Canadian Charities Appeal for Support from Federal Government to survive COVID-19

Easter Seals Canada joins over 150 major charities to form Emergency Coalition to appeal for support from the Federal Government to save the charitable sector and maintain support to Canada’s most vulnerable peoples.


March 27, 2020, TORONTO – Easter Seals Canada has come together with over 150 other major Canadian charities in writing a letter to the Government of Canada to request for urgent financial support to prevent the irreparable collapse of the sector and the vital programs and services they provide for Canada’s most vulnerable peoples and families, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Charities are a vital part of the Canadian economy, contributing more than eight percent of Canada’s GDP ($162 billion in 2017) and employing more than ten percent (1.4 million) of working Canadians.

Charities are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis because charities rely on a steady stream of donations, business support and government investments to survive. All of these revenue sources have been disrupted and are under threat.

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic fallout is threatening to quickly destroy Canada’s charitable sector. Without immediate support from the Government of Canada, most Canadian charities will be forced to lay off substantial numbers of employees, will no longer be able to support vulnerable people and communities, and many will face a significant likelihood of total and permanent closure.

The Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities, which includes Easter Seals Canada, United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society, YMCA, Community Food Centres Canada, Women’s Shelters Canada, Habitat for Humanity, David Suzuki Foundation, and Heart and Stroke Foundation, among many others, is recommending the following:

  1. The immediate establishment of an emergency stabilization fund that will allow charities to stay afloat, pay staff, cover critical expenses, and continue essential, frontline operations during the pandemic. Given our sector’s significant employment numbers and GDP contributions, we estimate that this fund will need to be at least $10 billion to be effective – a total that is proportional to the size and impact of the sector.
  2. Provide financial support through and 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. This partnership should encourage the rapid distribution of these funds.
  3. Enhance 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. In other words, do not delay or cancel payment on grants as charities work furiously to assess how they can and should program to keep their stakeholders safe.
  5. Ensure that charities have access to the same recovery programs that businesses do at every step.

These measures will help ensure Canada’s charitable sector remains strong and able to continue providing the vital programs and services to vulnerable Canadian and families. These recommendations are also in line with those being advocated by Imagine Canada.

For further information, please contact:

Ana Maria Faria
afaria@easterseals.ca

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