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Federal Government Must Act Now to Save Charitable Sector


July 7, 2020 

OTTAWA – Just ahead of the federal government’s fiscal snapshot, a new analysis by think tank Cardus shows how a temporary dollar-for-dollar charitable donation matching program is both affordable and necessary.

Running four months, the program would see the federal government kick in a dollar to match every dollar donated to a Canadian registered charity – releasing an estimated $2.5 billion into Canada’s struggling charitable sector.

Half that amount ($1.25 billion) would come from the public purse, while the other half would come from Canadians directly through their donations to charities of their choice.

The Cardus analysis shows that, through the money set aside for the charitable tax credit, the federal government has already budgeted most of the estimated cost for a dollar-for-dollar charitable donation matching program.

However, with charitable donations down dramatically because of the pandemic-related economic downturn, Canadians’ use of the federal charitable tax credit for 2020 could fall by as much as 33 percent, saving federal coffers around $1 billion.

That would leave the unbudgeted cost of the donation matching program at around $250 million.

The analysis also shows that charities desperately need this temporary donation-matching program:

  • Seven out of 10 Canadian charities have reported revenue declines during the COVID pandemic.
  • Canadian charities have laid off almost 84,000 full-time and part-time staff.

“The federal government has the financial room to create a charitable donation matching program that would inject a game-changing $2.5 billion into Canada’s struggling charitable sector,” said Brian Dijkema, vice president of external relations at Cardus. “But the government needs to act now if it wants to help charities big and small not only survive COVID-19, but thrive after the crisis is over.”

The Cardus analysis is freely available online.

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