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An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

 

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

We write to you on behalf of Social Venture Partners Vancouver (SVP Vancouver), a community of 200+ philanthropists focused on serving vulnerable children and youth. Over the last 19 years, we have provided nearly 70 non-profits with more than $6 million in grants and approximately $18 million of in-kind support. We are part of a global network of organizations that connects and supports donors, non-profits, and social enterprises so that, working together, we can amplify our impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences have created a crisis in our community that will result in hardship for many at-risk children and their families. We are grateful for the Federal’s Goverment’s rapid response and creation of measures to mitigate the economic impact on the livelihoods of Canadian citizens. We hope that as new measures are adopted, these will include efforts to specifically support the non-profit organizations that provide critical services to the most vulnerable in our society.

The Canadian charitable sector represents 2.2 million jobs and 8% of GDP. However, the sector is heavily reliant on philanthropic giving which is now threatened by the economic downturn. SVP Vancouver supports the efforts of Community Foundations Canada and Imagine Canada.

Specifically, we recommend that:

  • At least $750 million of federal funding be channelled through Community Foundations Canada (CFC) so that charitable organizations across the country can maintain services and employment.
  • The charitable tax credit for 2020 be increased to mitigate anticipated losses in philanthropic funding and to encourage additional private giving.
  • A large wage bill subsidy be given to the non-profit sector to secure employment for the staff who play a crucial role in organizing volunteers and administering services.

These recommendations would enable non-profits to deliver services that are in many ways essential to helping Canadians cope with the COVID-19 crisis. For example:

  • Due to school closures, there is a massive increase in vulnerable children needing care. Organizations that provide care during normal school closures could increase their capacity to assist, but need additional funds and resources.
  • Non-profits that provide counselling, drug addiction treatment, and similar services could continue to provide those services, even with new social distancing standards, if they had the funding and resources needed to quickly expand and deploy online services.
  • Food insecurity for children who rely on school meals has been compounded by reduced grocery shopping, hoarding, and depleted supplies of food donations for food banks. Non-profits could provide immediate relief with more resources.

Our recommendations to support the charitable sector in Canada are financially modest in comparison with other measures already adopted, but the support would make a massive difference to a sector that represents the best of who we are as Canadians. This support would allow those most vulnerable in our society to continue to access the services they require during this time of crisis.

Again we thank you for your quick action, tireless dedication, and ongoing efforts to support Canadians through what is, truly, an unprecedented challenge for us all. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss these recommendations and cooperatively find ways to support the non-profit sector and the communities they serve.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Kevin Moorhead
Executive Director
Social Venture Partners Vancouver

 

 

 

Ron Klopfer
Board Chair
Social Venture Partners Vancouver