A new focus on social innovation in the Community and Employer Partnerships program will support B.C.’s growing social-enterprise sector and increase the potential for social innovation in B.C.
This summer, the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation will expand the Community and Employer Partnerships program to include a Social Innovation stream that will specifically support innovative projects that address community needs and social challenges like improving outcomes for job-seekers who are unemployed or face barriers to employment.
Projects with a social impact are already supported through the Community and Employer Partnerships projects. The new focus on social innovation will help the Community and Employer Partnerships program to build upon the work done to date.
For example, in 2015 the Government of B.C. invested more than $240,000 in a Job Creation Partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation that helped seven people with disabilities gain work experience as accessibility specialists. These participants completed 75 accessibility assessments of local businesses and public spaces during the 52-week project.
Last year, the Kindale Developmental Society provided 30 weeks of work experience in the development of sustainable food-security programs to two Job Creation Partnership participants and received $40,429 in funding.
Both projects helped participants enhance their skills and secure sustainable employment.
Community and Employer Partnerships increased focus on social innovation reflects the success of projects with a social impact focus and allows the Province to further support the growing number of social enterprises in B.C. and the increasingly important role that social enterprises play in the province’s economy and communities.
The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation will reach out to social entrepreneurs through industry conferences, stakeholder events, local chambers of commerce and through WorkBC.ca to increase awareness of social innovation in B.C. and support interested applicants to the Social Innovation stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program.
The Province has proclaimed May 2016 as Social Enterprise Month to help raise awareness of the diversity of social enterprises in B.C. and the contributions these business ventures make to communities and B.C.’s economy.
The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market.
To date, more than 1,000 job seekers have benefited from work experience and over 200 projects have been funded throughout the province.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –
“Our government is very excited about the opportunity to increase our support for social innovation and social enterprises in B.C. through the Community and Employer Partnerships program. Projects funded through this program have already delivered excellent benefits for communities, job seekers and employers throughout the province, and now we look forward to increasing our partnership with B.C.’s growing social enterprise sector through this program to realize even greater benefits for our economy and communities.”
- Local WorkBC Employment Services Centres play a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers with Job Creation Partnership and Project Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their community. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC Centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
- Accessibility 2024 is a 10-year action plan to make B.C. the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities.
- The Community and Employer Partnerships program has invested over $6.5 million in 30 projects with a social innovation focus since 2012.
- Investment to support social innovation projects will be made through the existing $8 million allocated to the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which also supports Job Creation Partnerships, Project-Based Labour Market Training Partnerships, Research and Innovation and Labour Market Partnerships.
- The social-enterprise sector has grown by 35% since 2010, with more than 13,000 people employed by the sector and annual earnings that exceed $500 million, according to a new report from the UBC Sauder Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing, conducted in partnership with the Province.
- Individuals and organizations interested in learning more about the new Social Innovation stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program can visit WorkBC.ca/CEP
- Social Enterprise Month is part of the B.C. government’s work to promote social innovation in B.C. and is supported by the BC Partners for Social Impact (BCPSI), a group that includes more than 100 partners from government, business, non-profit organizations and academic and financial institutions.
- Social enterprises use business strategies to create a social or environmental impact. They range from thrift stores to businesses that provide skills training, affordable housing and jobs for people with disabilities. They can also be a for-profit business that focuses on social objectives.
- Like any other business, a social enterprise aims to create revenue. What sets a social enterprise apart is that its revenue is directed to a social or environmental goal.
- The ministry will invest $331 million in employment and labour market programs this year under the Employment Program of BC.
- The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
Who is eligible?
- Non-profit organizations
- Crown corporations
- Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
- Bands/tribal councils
- Public health and educational institutions
BC Social Venture Sector Labour Market Study report: http://www.sauder.ubc.ca/Faculty/Research_Centres/Centre_for_Social_Innovation_and_Impact_Investing/Knowledge_Hub/Publications
Social Enterprise Month in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016SDSI0017-000679
Accessibility 2024: http://gov.bc.ca/accessibility
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: https://www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi
For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/