OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that the federal government plans to provide $350 million to Canada’s charities sector.
Much of the money will flow through three national groups to help the country’s 86,000 registered charities deal with initial impacts of the pandemic, with a portion of funds going to small, independent organizations.
Trudeau says charities and non-profits are doing tremendous work to meet tremendous demand for their services.
The funding will support a variety of activities, such as:
- Increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
- Providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
- Scaling up help lines that provide information and support
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
- Providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet
Estimates from Imagine Canada, a charity that promotes the work other charities do, suggest donations will decline between $4.2 billion and $6.3 billion, and that between 117,000 and 195,000 workers could be laid off depending on the length of the COVID-19 crisis.
The federal pledge falls short of the $10 billion charities had been asking for as a stabilization fund, but many are expected to access a wage subsidy program to help hire back laid-off staff.
Trudeau says online applications for that 75-per-cent wage subsidy program will open next week.