On December 17, 2021, Edmonton City Council passed a 2022 Operating Budget. Leading into the budget discussions, ECVO prepared a submission that outlined three key asks that would impact Edmonton’s non-profit sector.
In the last two years, the non-profit sector has faced significant challenges spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing affects of social distancing. In November 2020, the Alberta Nonprofit Network (ABNN) produced a report intended to be a pulse check on the sector. We asked 120 organizations about their most pressing challenges at that point in time.
Three key trends emerged:
- Staff mental health consistently emerged as a key concern for respondents: it was highlighted as the most significant operational challenge. Moreover, two of the top impacts of COVID-19 on workforce was increased staff stress and workload. Increased volunteer stress was also reported as an impact of the pandemic.
- The sector is being asked to work in more complex environments, with access to fewer resources.
- Most respondents identified that having access to core operational funding being integral to their ability to deliver on their mission in the next 12 months.
With respect to The City Council Non-Statutory Public Hearing — Budget Agenda, Attachment Two, pg. 57: Community Investment Operating Grant
ECVO respectfully asks, on behalf of themselves and the 6,000 nonprofit organizations in Edmonton, that the CIOG temporary grant funding provided in 2021 be shifted from temporary to on-going funding.
We also request that that this funding, should it be moved to ongoing funding, increase annually in line with cost-of-living allowance increases and inflation impacts.
With Respect to Mental Health Supports
In the Supplemental Operating Budget Adjustment, the City of Edmonton notes the importance of the Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP) on maintaining the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Due in part to the nature of funding and outcomes expectations, most non-profits are financially incapable of utilizing a program such as EFAP for the benefit of their staff.
We are asking the City to consider how their funding may be utilized to fulfill this identified need. Specifically, we are asking that City Council and City Administration reconsider its funding outcomes to leave space for organizations to put funding toward mental health and wellbeing programs such as the EFAP program.
With Respect to Budget Considerations Overall
While we move towards recovery, it is critical that we do not limit our notions of recovery to the private business sector; nonprofit and charity organizations are businesses too.
We are asking that City Council and City Administration keep recovery efforts for all sectors at the forefront of all decisions that are being made, including policy, funding, red tape, and engagement strategies.
Below, you can read more details in the letter we sent to City Council on December 6, 2021: