Thank you for taking the time to read about an economic model we refer to as “Community Economics”.
Community Enterprise Network Inc. proposes passage of a "Community Economy Act". This act supports a specific economic model or system whereby certain public sector production, resource extraction and regulated businesses are developed and owned by “communities” for the purpose of producing goods and services that benefit communities.
The Community Economy Act would:
• Require Ministries and the Broader Public Sector to consider the model before outsourcing public services or issuing permits and licenses to private enterprise.
• Fund the start-up of various community enterprises
• Create a loan guarantee program to provide access to affordable capital for these corporations.
Community Economics is really a political theory encouraging community ownership of certain industries. These industries tend to be taxpayer funded, may utilize public assets or may require government regulation, they may also be highly dependent on the extraction or processing of natural resources. This model can also be applied to production of goods and services that are in the public interest when this production is not profitable enough for private investment. Work is performed by wage or salaried labour and initial investments are derived from grants and debt rather than equity.
Incorporated in 2011, we have acquired specialized knowledge in the field of Community Economics and it is our mission to help build the capacity necessary to develop a robust “community economy” through the creation of Community Enterprises. We are a not for-profit business providing shared services to help create efficiencies and build economies of scale within the community enterprise sector.
A form of “social enterprise”, a community enterprise is a community governed, not for-profit corporation, that provides community benefits through revenue generation. A Community Enterprise is operated and managed by qualified individuals for the purpose of meeting a business need, creating jobs and stimulating economic activity through the production of goods or services (often within a regulated industry or the public sector).
Our goal is to support community enterprises with the expertise needed to deliver public services and other production so that surplus revenues may be re-invested to reduce the cost or improve the service or be donated for the betterment of communities. To achieve our goal we advocate for strategic government procurement policies and programs to help build the capacity needed to grow a strong and vibrant Community Enterprise sector.
We propose consideration of Community Enterprise as an alternative to privatization or sell-off of government services or assets. It is our belief that this alternative respects the needs of taxpayers, organized labour and others when government services are outsourced or public assets are liquidated.
Factors slowing the transition to a community economy are a lack of strategic policies related to allocation of business opportunities and lack of strategic investments in the development of capacity and access to affordable capital. Governments routinely make these type of policies and investments in support of private enterprise. We encourage governments to consider the need for policies and investments in support of community enterprise. We hope that governments will enact a “Community Economy Act” to approve these policies and programs.
Our role is that of developer, helping ensure communities take ownership of community enterprise opportunities as they arise, through efficient business development processes. Once established, each Community Enterprise is set up as a corporation without share capital. The bylaws of the corporation will state that surplus revenues will be donated for the betterment of the communities involved.
In a news release on February 19, 2015 the Premier indicated she wants to “make Ontario the leading jurisdiction in North America for social enterprise”. The Ontario government recognizes that opportunities exist for Ontarians to benefit from economic activity and jobs resulting from community enterprise.
The government launched a Social Enterprise Strategy for Ontario in 2013. This strategy is the province's plan to become the number one jurisdiction in North America for revenue generating businesses that have a positive social, cultural, or environmental impact. However, there are hurdles… mainly mobilization (capacity building) and access to affordable capital.
This strategy was reviewed in 2016 and culminated in Ontario’s Social Enterprise Strategy 2016-2021. Going forward, we encourage the Ontario government to take a strategic look at using its buying power to stimulate the community enterprise sector. Furthermore, we encourage all levels of government to establish a Community Economy Act or similar policies. This will ensure that communities have the policy tools and strategic investments necessary to build capacity in the community enterprise sector. These policies are needed to help communities create good quality service and manufacturing jobs.
By transitioning to a community economy, we can build, strong, workable, livable and sustainable communities.
We can’t do it alone; we need partners, citizens and governments that understand the importance of growing the community enterprise sector.
We would like the Ontario government to fund our project to collaborate with economists, students, researchers and other consultants in creating a report that validates or disproves our community economics model. Such a report could then be shared with Ministries and Staff in support of the need for strategic policies and investments in the model.
We are seeking support for our proposal to build capacity for Community Enterprise in areas including, but not limited to, the following:
• School Busing (Surplus $ for education)
• Farming and Local Food processing and distribution (Surplus $ for protection of agricultural lands and reducing urban sprawl)
• Energy generation and distribution (Electricity, Natural Gas, Bio-Diesel and Oil refinement) (Surplus $ for impacted communities and provincial benefit)
• Liquor and Beer sales and distribution (Surplus $ for provincial benefit)
• Toll Highways and Highway maintenance (Surplus $ for reducing cost or improving service)
• Resource Extraction and Processing (Mining, Forestry, Aggregate, Water etc.) (Surplus $ for impacted communities and provincial benefit)
• Mining in the Ring of Fire (Surplus $ for provincial benefit)
• Waste Management and Energy from Waste (Surplus $ for reducing energy cost and/or impacted community benefit)
• Concert tickets (Surplus $ for Arts and Entertainment programs)
• Invasive Species Eradication (Surplus $ for prevention)
• Wireless communication licensing & Data Warehousing (Surplus $ for reducing cost or improving service)
• Attainable Housing and Community Building (vibrant downtowns, youth retention, and job creation) (Surplus $ for various social programs)
• Untapped Retail Markets, Real Estate Development, Insurance (Surplus $ for reducing cost or improving service)
• The production and sale of legalized cannabis (Surplus $ for addiction prevention and other social programs)
Community economics makes sense as an alternative to the privatization of public services and private extraction of natural wealth. This alternative also offers great value for taxpayers and ratepayers by re-investing surplus revenues in education, healthcare and other social programs or community betterment.
Thanks for considering our work.
Community Enterprise Network Inc.