2018 Canadian Impact Investment Trends Report

The 2018 Canadian Impact Investment Trends Report reveals that impact investment continues to grow rapidly in Canada. This is the Responsible Investment Association’s third biennial impact investment survey, representing data as of December 31, 2017.

The Report is based on self-reported data collected from 59 organizations by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) and Rally Assets. We supplemented the survey data with publicly-available information on an additional 14 organizations.

All figures are stated in Canadian dollars as at December 31st, 2017.

You can read the full report here: https://www.riacanada.ca/research/2018-impact-trends-report/


Canada must encourage business to break its low-innovation streak

Canada has been an economic success story for as long as the country has existed. In fact, the growth rate of Canada’s GDP per capita – the basic measure of raw economic performance – has matched that of the United States on average for the past 150 years. Herein lies a deep paradox. Innovation is what ultimately drives economic performance, yet Canadian businesses are innovation laggards among advanced countries. So what gives?

The answer is that Canada has always had the good fortune of a uniquely close relationship with the world’s two innovation leaders – first Britain, and then the United States. Canada has been able to exploit its comparative advantage in natural resources to, in effect, trade commodities for technologies. We have been good at employing those technologies – for example, our highly productive auto and aerospace industries – but much less good at creating technologies or innovative business models. That’s because we really haven’t had to.

This explains why Canada ranks so low on innovation metrics such as business R&D and knowledge-intensive exports. And the low-innovation approach has persisted because it has worked extremely well for Canadian business and for Canadians generally. The perennial hand-wringing over Canada’s innovation weakness elicits mostly a yawn in the corridors of political and business power because our economy continues to deliver, and business continues to ring up healthy profits overall despite subpar innovation by international standards. Bottom line: Unless the model that has worked so well for Canada ceases to do so, nothing will really change.

Darkening this complacent picture are two big clouds that will require a major reorientation of business strategy and of government innovation policy. The first is that Canada’s productivity growth has been very weak since the mid-1980s, especially relative to the United States. We have only been able to keep pace in per-capita GDP growth as a result of our stronger job creation relative to population. But demographic aging implies that employment is going to fall as a per cent of population. This means that the future growth of per-capita GDP – and thus the growth of average living standards and of the tax base to support social policies – will depend entirely on productivity growth. And productivity growth depends ultimately on innovation, because innovation is the source of improvement in equipment, including software, and of new and better ways to combine talent, capital and resources to generate increasing economic value.

The second cloud concerns fundamental challenges to the longer-term profitability of Canadian business. The trajectory of the global economy is being set by four megatrends related to: (1) globalization – particularly the shift of growth to Asia; (2) technology – especially information technology, which is disrupting businesses everywhere; (3) sustainability – reflecting both a cultural and economic imperative to reduce environmental impact; and (4) demographic aging, which can only increase the importance of productivity growth. Prevailing Canadian business models are particularly vulnerable to these megatrends given our concentration in the U.S. market; lagging IT investment per worker; and the resource intensity of our economy. The only way to turn these challenges into opportunities will be through business strategies powerfully focused on innovation.

So the ball is in business’s court and market realities will provide the greatest motivation to embrace the innovation imperative. Public policy also has an essential role to play by creating conditions that give Canadian companies, large and small, the best chance to succeed.

Traditionally, government’s encouragement of business innovation has operated mostly on the “supply side” – helping to build capacity to innovate through development of highly trained people; subsidies for R&D; public infrastructure, and so forth. These measures continue to be necessary but clearly have not been sufficient. Needed now is more potent encouragement for Canadian business to break its low-innovation habit. Most effective will be policy measures that directly affect the bottom line – such as greater public procurement of innovative products from Canadian suppliers; regulatory approaches that encourage rather than inhibit innovation; trade and competition policies that create powerful incentives for Canadian companies to innovate to survive and grow.

Such “demand-side” approaches represent a new take on innovation policy, but they require a shift of mindset inside government to embrace a much broader conception of innovation and of how it can be supported. A whole-of-government responsibility for innovation will be resisted given the siloed organization of the public sector. That is why the change needs powerfully committed leadership from the very top. What justifies such a priority? It is simply that innovation is what will determine the future prosperity of Canadians.

Peter Nicholson is the founding president of the Council of Canadian Academies, a former policy adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office and former business executive. He is the author of Facing the Facts: Reconsidering Business Innovation Policy in Canada, published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

It just feels wonderful to help

Nicholson invited as guest of ‘An Hour To Give’ and reflects on business and giving back to the community

A new radio show focused on philanthropy came by its name honestly last month, when it invited the President and CEO of The Foundation (WCPD) on for a segment to discuss the company’s contributions to the local community.

“An Hour To Give”, which airs on 1310 News every Saturday and Sunday, spoke with Peter Nicholson on Dec 29th about his more than 30 years in business.

“You have an incredible reputation here in Ottawa,” said Sam Laprade, a well-known professional fundraiser in Ottawa and host of “An Hour To Give”.

From the Philanthropy Awards, to the Giving Guide, to The Foundation’s new networking series for women, Laprade asked Nicholson why it is so important for him to be philanthropic and give back to the community.

“I have that bug,” Nicholson said.

“It just feels wonderful to help. We are very fortunate in our family and I want our children to watch what their mom and dad are doing. So I do it because I like it. And the last piece I’ll say for all the business owners, is it’s also great business. People want to buy products and services from the companies in Ottawa that are giving back. It just makes sense, and it makes you feel great.”

You can listen to the full podcast with Sam Laprade and Peter Nicholson here.

Since launching in early 2018, “An Hour To Give” has been a major success for 1310 News, profiling non-profits large and small across the capital region. It airs live every Saturday from 7am to 8am, and re-plays on Sunday from 9am to 9am. For more information on getting involved with An Hour To Give contact Sam directly at samantha@gryphonfundraising.com


Business in Vancouver hosts wealth event with WCPD

Held at the Vancouver Club, Business Excellence series addresses strategic wealth management and philanthropic tax planning

On November 8, Business in Vancouver presented a Business Excellence Series Panel discussion focused on the topic of strategic wealth management at the Vancouver Club.

The expert panel included Peter Nicholson, CEO of the WCPD Foundation, Elyssa Lockhart, Partner, McQuarrie Hunter LLP, Trevor Radford, Portfolio Manager, Leede Jones Gable and Fred Snyder, senior vice president of Mackie Research Capital Corp. Together they answered questions on topics such as portfolio management, the importance of having financial objectives and philanthropic tax planning.

The discussion was moderated by Kirk LaPointe, editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice president of editorial at Glacier Media.

“It was my pleasure to participate for the first time in this Business Excellence Series,” said Nicholson. “As a national company, it is our job to ensure that donors across the country are well educated on the most tax efficient ways to give more to their favourite charities. Thank you to Business in Vancouver for the opportunity and The Vancouver Club for the hospitality.”

The day before, at AFP’s 2018 National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, Nicholson was on hand for the unveiling of the first ever Vancouver Giving Guide. With The Foundation (WCPD) serving as Title Sponsor, the new, annual publication brings professional fundraisers, non-profits, business leaders and philanthropists together in one engaging magazine.

AFP Philanthropy Awards celebrate the spirit of selfless giving by Ottawa individuals, groups and businesses

24th annual dinner features a special Inspiration Award in honour of the late Jonathan Pitre

BY: Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Business Journal. 
Every day, there are business leaders and ordinary people who are “quietly and conscientiously” working behind the scenes to make our city a better place to live. They give of their time, money and/or expertise, expecting nothing in return, and certainly not a prestigious award from the Ottawa chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

On Wednesday, eight individuals, groups and businesses were fêted for their contributions in front of a crowd of 400-plus during the 24th annual Philanthropy Awards (colloquially known as The Phils).

The awards dinner was held in the National Arts Centre’s new Canada Room overlooking the historic Rideau Canal. It was chaired by Margot Lefebvre, senior development officer at The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. It was once again presented by Peter Nicholson’s Foundation WCPD (Wealth, Creation, Preservation & Donation), a financial services business with a specialty in philanthropic tax planning.

Joel Haslam, producer and host of CTV Ottawa’s Regional Contact, knocked it out of the park as the evening’s informative, thoughtful and witty emcee.

Attendees heard uplifting stories of concerted efforts to feed the hungry, care for the homeless, find medical cures, level the playing field for children, and get people talking more openly about mental illness. “No matter what cause you support or represent, we are joined together tonight in a common goal of making Ottawa and beyond a better place to live, work and play,” said Lefebvre in her remarks.

She quoted George Bernard Shaw, who said:  “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream of things that never were and say, why not.”

“This room is filled with people who see suffering, unfairness and struggle in our community and immediately ask, ‘Why not, what next, and what more can I do?’ We are a better place because of them.”

Ferguslea Properties/Accora Village owner and past award recipient Dan Greenberg, decked out in his No. 11 Ottawa Senators jersey, presented a special Inspiration Award in honour of Jonathan Pitre, a local hero who raised funds and awareness for his rare and painful skin disease, epidermolysis bullosa (EB). He passed away last spring at age 17, leaving an entire community to mourn his hapless fate.

Three years ago, Pitre attended The Phils as keynote speaker and inspired the room with his courage, optimism and determination.

“He lectured us — good naturedly, mind you — about philanthropy,” Greenberg recalled while expressing great admiration toward his fellow Sens fan. “This is a crowd that already knows philanthropy. This crowd walks, talks and breathes philanthropy and, yet, when Jonathan spoke to us, somehow philanthropy sounded so fresh and so new, almost like something he’d thought of himself.”

The award was graciously accepted by Pitre’s mother, Tina Boileau, who remembered how her son had looked up the word ‘philanthropy’ in preparation for his speech. He found it to mean: love of humanity. “I think every day he showed us that,” she said, tearfully.

When Outstanding Individual Philanthropist recipient Mike McGahan took to the stage — seven award presentations later — he emotionally described Pitre as “an amazing, amazing kid”.

McGahan, CEO of InterRent REIT and president and CEO of CLV Group, was nominated by the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa for his $1.5 million donation to upgrade the organization’s clubhouse facilities and extend after-school programming for the thousands of children and youth it serves each year. He refused to take credit for the award, though.

“This is not an individual award, this is really about my team,” McGahan said modestly. “I’ve got an amazing group of people. One of the tenets of our company is about giving back and what more can we do. We want to leave a legacy and try and make our community better.”

The awards dinner saw Jayne Watson, the chief executive officer of the National Arts Centre Foundation, named Outstanding Fundraising Professional. Most notably, she and her team at the foundation successfully raised $25 million for a national Creation Fund at the NAC to help artists create new works in theatre, music and dance.

Ottawa lawyer Gregory Sanders, head of Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall’s tax law group, was honoured as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. He was nominated for his significant contributions to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, a charity he became involved with a decade ago after losing both of his parents to cancer. He has previously chaired the boards of The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation.

“He get things done, he moves things forward,” said cancer foundation president and CEO Linda Eagen. “If he has to pick up the phone and call 30, 40 people, he’ll do it. It’s hard, sometimes, to pick up the phone and ask your friends, family and colleagues, and people you haven’t seen in a while, to step up to the plate and make a donation.

“It’s a unique quality that Gregory has, and he does it in such a way that people welcome his call.”

Sanders recognized that he was “preaching to the converted” while delivering an acceptance speech that gave considerable thought to the subject of philanthropy. In a city of one million, it takes only one percent of the population to give back — with each individual donating $1,000 annually to their favourite cause — to raise $10 million each year, he said. “The more people that get involved in our community, the stronger it gets.”

The award for Outstanding Philanthropic Group went to the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation, which has cumulatively raised $4.5 million in support of 50 local charities. It was nominated by the Youth Services Bureau, with festival CEO John Broomanaccepting the award on behalf of all the paddlers. “In the end, we’re just a big family; we’re a community group that bonds together,” said Brooman of the free festival that draws some 80,000 people to Mooney’s Bay.

The award for Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist went to the family-run Canadian Tire on Terry Fox Drive in Kanata. It was accepted by David Malcomson, with his wife Pam at his side.

They were nominated by The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. It should have won its own award for best introductory video of the night, thanks to its special appearance from former Sens captain and mental health advocate Daniel Alfredsson. He played the role of a pleasant and helpful Canadian Tire employee.

Kelly Funeral Homes was this year’s Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist. The award was accepted by general manager John Lafromboise, who, along with managing funeral director Rick Nolan, started working at the funeral home in the 1970s under its founder, the late Lorne Kelly. “Mr. Kelly instilled in us the value of community service and corporate social responsibility,” said Laframboise. “Quietly and conscientiously was his style.”

Kelly Funeral Homes was nominated by the Shepherds of Good Hope, which also nominated Keshav Goel as Outstanding Youth for his volunteer work, including cooking for the homeless and organizing clothing drives and fundraisers.

On top of that, Goel is studying translational and molecular medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He has also founded a national youth-driven charity with his brother, Anish, called Helping Hands.

The remarkable young man spoke of being raised in a loving and caring household, and of being taught the five human values of truth, right conduct, peace, love and nonviolence. He wasn’t sure how to apply these values to the real world, until he became exposed to homeless people during his commute to and from his downtown high school, Lisgar Collegiate, and uOttawa.

“I learned what a privileged life I live,” said Goel. “I saw the young adults and youth who are struggling to make ends meet and forced to sit on the curb each day, begging in order to survive through our brutal Canadian winters.

“They were the outcasts, ignored by the thousands of people who turned a blind eye to them every single day. For me, the human values I had grown up learning made me struggle with these images and inspired me to think of a solution.”

Attendees also received their own copy of the Giving Guide, a 76-page publication that highlights the giving opportunities in the region and provides resources on best practices and corporate social responsibility. It’s the second year the AFP has partnered with the Ottawa Business Journal and Foundation WCPD to spotlight the professional fundraising community and the value it brings to the city.

— caroline@obj.ca

Read full Article here.