The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives makes a case here for why charities should immediately be eligible for the new federal wage subsidy program that will cover 75 per cent of wages for employers hit by the COVID-19 crisis, specifically those who’ve seen a 30 per cent drop in revenues compared to this time last year.
First, notes the CCPA, charities really matter, and their work during the COVID-19 pandemic is vital to all our communities.
“Many are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, providing a wide range of health and social services. They work directly with the most vulnerable or marginalized members of our communities, including seniors, people with disabilities, folks living in poverty or experiencing homelessness or hunger, migrant workers and others who don’t have the benefit of a union, women and children dealing with violence, and people struggling with mental health issues or addictions—to name just a few.”
Second, charities operate differently than private enterprise, and the model used for the wage subsidy doesn’t work with how they are funded.
“Most of these organizations are not primarily in the business of selling goods or services—their revenues typically come in at different key points in the year in response to fundraising appeals and events, membership fees, grants from institutional funders (including governments and foundations), business sponsorships, etc. Which means requiring them to show a 30 per cent drop in gross revenues for the month of March 2020 compared to March 2019 in order to access the federal wage subsidy doesn’t make sense. While some will already have seen a revenue decline of this magnitude, for others it is likely to happen more gradually or later in the year, as the economic disruption from COVID-19 leads to reduced donations, cancelled annual events and campaigns, plummeting earnings on funds held by grantmakers and tightened business sponsorship budgets.”