Canadian charities seeking government aid due to COVID-19


The leaders of 140 Canadian charities have written a letter urging the government to provide financial aid to prevent the collapse of the industry due to COVID-19. 

Charities represent eight per cent of the Canadian GDP—$162 billion in 2017—and employ more than 10 per cent—1.4 million—working Canadians. 

Without financial support from the government, many charities will be forced to layoff a significant portion of their staff, and some will not be able to continue serving the community in any capacity. 

The Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities, which includes War Child, United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society, YMCA, Indspire, Kids Helpline, Daily Bread Foodbank, Women’s Shelters Canada, Covenant House, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and Heart and Stroke Foundation, among many others, is recommending the following:

  1. The immediate establishment of an emergency $10 billion stabilization fund that will allow charities to survive, retain staff, cover critical expenses, and continue essential, frontline operations during the pandemic; 
  2. Loan guarantees to Canada’s banks to ensure that charitable organizations have easy access to urgent, substantial short term low- or no-interest loans to support their operations; 
  3. Increase the Charitable Donation Tax Credit through to the end of 2021 from 50% to 75% (in line with the rate that is provided for political donations) to encourage Canadians to donate;
  4. Continue to flow already-contracted funds to charities and allow for maximum flexibility and re-budgeting as charities struggle to deliver and/or redesign their programs in the wake of COVID-19; and
  5. Ensure that charities have access to the same recovery programs that businesses do at every step.

“We risk losing the core of the non-profit sector in Canada. We will have to rebuild these non-profits that are so important for the life of Canada, we mustn’t lose this incredible social structure,” David Morley, CEO of UNICEF Canada, said in a news release. 

“Organizations in the charitable sector care for all of Canada’s most vulnerable populations, filling in where our social safety net fails people. We survive on donations and the efforts of volunteers in the community, all of which are being drastically curtailed through the pandemic. Charities are too important to the fabric of Canada to be forgotten during this crisis,” Andrea Seale, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, said in the same release.

Cover photo courtesy of the United Way’s Twitter

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