Election 2015: How your vote could affect charities & causes you care about

How To | October 16, 2015

In just four days  Canadians will vote to decide who becomes Canada’s next prime minister. For the last 10 weeks candidates have been touring the country looking to gain votes and share  their party’s stance  on a wide range of political issues: from balanced budgets to tax breaks to immigration policies.

Policies affecting Canada’s charitable sector haven’t garnered a lot of attention in this election – or party platforms in general – with maybe one exception: charities’ rights to engage in public policy advocacy, a discussion triggered by a wave of controversial CRA audits.

But that’s not to say that your vote on October 19 won’t impact Canadian charities and the future of a non-profit sector buckling under an ever increasing demand for social services.  

To help you understand how your vote might affect Canadian charities and the causes you care about, we put together a selection of comprehensive resources. Learn how the four major parties compare when it comes to supporting individual causes, as well as protecting and regulating Canada’s over 170,000 charitable and nonprofit organizations.

Charity + Media Resources for the 2015 Election

Elections 2015 Outcomes for Canada’s charitable sector
A comprehensive summary of what the three major federal parties have to say about their plans for the charitable sector.

Election Hub
Non-partisan charity Imagine Canada has put together an “Election Hub” website to highlight issues charities and nonprofits are raising for the 2015 federal election. The website features a wide range of resources by charities outlining federal party policy commitments for specific causes such as child care, food security or the environment.

Pledge to vote
CBC’s “Pledge to Vote” tool won’t give you any information about where parties stand on certain issues, but it features an interactive map that let’s you see what issues Canadians care about across Canada.

Party Resources for the 2015 Election

A selection of the four major federal parties’ plans and commitments related to causes and the charitable sector. You can also find much of this information – and more – at the Imagine Canada Election Hub.

The Conservative Party platform includes…

  • some references to issues relevant to charitable subsectors
  • the promise to continue to support charitable giving, civic engagement and volunteerism through tax credits for donors and service club members, and honour new Canadians through a new “Maple Leaf” designation

The Liberal Party platform includes…

  • a promise to overhaul of Canada’s Revenue Services to modernize rules governing the charitable sector and clarify rules around “political activity”
  • party commitments to a wide range of causes from civil liberties to poverty alleviation to protecting the environment.

The NDP platform includes…

  • several references to issues relevant to a number of charitable subsectors,such as climate change, indigenous rights and health.

The Green Party platform… 

  • focuses on policies related to climate change, criminal justice reform, and changes to immigration and refugee systems

Arts & Culture

The Liberal Party stated that if elected they would double investment to the Canada Council for the Arts, from its current funding levels of $180 million to $360 million.

The Green Party put together a plan to support arts and culture. The plan includes…

  • funding for Canada Council for the Arts
  • the creation of a committee tasked with appointing members to the boards of cultural institutions to prevent political interference

Cancer Research

The Conservative Party announced that if re-elected, the party would…

  • match donations to the Terry Fox Foundation, up to a maximum of $35 million
  • provide $12.5 million in funding toward the establishment of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Centre in Vancouver

Children’s Welfare

The Conservative Party announced plans to fund Child Advocacy Centres and Child and Youth Advocacy Centres, including assistance to support the provision of Centre services to rural communities. These plans also include funds for research into the impact of crime on victims.


The NDP unveiled their plan for post-secondary education. This includes…

  • a targeted investment of $250 million in new federal loans grants over four years, eliminating interest on student loans

The Green Party released a statement on the party’s Youth and Education Strategy. Through this, the party would seek to…

  • eliminate existing of incurred student federal debt over $10,000
  • abolish tuition fees for lower income students and families


The Conservative Party announced measures to support conservation efforts, including the creation of a Wildlife Conservation and Enhancement Program.

The Liberal Party introduced proposed measures to protect Canada’s oceans and marine and coastal habitats.

The NDP announced a proposal to invest in sustainable development projects as part of an approach to combat climate change. The plan would see investments in the renewable energy sector, as well as investments in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Fund.

The Green Party pledged several actions related to water protection including

  • the reversal of changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act
  • the creation of a National Water Policy
  • investment in basic infrastructure for drinking water in First Nations communities
  • the support of international efforts for the human right to water for drinking and sanitation

The Green Party committed to a plan intended to protect and conserve national parks. This includes…

  • the safeguarding of critical habitats including those of endangered species
  • the implementation of recommendations of conservation scientists
  • the fulfillment of Canada’s international biodiversity commitments

First Nations Rights

The Liberal Party announced a reconciliation plan for the Métis Nation. This proposal includes

  • a coordinated review of existing federal programs and services offered to Métis communities
  • a following through of the Kelowna Accord’s commitment to improve existing scholarships and bursaries offered to Métis students

The Liberal Party proposed policies relating to First Nation’s education, indigenous students’ postsecondary education funding, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and child and family services.

The Green Party made an announcement regarding their plan for First Nations, which includes a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.

Food Security

The NDP announced they would make amendments to Nutrition North, in order to improve access to food for northern communities and support local solutions for food security.


The Conservative Party commits to renew funding for Brain Canada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to neurological research.

The Liberal Party announced a plan to invest in health care and home care that would include the negotiation of a new Health Accord and new funding agreement. The plan also commits to an investment of $3 billion into home care, and would also seek to improve access to prescription mediations.

The NDP announced they would invest $2.6 billion over four years in universal access to prescription drug coverage.

The NDP announced an intended $40 million investment in Alzheimer’s and dementia screening, diagnosis, support and research.

The Green Party reiterated support for the development of a National Seniors Strategy, which would include a guaranteed liveable income, a National Dementia Strategy, and a plan for pharmacare.

The Green Party made an announcement regarding their National Pharmacare Plan, which would provide universal access to certain medicines.

Impaired Driving & Alcoholism Abuse

The Conservative Party committed to re-introducing the Dangerous and Impaired Driving Act if they form government.  This may be of interest to those who have followed the long-standing advocacy efforts of some nonprofit organizations on impaired driving prevention.

LGBTQ Rights

The Green Party revealed a LGBTQ + Strategy. This would…

  • introduce legislation for transgender rights and augment health services for transgendered patients
  • invest in HIV/AIDS education and prevention services
  • support public education measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Poverty & Affordable Housing

The NDP made a statement that the party would prioritize affordable housing through building 10,000 units and strengthening social housing.

The NDP unveiled a plan to invest $300 million in the building of 200 clinics across the country, and assist provinces in hiring over 7,000 health care professionals.

The NDP stated they would begin the process to reinstating funds to Canada’s Official Development Assistance budget, and work towards increasing this to 0.7% of Canada’s gross national income.

The Green Party unveiled a plan to invest in social and affordable housing. This plan includes…

  • a National Housing Strategy
  • a guaranteed liveable income
  • investments in social housing for First Nations

Refugee Crisis

The Conservative party indicated plans to reduce wait times and improve processing procedures for refugees seeking entry into Canada.

The Liberal Party committed to receiving 25,000 refugees in addition to those already settled under the current government.

The NDP put forth a plan for the current Syrian refugee crisis, including bringing 10,000 refugees to Canada, the appointment of a Syrian Refugee Coordinator, and the fast tracking of private sponsorship.

The Green Party released a statement on the Syrian refugee crisis, proposing a commitment of resettling 25,000 refugees.

Violence Against Women

The Liberal Party announced support for efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault. This strategy includes…

  • a review of gender- and culturally-sensitive training policies for federal law enforcement
  • an increase in investments toward the growth of shelter networks and transition houses
  • an amendment to the criminal code to reclassify intimate partner violence

The NDP put forward an action plan to end violence against women that includes creating more shelter spaces, calling an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, and investing in affordable housing programs.

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