Imagine Canada asks for $8 billion COVID-19 response package from government

Nobody needs to tell the charitable sector that COVID-19 is a hard, hard hit. Whether the issue is trying to maintain services during a global pandemic or having to cancel vital fundraisers, this one’s coming at us from all directions – and will continue to have a big impact on our services and financial health for a long time after the number of cases diminish.

Imagine Canada has written a letter to key federal cabinet ministers urging them to plan for an $8 billion “emergency stabilization fund” of which at least 90 per cent will be delivered via grants to Canadian charities to help them recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The Chief Economist for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector has taken emerging data, and using reasonable assumptions, has projected significant disruption for our sector. We estimate that registered charities will see financial losses this year of between $9.5 billion and $15.7 billion and layoffs of between 118,000 and 194,000 people. The scale of loss will depend on how long and how strictly social distancing principles are implemented.These figures do not include nonprofit service providers or social enterprises , for whom financial and employment data is not as readily available.

Imagine Canada letter to MPs

The letter also asks that charities be included in any further recovery measures put forward by Canada, and not excluded by having such measures put into areas where they can’t benefit (like corporate income tax relief). Imagine Canada also recommends automatic renewal of any federal contracts with charities, and the temporary lifting of restrictions that charities can only provide support to “qualified donees.”

Lifting those provisions temporarily “would allow these organizations to form partnerships with nonprofits, social enterprises, private businesses, and community organizations to ensure that vital services are provided in the most effective manner in this time of crisis.”

Here’s the full letter: