ontario news watch

Boost in near-term funds, risk should lure more social-finance investors, Hussen says

OTTAWA — Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says he expects changes to federal strategy to finance experimental ways to deliver social services should more easily, and quickly, bring in needed private-sector backers for the plan to work.

Hussen says the changes respond to the concerns he heard from social-purpose organizations over the last year as revenues have dropped and demand for their services rose.

Last month’s federal budget outlined a pledge to boost near-term spending for groups to partner with a private investor and test ways of delivering services like skills training.

The budget would also redo the parameters of the program to have the treasury take on a little more financial risk to lure the private capital needed.

Hussen says in an interview the risk is necessary if the government wants to lure private dollars and stretch public funds.

He says the government expects to attract $2 of private money for every $1 of public dollars flowing to groups through the social-finance fund.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press