Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and 170 charities call on the Federal Government for emergency support

Warning tape from Coalition of Charities

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has joined 170 of Canada’s leading charities to call on the Federal Government for emergency support to face the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s our letter to the Prime Minster: 

Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities
Tel: 416-971-7474 / 416-994-4426 (c/o War Child Canada)

March 25, 2020


Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC, MP Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, PC, MP Deputy Prime Minister
Hon. Navdeep Bains, PC, MP Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, PC, MP President of the Treasury Board
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, PC, MP Minister of National Revenue
Hon. Bill Morneau, PC, MP Minister of Finance
Hon. Carla Qualtrough, PC, MP Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Ministers:

As a coalition of over 150 leaders from Canadian charities, we are writing to request urgent financial aid and federal action to prevent our organizations from suffering irreparable damage amid the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when more and more Canadians and vulnerable families throughout the world will be in desperate need of our services.

Canada’s charities are a vital part of the Canadian economy, contributing more than eight percent of Canada’s GDP ($162 billion in 2017) and employing more than ten percent (1.4 million) of working Canadians. But our work is best evident in what we do in our communities and to support the most vulnerable at home and abroad. During the COVID-19 crisis, we will be on the frontlines providing shelter and food for the homeless, protecting seniors and youth, helping women fleeing violence, supporting healthcare and mental health, strengthening education and the environment, and helping vulnerable children and families at home and around the world. Our work will be critical to maintaining the social cohesion necessary for the fight against COVID-19 and the survival and recovery of Canadians and communities everywhere as we confront this enormous crisis together.

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic fallout is threatening to quickly destroy Canada’s charitable sector. Without immediate support from the Government of Canada, most Canadian charities will be forced to lay off substantial numbers of employees, will no longer be able to support vulnerable people and communities, and many will face a significant likelihood of total and permanent closure.

Charities are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis because our organizations rely on a steady stream of donations, business support and government investments to survive. All of these revenue sources have been disrupted and are under threat. To appeal to donors, meet the demands of regulators and best serve our beneficiaries, our charities are low-overhead and operate on razor-thin margins. To sustain trust in our operations, we do not carry large financial savings, investments, or credit sources. We are defenseless against COVID-19’s disruption with very few tools to overcome its impact.

Without immediate intervention to save Canada’s charitable sector, Canadians will not only lose a major source of employment and economic activity, they will also lose their most active community partners - partners who are well positioned to respond to, manage, and help aid the recovery from this crisis at home and abroad. Without the presence of charities supporting Canada and the world’s recovery, more and more vulnerable members of our society and world will be at risk, which in turn will worsen and deepen the impact of COVID-19 for all Canadians.

We appreciate the extraordinary efforts of the Government of Canada so far to address this crisis. However, these measures are not focussed on Canada’s charities and are not enough to sustain our existence. Given the severity of the situation facing Canada’s charities, we are calling on the Government to take the following emergency actions, in line with proposals under consideration in the United States, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom:

  1. The immediate establishment of an emergency stabilization fund that will allow charities to stay afloat, pay staff, cover critical expenses, and continue essential, frontline operations during the pandemic. Given our sector’s significant employment numbers and GDP contributions, we estimate that this fund will need to be at least $10 billion to be effective – a total that is proportional to the size and impact of the sector.
  2. Provide financial support through and guarantees to Canada’s banks to ensure that charitable organizations have easy access to urgent, substantial short term low or no-interest loans to support their operations. This partnership should encourage the rapid distribution of these funds.
  3. Enhance the Charitable Donation Tax Credit through to the end of 2021 from 50% to 75% (in line with the rate that is provided for political donations) to encourage Canadians to donate.
  4. Continue to flow already-contracted funds to charities and allow for maximum flexibility and re-budgeting as charities struggle to deliver and/or redesign their programs in the wake of COVID-19. In other words, do not delay or cancel payment on grants as charities work furiously to assess how they can and should program to keep their stakeholders safe.
  5. Ensure that charities have access to the same recovery programs that businesses do at every step.

We also support the ongoing efforts and recommendations put forward by Imagine Canada to the Government of Canada.

We believe that a virtual meeting with you or your designates would be essential to pushing forward a plan for Canada’s charities.

We understand that all sectors are struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are difficult, frightening and uncertain days for everyone. We thank you for all that you are doing. Nevertheless, the charitable sector is uniquely vulnerable and our collapse would threaten millions of children, women and families in Canada and around the world who rely on our ongoing operations.

Please help us be there for those who need us most, now more than ever.

With thanks,

The Undersigned Leaders of over 150 Canadian Charities

ABC Head Start Society
Walter Lidster, Executive Director

Action Against Hunger
Danny Glenwright, Executive Director

Acts for Water
Jeff Golby, CEO

ADRA Canada
Steve Matthews, Executive Director

Paula Donovan, Co-Founder and Co-Director

Alberta Council for Environmental Education
Gareth Thomson, Executive Director

Alzheimer Society of Canada
Stephen McCullough, Executive Director

Amnesty International Canada (English Branch)
Alex Neve, Secretary General

Amref Health Africa Canada
Onome Ako, Executive Director

Amanda Alvaro, Co-Founder and President, Pomp & Circumstance

Arts on the Ave Edmonton
Christy Morin, Executive director

Asian Outreach International (Canada)
Noel Hutchinson, Executive Director

Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Toronto
Caroline Riseboro, President

Big Brothers Big Sisters
W. Matthew Chater, National President and CEO

Breast Cancer Society of Canada
Kimberly Carson, CEO

Camp Ooch and Camp Trillium
Alex Robertson, CEO

Canadian Baptist Ministries
Rev. Dr. Terry Smith, Executive Director

Canadian Cancer Society
Andrea Seale, CEO

Canadian Christian Relief and Development Association
Laura Solberg, Executive Director

Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Michael Bryant, Executive Director

Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Nicolas Moyer, President and CEO

Canadian Feed The Children
Jacquelyn Wright, President and CEO

Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Jim Cornelius, Executive Director

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Richard Elliot, Executive Director

Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Kathy Majowski, Board Chair

CARE Canada
Mara O'Brien, President and CEO

Catalyst Canada
Tanya van Biesen, Executive Director, Canada

CAUSE Canada
Wendy Fehr, Executive Director

Centre for International Studies and Cooperation
Claudia Black, Executive Director

CESO (Canadian Executive Service Organization)
Wendy Harris, President and CEO

ChildCare International
Jose Prem, Executive Director

Children Believe
Dave Wilson, Interim CEO

Christian Horizons
Mark Wallace, Executive Director

Christian Horizons Global
Mark Wallace, Executive Director

Citizens for Public Justice
Willard Metzger, Executive Director

Community Food Centres Canada
Nick Saul, CEO

Compassion Canada
Allison Alley, President and CEO

Covenant House Toronto
Mark Aston, Executive Director

Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Mina Mawani, President and CEO

Crossroads Christian Communications Inc.
David W Shelley, Director of Relief and Development

Crossroads International
Heather Shapter, Executive Director

David Suzuki Foundation
Stephen Cornish, CEO

Diabetes Canada
Russell Williams, Acting President

Easter Seals
Dave Starrett, President and CEO

Devon Page, Executive Director

eMi Canada
Greg Young, Executive Director

Emmanuel International Canada
Richard McGowan, Executive Director

Engineers Without Borders
Boris Martin, PhD, CEO

ENvironnement JEUnesse
Catherine Gauthier, Directrice générale

Geoff Cape, Founder and CEO

Farm Radio International
Kevin Perkins, Executive Director

Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie
Marie-Pierre Nogarède, Directrice générale adjointe

Foundation for Environmental Stewardship
Steve Lee, Founder and President

Friends of the Earth
Beatrice Olivastri, CEO

Gastrointestinal Society
Gail Attara, President & CEO

Gather Women
Cathie Ostapchuk, Co-Founder and Lead Catalyst

Global Vision/Vision Internationale
Amy Giroux, Executive Director

Haiti ARISE Ministries Society.
Marc & Lisa Honorat, Co-founders & International Directors

Heart and Stroke Foundation
Geoff Craig, Chief Marketing & Development Officer

Dr. Ralph Dubienski, Co-founder and President

House of Compassion
Neil Hetherington, CEO

Humanity and Inclusion Canada (Handicap International)
Jérôme Bobin, Executive Director

Roberta L. Jamieson, President and CEO

Institute for Canadian Citizenship
Yasir Naqvi, CEO

International Bureau for Children’s Rights
Guillaume Landry, Director General

International Development and Relief Foundation
Mahmood Qasim, CEO

International Justice Mission Canada
Anu George Canjanathoppil, Executive Director

Alana Walker Carpenter, CEO

Islamic Relief Canada
Zaid Al-Rawni, CEO

iTeams Canada
Neil Ostrander, CEO

JA Canada
Scott Hillier, President and CEO

JA Central Ontario
Jane Eisbrenner, President & CEO

JA Northern Alberta & NWT
Jennifer Martin, President and CEO

JA Nova Scotia
Kristin S. Williams, President and CEO

JA Peterborough Lakeland Muskoka
John McNutt, President and CEO

JA South Western Ontario
Denise Pelley, President and CEO
Eric Windeler, Founder & Executive Director

Journalists for Human Rights
Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director

Jennifer Henry, Executive Director

Kids Help Phone
Kathy Hay, President & CEO

Lady Ballers Camp
Toyo Ajibolade, Executive Director

Look Good Feel Better
Dee Diaz, President & Chief Executive Officer

Lymphoma Canada
Antonella Rizza, CEO

MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Andrew Murie, CEO

Make Music Matter
Darcy Ataman, Founder and CEO

Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation
Suzette Strong, CEO

Meal Exchange
Farheen Khan, Interim Executive Director

Médecins du Monde Canada
Nadja Pollaert, Executive Director

Melanoma Network of Canada
Falyn Katz, Executive Director

Mennonite Central Committee
Rick Cober Bauman, Executive Director

Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia
Wayne Bremner, Executive Director

Mennonite Central Committee Ontario
John L. Head, Executive Director

Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan
Eileen Klassen Hamm, Executive Director

Mission Inclusion
Richard Veenstra, Executive Director

Missionary Ventures Canada
Brad Wilson, President and Executive Director

MLSE LaunchPad
Tanya Mruck, Executive Director

Kristy Fletcher, Executive Director

North Bay Regional Health Centre Foundation
Tammy Morison, President and CEO

Norwest Co-op Community Food Centre
Lila Knox, Manager

Stuart Hickox, Canada Director

Opportunity International Canada
Dan Murray, CEO

Ottawa Network for Education
Heather Norris, President and CEO

Pamela Valentine
MS Society of Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer

Pancreatic Cancer Canada
Michelle Capobianco, CEO

Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO

Partners In Health Canada
Mark Brender, National Director

Partners Relief & Development Canada
Greg Toews, National Director

Peacebuilders International (Canada)
Eva E. Marszewski, O.Ont., L.S.M., Founder and CEO

PLAN International Canada
Dr. Tanjina Mirza, Interim Co-CEO/Chief Programs Officer

Plateau Perspectives Canada
Peter M Foggin, Secretary

Marika Anthony-Shaw, Co-Founder and CEO

Primate's World Relief and Development Fund
Will Postma, Executive Director

Prison Fellowship Canada
Stacey Campbell, CEO

Right to Play
Kevin Frey, CEO

Save the Children
Bill Chambers, President and CEO

Scleroderma Association of B.C.
Rosanne Queen, President

SIM Canada
John Denbok, Executive Director

Small Change Fund
Burkhard Mausberg, CEO

Southlake Foundation
Susan Mullin, CEO

Stephen Lewis Foundation
Meg French, Executive Director

Swim Drink Fish CANADA
Mark Mattson, President

The Boundless School
Steven Gottlieb, Executive Director

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network
Cathy Ammendolea, CBCN's Board Chair

The Daily Bread Food Bank
Neil Hetherington, CEO

The International Development and Relief Foundation
Mahmood Qasim, CEO

The Learning Partnership
Debra D. Kerby, MSc MBA, President and CEO

The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
Dr. Shelly Whitman, Executive Director

The Walrus Foundation
Shelley Ambrose, Executive Director

Toronto Humane Society
Jacques Messier, CEO

Trillium Health Partners
Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO

UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Adam Minsky, President and CEO

David Morley, President and CEO

United Way Centraide Canada
Dan Clement, President and CEO

Up With Women
Lia Grimanis, CEO

Urban Promise
Shawn James, Executive Director

Veterinarians Without Borders
Monique Charron, Executive Director

War Child Canada
Dr. Samantha Nutt, Founder and President

We Charity
Dalal Al-Waheidi, Executive Director

Wellspring Foundation for Education
Andy Harrington, CEO

Western Canada Wilderness Committee
Beth Clarke, Executive Director

Women's Shelters Canada
Lise Martin, Executive Director

World Hope International (Canada) Inc.
Tanya Nace, Executive Director

World Renew
Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, Executive Director

World University Service of Canada (WUSC)
Chris Eaton, Executive Director

World Vision
Michael Messenger, President and CEO

YMCA Canada
Peter Dinsdale, President ane CEO

YMCA Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
Jim Commerford, President and CEO

YMCA of Greater Toronto
Medhat Mahdy, President and CEO

YMCA Ontario
Medhat Mahdy, President

Yonge Street Mission
Angie Peters, President and CEO

Young Adult Cancer Canada
Geoff Eaton, Founder and Executive Director

Youth Challenge International
Bryan Cox, Executive Director

Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Graham Flack, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Development
Bob Hamilton, Commissioner of the CRA
Simon Kennedy, Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Paul Rochon, Deputy Minister of Finance
Peter Wallace, Secretary of the Treasury Board


  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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