  • Demonstrating the value and impact of the non-profit sector to recognize it as indispensable for resilient communities and to leverage the sector to shape the future of society;
  • Developing a non-profit data strategy that leverages technology and expertise to enhance data management/sharing, while also increasing capacity to collaborate, communicate, impact, and use evidence to inform programs; and
  • Enhancing policy and program-focused collaboration with all levels of government.

Where can we learn more about these issues?

Alberta Nonprofit Network – ABNN Public Policy Agenda Work

Karen Link is Executive Director of Volunteer Alberta and a member of the Leadership Committee for the Alberta Nonprofit Network (ABNN).

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