Panel to call for ‘fund of funds’ in Liberals’ social finance plan: Documents

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OTTAWA — Newly released documents are providing a window into an experimental new pillar in federal social policy to better connect private investors — and their money — with groups that deliver social programs.

A detailed presentation for the two ministers in charge of the social finance strategy says an expert panel will call on the government to put money into a “fund of funds” nationwide, in order to calm investors skittish about the risk involved.

The March presentation says the federal spending would help “those confronting ‘wicked’ problems,” which can cover a range of social and environmental issues that a civil society group is trying to solve.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the presentation under the access to information law.

The panel’s report is expected to form the foundation of a forthcoming social finance strategy.

Governments find social finance schemes attractive because the financial risk for programs is shifted from taxpayers to investors, who in turn underwrite experimental ways of delivering social programs.

Federal officials have also been told that regulatory and tax rules act as stumbling blocks for charities and non-profits who want to try a social financing arrangement.

The Canadian Press