Canadian Charities Need Pandemic Rescue Plan Now, Cardus Warns


Think tank outlines $2.5 billion plan for governments, philanthropic foundations, and ordinary Canadians 


March 23, 2020 

OTTAWA – Think tank Cardus has issued a call to action to governments, philanthropic foundations, and ordinary Canadians to throw an immediate financial lifeline to Canada’s charitable sector. The federal government’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic has understandably focused on businesses and households, but it has been mostly silent on Canada’s 86,000 registered charities – “society’s shock absorbers when crisis hits.” Cardus is therefore calling for immediate, extraordinary financial support to charities in order to protect their operations and capacity to provide crucial front-line services during and after the pandemic crisis.

In a newly published Call to Action, Sean Speer, Assistant Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and Brian Dijkema, Vice President of External Affairs at Cardus, make a series of recommendations:

Government Action

Canada’s federal and provincial governments should cooperate on a $1.25 billion cash injection to the charitable sector by matching Canadians’ private donations to registered charities on a 1:1 basis between April 1 and July 1.

Philanthropic Foundation Action

Canada’s philanthropic foundations should express their solidarity with government action by making another $1.25 billion available to registered charities for the purposes of matching private donations on a 1:1 basis between April 1 and July 1.

Ordinary Canadians’ Action

Recognizing that many will be limited in what they can contribute, Canadians should donate what they can in order to maintain both the level of donations and the number of donors to Canadian registered charities throughout 2020.

“We need a national moment of social solidarity,” say Speer and Dijkema. “Charities will have a profound role to play during the COVID-19 crisis, but their ability to support vulnerable communities will depend on their financial stability. That’s why we need to support them – all of us – governments, philanthropic foundations, and ordinary Canadians.”

The full Call to Action is freely available on the Cardus website.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508


Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society's institutions can work together for the common good.