Open public discussion needed, says Canadian Union of Public Employees.
from the Canadian Union of Public Employees
An open public discussion on the future of social programs in Canada is needed, as the Conservatives push for more private sector involvement, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
In November last year, Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) announced that the Conservative government was looking for ideas which use for-profit private financing to address social and environmental initiatives. This approach–known as the social financing model or social impact bonds–allows corporations to profit from financing privatized social programs at public expense. To solicit ideas, Finley invited proponents of social finance projects to submit concepts through an online questionnaire.
The process does not allow for a critique of the social financing model or the ability to present alternatives, so CUPE submitted its concerns in a briefing to HRSDC.
In its submission, CUPE points out several major issues with the social financing model that have been experienced throughout the world, including concerns about the economic sustainabilty, fairness and risks associated with this model.
Other issues raised include using for-profit business models to deliver social programs to those who need them most, promoting profits from social ills, and the danger of stable, long-term publicly-funded programs being displaced by short-term profitable initiatives.
A broader, more open consultation is needed, according to CUPE. Read the submission.