Canada, like many other jurisdictions, is at an innovation crossroads. Governments are faced with tough choices as the global economy finds a new normal, against the backdrop of increasingly complex societal challenges crippling communities, education and health care systems, and the environment.
These challenges require a renewed commitment to innovation, not just in academe or in business, but in government and the community sector. Sustainable solutions to our most pressing problems are unlikely to come from a single person – scientist, business guru, political or non-profit leader - or a single institution or currently favoured sector. These solutions will require new thinking, new models of collaboration, and new working partnerships between the public and private sector.
In this context, I am excited to announce that Social Innovation Generation (SiG), a national project partnered with MaRS, has launched an independent Task Force on Social Finance. This effort is modeled after the UK’s Social Investment Task Force, chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen. The UK Task Force played a key role in catalyzing that country’s social finance marketplace a decade ago, influencing the investment of significant government and private capital in a new breed of funds building blended value enterprises. Similarly, the Canadian Task Force, which I am proud to Chair, aims to help accelerate the development of a vibrant social investment sector focused on addressing social and environmental challenges in Canada.