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4 leaders share: Canada’s biggest opportunities in impact investing

Impact investing is growing globally. A recent study from the Global Impact Investing Network reported $228B USD assets under management, which has doubled from the year prior. The anticipated transfer of wealth to women and millennials has shifted preferences towards investments that are making a positive social and/or environmental impact.

We spoke with four of Canada’s impact investing market leaders to hear what their thoughts were on some of these challenges, opportunities and advice they had to share. This is part two of a three part series on impact investing in Canada featuring some of the speakers at the Social Finance Forum.

1. Jay-Ann Gilfoy CEO, Vancity Community Investment Bank

“The biggest opportunity in impact investing is likely putting thought and action into how to convince people and organizations across the country so that there can continue to be influence at the community level AND catalyzed at a National level.  Canada is behind other countries in the impact investing space and there are lots of great examples for us to follow but we seem to “admire the problem” vs taking strong collective action.” 

2. Rodney Ghali, Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet of the Impact and Innovation Unit, Privy Council Office

“Canada has the right social and economic conditions to make impact investing mainstream. In my opinion, the opportunities are limitless. There is a growing appreciation amongst Canadians that social and financial returns need not be mutually exclusive. Now more than ever, we are seeking these types of investment opportunities.  This, in turn, has resulted in many financial institutions, investment firms, venture capitalists, and foundations actively declaring their intent to grow this marketplace. The challenge, as with any emerging field, is that boundaries are still grey and undefined and there is always a risk that impact investments may be labelled as such, but contain little to no measurable positive outcome.”

3. Adam Jagelewski, Lead Executive of Impact Investing, MaRS

“Back in 2010 when we studied the business case for impact investing we were told by Banks that more data points on risk and return were needed for impact deals.  We’ve got that data now.  We also have high net worth investors waiting on the sidelines for accessible product.  Canada has strong financial institutions – Schedule 1 banks through credit unions – where a nice chunk of  Canadian wealth resides; we need them to offer a suite of products that will allow Canadians to invest for impact, as well as, economic returns.”  

4. Upkar Arora CEO, Purpose Capital

In Canada we have a unique advantage because we embrace pluralism and values that promote a fair, just and caring society. The biggest opportunity is for us to leverage these strengths. Even corporate leaders are challenging the long-held notion that “the business of business is business” by pushing corporations to demonstrate how they make a positive contribution that benefits all of their stakeholders.”

What opportunities do you think Canadian’s face in this market? Tweet, message, or comment below and join the conversation that is changing our financial future.



Part one- the biggest challenges Canada faces for impact investing. 

Hear more from these speakers at SFF2018.  The Social Finance Forum is Canada’s leading event for people who believe profits should be paired with purpose.

Every day, billions of dollars are invested with the sole intention of making more dollars, while life-changing social programs and vital environmental initiatives struggle for funding. Impact investing is the fast-growing movement that’s closing that gap by promoting profitable investments in programs and ventures that power progress.

Now in its 11th year, the Social Finance Forum attracts more than 500 investors, entrepreneurs, finance professionals, charity leaders and public service visionaries who are reshaping markets and ensuring that every dollar makes a difference.

Registration is open for the 11th Annual Social Finance Forum. Get your discounted ticket through CVCA here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/social-finance-forum-2018-tickets-45144433215?discount=SFF2018_Bmeaningful


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Cristine Sousa

Cristine Sousa

Cristine Sousa holds her Master's of International Management with a major in Social Enterprises through the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education (Ivey School of Management Western University, Nova SBE Portugal, and Erasmus University Rotterdam). She currently leads Bmeaningful's Marketing and Communications and enjoys engaging with the social impact community! When she's not focusing on Bmeaningful, Cristine is teaching dance and barre classes, volunteering her expertise as the President of New Generation Consulting (a Probono global consulting group), learning about new cultures while travelling the world, or being creative on the keys playing the piano! Feel free to connect with her.

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