Ontario serious about SIBs, looking to learn from the UK. Interesting article:
Eric Hoskins might not be as internationally famous – or infamous – as another Ontario politician, the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. But in terms of his role in supporting social enterprise in Ontario, and North America, he’ll probably have a more positive and lasting impact.
A former Rhodes scholar, Hoskins first became aware of social enterprise through founding and running a charity – War Child Canada – and says he was “struck by how effective social enterprises could be in tackling some of the big problems in society”.
Now, a couple of months after launching a social enterprise strategy, and visiting London in his capacity as minister for economic development in Ontario’s provincial government, he’s candid about the work the government still has to do to support social enterprise in one of Canada’s most economically dynamic provinces.
“In the case of Ontario, I think some of the government were in many ways catching up to where the sector is,” he admits, “and making sure that we’re putting in place the structures and the legislative framework that allows them to succeed.”
If his government was slow off the mark, it seems to be doing its best to catch up. In September, alongside its new social enterprise strategy, Ontario launched a Social Venture Exchange, to make it easier for social investors and enterprises to work together. It’s also funding a project called Catapult, a micro-finance budget specific to social enterprise start-ups, and a social enterprise demonstration fund which will fund pilot social enterprise projects.
Hoskins recognises that there is still more to do. He acknowledges that nowhere in Canada has yet implemented a social impact bond, while the sector needs more legislative recognition.