Op Ed | The government needs to help charity sector

publication date: Jun 19, 2020
author/source: Ann Rosenfield

There is a famous Sherlock Holmes story where the key to the mystery is "the dog who didn't bark." In the story, Silver Blaze, a prized race-horse is stolen from stables but the guard dog doesn't bark. The same holds true right now for the government and the strange silence about support for the charity sector.

Right now, the Federal Government has supported many important sectors but has been strangely silent about targeted support for the charity sector. What is particularly concerning is that research by Imagine Canada finds that 18% of charities have closed their doors for good. Meanwhile another 20% are hanging on by a thread believing they have only 3-6 months where they can operate at this level.

Imagine Canada has done heroic work advocating for the charitable sector [full disclosure, I am an active volunteer with Imagine Canada's Standards program.] but has not been able to get the government to devote targeted money for our sector. What is ironic is that this same government commissioned a Special Senate Committee to study the charitable sector [https://sencanada.ca/en/committees/cssb/] which issued a wide-ranging report a year ago this month [https://sencanada.ca/content/sen/committee/421/CSSB/Reports/CSSB_Report_Final_e.pdf ] At the time I voiced skepticism that the government would take any substantive action on this important report.

It is starting to look like my concerns were warranted. The time for our sector to act is now. 

There is something we all should do. You can contact the Prime Minister to voice your support for Imagine's recommendations for a Sector Resilience Grant Fund. As Imagine Canada says on their website -

"The nonprofit sector is calling on the federal government for immediate grant funding support to replace current and projected lost revenues for 2020. We are asking for a stabilization program for all eligible organizations that:

  • provides grants that cover core operating costs, available to any nonprofits or charities, enabling them to respond to rising community needs and costs;
  • offsets the collapse of revenue sources such as donations and earned income that are used to support operations outside of wages (such as rent, mortgages, utilities, computers, etc. that are not addressed by the wage subsidy);
  • strengthens the sector for the longer term and improves resiliency in the face of COVID-19."

Want to help? Click here to send your own letter to Prime Minister Trudeau 

Want to learn more - here is Imagine's letter to the PM

Want to learn even more? Here is the expanded background 

Ann Rosenfield is the Editor of Hilborn Charity eNews and has been an active volunteer for Imagine Canada for over 10 years.  

Editor's note - the views expressed in this Op Ed reflect those of the writer who does not speak for Imagine Canada.

Sources https://www.imaginecanada.ca/en/covid19-advocacy

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