“Heal thyself”: Senator Ratna Omidvar on the state of the charitable sector’s modernization

Senator Omidvar shares what progress she’s seen in the last three years, and how she would have written the Catalyst for Change report differently had she known about the pandemic

Why It Matters

Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, charities and non-profits are still struggling to adapt. From retaining staff to moving their work online, there’s a massive need for modernization — in order to meet growing demand from devastated communities. Senator Omidvar says if the government had heeded the recommendations in Catalyst for Change, the sector could have shown much more resilience.

It’s been three years since Catalyst for Change, the report by the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector came out. With 42 recommendations meant to modernize the charitable sector in Canada, it was an important moment in the world of social purpose. 

It also happened in an entirely different world — a world where the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t yet struck. 

The pandemic has in many ways accelerated the need for modernization, from where and how (and how much) money flows to the digitization of charities’ work to treating the sector’s workers better.

To mark the three-year anniversary of Catalyst for Change, Future of Good’s editor Kylie Adair sat down with Senator Ratna Omidvar, the deputy chair of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector, to dive into progress, lack thereof, and where the sector should go from

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