Speech From the Throne and the Charitable Sector
On September 23, the Governor General delivered the Speech From the Throne, which outlines the government’s agenda for the second session of the 43rd Parliament. While filled with the promise of great things to come, the speech unfortunately did not specifically mention the charitable sector.
Still, there is some positive news. The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be of great benefit to those served by charities and nonprofits. The CEWS has been a lifeline for our sector, enabling us to respond quickly to the needs in our communities.
Faced with a substantial reduction in revenue—AFP’s survey showed that 70% of charities are expecting to raise less money in 2020 with two thirds expecting the same for 2021—many charities have had to make significant cuts to programs and staff. The effect of these cuts is felt by those who are most vulnerable in our communities: Canadians who turn to our sector for support. Without the CEWS, the impact would have been much worse. Given how much Canadians depend on our sector during times of crisis, continued support from this program is welcome news.
In addition to receiving funding through the CEWS, creating new jobs in our sector as part of the government’s pledge to create a million new jobs will also benefit Canadians. Creating jobs for people who care for the homeless, provide food to those in need or seek solutions for important issues such as climate change is certainly an important investment for our country.
The charitable sector is an important sector of our economy. Canadians and elected officials sometimes forget that in addition to tackling huge problems in our communities, our sector represents over 8% of gross domestic product, exceeding the oil and gas and finance industries. It makes sense to invest in job creation in the charitable sector because of the important gaps that we fill for society.
While we are hopeful that the promises outlined in last week’s Speech From the Throne will benefit the charitable sector, we look forward to seeing what specific actions the government will take when they release the fiscal update and the next budget. The charitable sector has an important contribution to make towards our country’s recovery. We look forward to seeing investments that will enable the charitable sector to continue to employ 2.4 million Canadians whose work impacts the lives of millions of people across our country.