TORONTO — More than 100 of Canada’s top charities are lobbying the federal government for financial aid to avoid “irreparable damage” and collapse during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The United Way, YMCA, Kids Help Phone, Women’s Shelters Canada and Daily Bread Foodbank are among the more than 140 charities that signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers Wednesday, calling for a $10-billion emergency stabilization fund.
“The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting economic fallout is threatening to quickly destroy Canada’s charitable sector,” said the letter.
“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.”
The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Charities rely on donations, which are drying up as Canada sees layoffs and business closures, and physical distancing measures make in-person fundraising events impossible, said Dr. Samantha Butt, founder of War Child Canada and the Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities initiative.
The Canadian Cancer Society, for example, has paused its daffodil campaign that deploys volunteers across the country every year to sell flowers and pins and host events and galas in order to raise millions of dollars.
“We survive on donations and the efforts of volunteers in the community, all of which are being drastically curtailed through the pandemic,” said Canadian Cancer Society CEO Andrea Seale in a statement. “Charities are too important to the fabric of Canada to be forgotten during this crisis.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises economic help during pandemic. Story continues below.
Charities, which operate on thin budgets at the best of times, are also facing an increased...