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Premier’s charities council advises on social issues

Provincial Press Release March 21, 2020 @ 10:39 AM

Made up of 15 influential leaders, the council will advise government on how to best support civil society organizations working on social issues. This includes non-profit, charitable and voluntary groups, as well as social enterprises. In addition to the council’s current task to advise government in supporting vulnerable Albertans during COVID-19, the council will also advise on a range of social issues, such as finding out what the sector needs, current challenges and how best to collaborate.


Jeremy Nixon, MLA for Calgary-Klein, will serve as a council member and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community and Social Services.


Jason Kenney, Premier “Alberta has a legacy of communities coming together to solve problems – the most recent example being the way people are helping our most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis. This new council will engage directly with local groups and is one of our nine platform commitments to help harness the power of civil society.”


Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services “Non-profit groups and charities know and understand their communities’ needs. This new council will strengthen the creativity and capacity of civil society in responding to pressing social issues. While our first task will be to respond to COVID-19, our longer term objective will be to enhance vibrancy and longevity in the civil society sector.”


COVID-19 response

As charities and non-profits receive $60 million in government emergency funding to help vulnerable Albertans including seniors, people in shelters and others in isolation, the council will consult with the sector to identify what they need to help Albertans quickly and effectively. It will serve as a link with the non-profit sector and provide ongoing advice to the Premier on ways to build sector capacity.


Council members

Council members offer decades of experience to the civil society sector. They bring extensive experience in the areas of philanthropy and fundraising, community development, volunteer sector and social service leadership, social entrepreneurship and more.

  • MLA Jeremy Nixon

  • MLA Martin Long

  • Wayne Chiu

  • Chris Christie

  • Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

  • Saifa Koonar

  • Dr. John Lilley

  • James McAra

  • David Mitchell

  • Dr. Joel Christie

  • Hyder Hassan

  • Joanne Mason

  • Ashif MawjiLiz O’Neill

  • Michele Taylor


Key responsibilities for the council will include: consulting organizations about how government can help build capacity to address social issues; advising government on how to support social enterprises (for-profit ventures dedicated to social good); and developing a framework for government’s partnership with civil society.

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