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House of Commons calls on government to include support for charitable sector in budget 2021

House of Commons calls on government to include support for charitable sector in budget 2021

Press release

Toronto, March 10, 2021 — Yesterday, the House of Commons debated an opposition motion calling on the Government to include measures to support the charitable sector in the next federal budget. Today, the motion passed with support from the four opposition parties. Imagine Canada welcomes this strong, multi-party show of support for targeted measures to help the charitable sector. We are also grateful to the many Members of Parliament who spoke about the valuable social and economic contributions that charities and nonprofits make to their communities, as well as about the strength of our women-majority workforce. 

As our research and recent polling by Abacus data demonstrate, government support measures have not adequately addressed the challenges the charitable and nonprofit sector is facing.

The data on the pandemic experience of the charitable sector shows: 

  • The average revenue shortfall for those experiencing a decline is 43% and demand for nonprofit services continues to exceed our capacity to provide them; 
  • The long term sustainability of our organizations is at-risk as many organizations are focused on addressing immediate needs over revenue generation or fundraising; and
  • The diversity of the sector is under threat as smaller organizations serving targeted localities and populations are less able to adapt to pandemic-related challenges than larger ones.

In April 2020, we acknowledged the announcement of the Emergency Community Support Fund, a $350 million program to support organizations in meeting rising demand in mission areas linked to the pandemic response. However, we maintain that the program support offered through these grants is limited compared to the losses facing the charitable sector, that it is only applicable to narrow segments of the sector, and that it does not offer the core funding that our organizations desperately need.

Charities and nonprofits are key to achieving an equitable recovery for all communities, so the challenges organizations are facing across the country should give everyone pause. In the coming federal budget, we are asking for a three-pronged approach to support our organizations: emergency support measures extended and adjusted to fit our needs; core operating support particularly for those organizations left behind by current supports; and finally a matching program to incentivize donations. 

“Today the House of Commons demonstrated that there is a broad consensus in support of the inclusion of targeted measures for the charitable sector in budget 2021. We’re calling on the Government to heed this call and include much needed support in the upcoming budget to a sector that has provided crucial support to our communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis.” -  Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO of Imagine Canada

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About Imagine Canada
Imagine Canada is a national, bilingual charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities. Through our advocacy efforts, research and social enterprises, we help strengthen charities, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs so they can better fulfill their missions. Our vision is of a strong Canada where charities work together alongside business and government to build resilient and vibrant communities.

For further information:
Bernadette Johnson
Director, Advocacy & Knowledge Mobilization