Impact of Federal Budget on Canada's Charities & Nonprofits



    
    Canada's Charities and Nonprofits are extremely disappointed that the
    Budget fails to acknowledge the role they play in helping vulnerable
    Canadians
    

    OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - This Budget made very little mention of Canada's
charities and nonprofit organizations as they enter a period of increasing
economic difficulty in meeting their mandates to serve vulnerable Canadians -
despite the fact that Canada has 161,000 registered charities and nonprofits.
These organizations marshal more than 12 million volunteers and 2 billion
hours of volunteer time. They employ a workforce of 2 million full-time
equivalent workers - 11% of the economically active population. Together, this
activity accounts for 8.5% of Canada's GDP.
    Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization that looks into and
out for Canada's charities and nonprofits, had brought forward three
recommendations to the Finance Minister following a consultation process with
organizations across the sector. The resulting Brief to the Finance Minister
proposed measures that would have contributed to the capacity of these
organizations to maintain mission-critical services to our most vulnerable
citizens and communities as these organizations face new demands for services
and declining resources.

    
    "We said to government 'we're part of the solution -- we're here to
    help.' We called upon the Finance Minister to adopt measures that would
    have stimulated giving at a time when giving is needed most. We asked
    this Government to hold the line on federal funding for charities and
    organizations delivering mission-critical services to communities.
    Instead, the federal budget was silent on these matters," says Marcel
    Lauzière, President & CEO of Imagine Canada.

    "Over the past weeks and months, Canadians have heard and read in the
    media that demands on charitable organizations are on the rise. The
    ability of these organizations to continue to deliver often mission-
    critical programs and services is increasingly at risk in light of
    difficult economic circumstances that tend to constrain both public
    grants and private giving," continued Marcel Lauzière. "This is a missed
    opportunity."
    

    On January 15, Imagine Canada submitted a Brief to the Prime Minister and
the Minister of Finance on Short-Term Stimulus Measures for Assisting
Canadians and Communities during the Economic Downturn. The Brief put forward
three key stimulative measures to assist Canada's vulnerable populations and
the organizations that support them for consideration by the Finance Minister
prior to the Budget's release.
    First, there should not be cuts to funding to organizations receiving
federal grants and contributions agreements that assist in the delivery of
programs and services to communities at this time.

    
    "We are extremely disappointed that the government was silent on the
    issue of federal funding to Canada's charities and nonprofits. These
    organizations face new and increasing demands for services and declining
    resources. We called on the government to hold the line. We will be
    looking for those assurances and watching to make sure that these
    organizations are not subject to cuts as they, too, struggle in this
    economy to serve Canadians in their communities," comments Marcel
    Lauzière.

    Second, the charitable tax credit should be enhanced to stimulate
charitable giving by ordinary Canadians, by providing for an increase to the
credit on any increased giving in each of the next 3 years, for up to $15,000
per year in new giving.

    Mr. Lauzière further offers, "We regret very much that the government did
    not provide for measures to stimulate charitable giving. Businesses and
    charities alike had joined in calling for these measures. We will
    continue to call for measures that would provide short-term stimulus on
    charitable giving."

    Third, we asked that a portion of the federal infrastructure funding
should be earmarked for projects that contribute to community and social
infrastructure as well as being sizable construction initiatives, including
arts and culture and sports and recreation infrastructure initiatives.

    "On this, we are pleased to see that some infrastructure funds have been
    specifically earmarked for Culture and Sport. However, there is a lack of
    clarity around which programs will require matching funds to be raised by
    nonprofit organizations in order go forward," added Marcel Lauzière.

    For more details on Imagine Canada's proposed measures, download the full
Brief at:
http://www.imaginecanada.ca/files/en/publicaffairs/brief_budget_2009_20090115.
pdf

    Asked to comment on next steps, Don McCreesh, the volunteer national Chair
of Imagine Canada, noted:

    "We recognize that Budgets are annual events and we will continue to work
    with Canada's 161,000 charities and nonprofits across the county to bring
    forward measures to government that can assist vulnerable Canadians by
    providing adequate resources to the organizations that support them
    during this difficult time. Imagine Canada and the charitable and
    nonprofit sector are here to stay."
    

    Every Canadian in every community across our country is touched in some
way by the work of Canada's 161,000 mission-based charitable and nonprofit
organizations. They work with our children, feed the hungry, provide emergency
and social services, research cures for diseases, promote physical activity,
and preserve our cultural and artistic heritage. These organizations provide
services and programs in every corner of the country, from homeless shelters
to arts and culture, health charities, environmental networks, United Ways,
community foundations and many more.
    The Government of Canada plays a central role in funding important
programs and services for Canadians through direct grants and contributions,
and through tax measures that have an important stimulative effect on giving.
Both are critical forms of financial support, especially during difficult
economic times.

    Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization that looks into and
out for Canada's charities and nonprofit organizations. It advances knowledge
and relationships to foster effective and sustainable charitable and nonprofit
organizations.

    
    Additional Materials:

    Background of Imagine Canada's activities in regards to Federal Budget
    2009: http://www.imaginecanada.ca/en/node/189

    Imagine Canada's Short-Term Stimulus Measures for Assisting Canadians and
    Communities during the Economic Downturn Brief to the Federal Government:
   
http://www.imaginecanada.ca/files/en/publicaffairs/brief_budget_2009_20090115.
pdf

    Imagine Canada Media Centre:
    http://www.imaginecanada.ca/en/node/16

    Statistical Highlights on Canada's Charitable and Nonprofit Sector
    http://www.imaginecanada.ca/en/node/32
    





For further information:

For further information: Marnie Grona (English media), Senior Manager,
Marketing & Communications, mgrona@imaginecanada.ca, 1-800-263-1178 x244 or
(416) 597-2293, (416) 300-7220 cell; Amanda Mayer (French media), Imagine
Canada - Ottawa, amayer@imaginecanada.ca, 1-800-821-8814 x239 or (613)
238-7555, (613) 292-0569 cell; see: www.imaginecanada.ca; Marcel Lauzière,
President & CEO of Imagine Canada, is available for interviews. Please call
the contacts above to schedule an interview with Mr. Lauzière.

Organization Profile

Imagine Canada

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FEDERAL BUDGET 2009

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