Com­mu­nity Sec­tor Coun­cil hold­ing en­gage­ment ses­sion in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay

Hop­ing to speak with mem­bers of area non-profit groups

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY EVAN CA­REEN

A group rep­re­sent­ing vol­un­tary and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions in the prov­ince is tour­ing the prov­ince speak­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from lo­cal groups.

Penny Rowe, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer with the Com­mu­nity Sec­tor Coun­cil (CCS) of New­found­land and Labrador, said they’re work­ing on an ac­tion plan for the provin­cial gov­ern­ment as part of its Way For­ward strat­egy.

Rowe said last spring the prov­ince started to iden­tify what they call in­dus­try sec­tors, such as min­ing, forestry, and tech­ni­cal in­dus­tries. They also an­nounced they were go­ing to con­cep­tu­al­ize the com­mu­nity sec­tor as an in­dus­try sec­tor.

Now, the CCS, in part­ner­ship with the prov­ince, is work­ing on a plan look­ing at ways to in­crease the over­all ca­pac­ity of the sec­tor, by re­duc­ing bar­ri­ers, look­ing at what the chal­lenges are and talk­ing about what the so­lu­tions could be.

“It’s not about what gov­ern­ment can do for us, or what we can do for gov­ern­ment, it’s about what can we do to­gether,” she said. “The way this process is work­ing, we’re go­ing through con­sul­ta­tions, con­duct­ing re­search, look­ing to see what we don’t know.”

Rowe said when they talk about the com­mu­nity sec­tor they’re talk­ing about or­ga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide a whole ar­ray of ser­vices, be it golf clubs, ski­ing clubs, se­nior or so­cial ser­vices, groups that spon­sor her­itage events, es­sen­tially any or­ga­ni­za­tion that is a non-profit.

“We see it as a sec­tor that’s quite dis­tinct from the pub­lic sec­tor, gov­ern­ment, and the pri­vate sec­tor, busi­ness,” she said. “We see the prov­ince bro­ken up into these three sec­tors.

“Typ­i­cally peo­ple look at non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions by the mis­sion they have. What we’re try­ing to do now is get a much more clear pic­ture of how these or­ga­ni­za­tions, out­side of the so­cial or cul­tural pur­pose they might have, how they ac­tu­ally con­trib­ute to the econ­omy in the prov­ince.”

Rowe said a few years ago the CSS did a study with 45 or­ga­ni­za­tions in the St. John’s area and dis­cov­ered those groups col­lec­tively had rev­enue of $60 mil­lion in a 12-month pe­riod and em­ployed, di­rectly and in­di­rectly, over 1,200 peo­ple.

When these or­ga­ni­za­tions pro­vide ser­vices they buy what they need from lo­cal busi­nesses as well, she said, adding fur­ther eco­nomic value. It’s es­ti­mated 20,000 peo­ple in New­found­land and Labrador are em­ployed in the com­mu­nity sec­tor, Rowe noted.

“That would make us the big­gest in­dus­try em­ployer in the prov­ince,” she said. “So if we can op­ti­mize that by work­ing to­gether and cre­ate more jobs, then why not? We know there’s red tape, we know there are strug­gles.”

She said many times to ac­cess fund­ing, or­ga­ni­za­tions may have to ad­just and shape them­selves to what the gov­ern­ment is look­ing for. One of the things they hope to have come out of these con­sul­ta­tions is a bet­ter way to work to­gether on fund­ing and over­all eco­nomic ca­pac­ity.

After the con­sul­ta­tions they will come up with the ac­tion plan, which will then go to the premier and then will be re­leased in a sum­mit. She said the provin­cial gov­ern­ment has been very en­thu­si­as­tic through­out the process and that she doesn’t know of any­where else that the non-profit sec­tor is work­ing so well with gov­ern­ment.

The en­gage­ment ses­sion for Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay is be­ing held on Thurs­day, Nov. 15 at Ho­tel North 2 from 6:15-9 p.m. Rowe said they would like to speak to peo­ple from any com­mu­nity sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions in the area.

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