Letter to Prime Minister outlines ways government can encourage individual donors.
The Regional Animal Protection Society has joined hundreds of other charities across Canada in commending the Government of Canada for the response to COVID-19 so far and calling on them to further incentivize charitable giving to support this vital community sector during these challenging times.
Below is the text of the letter.
– – –
March 30, 2020
Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
As you address the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, please accept our support and gratitude, as well as every wish for the health of you and your family members. Thank you for all you are doing, proving leadership in this uncertain time.
While you confront the human health as well as the economic implications of this crisis, we wish to add our voices to those asking you to consider steps to encourage those Canadians who have the capacity to contribute to nonprofit organizations.
Small and large businesses, indeed entire industry sectors, will be sharing their rightful concerns and seeking support from your government. We know that your announced stimulus packages and other policies are aimed at ameliorating the inevitable economic implications to every segment of Canada’s workforce and economy.
In times of economic challenge, among the first to feel the effects are nonprofit organizations and charities. It is sadly ironic that it is precisely at these times when these organizations are likely to face their steepest increases in demand.
To give you an understanding of our case, the Regional Animal Protection Society is a 25-year-old, no-kill animal-serving organization. Located in Richmond, B.C., we operate the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, a vast fostering network, a Pet Food Bank, two thrift stores and a not-for-profit, community-owned veterinary hospital.
Especially through our animal hospital and Pet Food Bank, we are able to deliver services to households with low incomes. In the two years since the hospital opened, we have provided $1.2 million in partially or fully subsidized care to animals in households with low incomes and facing other challenges. We provide free or reduced-fee services to pets in emergency and homeless shelters. We advocate on behalf of animals and their people. We know, as you do, that animals make our lives, families, neighbourhoods and communities safer, healthier and happier.
Yet just as we anticipate and prepare for a spike in demand for subsidized services and a possible increase in surrendered animals caused by family financial crises, we see our revenues decline due to the indefinite closure of our thrift stores and reduced clientele from the community utilizing our veterinary services during this period.
Like other charities, we are calling on the government to please consider additional tax credit considerations or other measures to encourage Canadians to contribute to charities of their choice in 2020.
We certainly recognize the economic constraints that you are under. Like us, governments at all levels will be experiencing revenue declines just as demands for government services increase.
The not-for-profit sector is a critical part of the economy, providing ongoing and stopgap services that allow the government to focus resources elsewhere. Charities are also uniquely position to delivery services directly to those who need them most, with existing infrastructure already in place and community partnerships already forged.
A 2015 study concluded that, as a percentage of Canada’s GDP, the charitable sector is larger than many other industries, including mining, finance, real estate, utilities and agriculture. We believe that tax measures to encourage charitable giving will have crucial positive impacts on the charity sector and, by extension, the entire economy, including enabling charities to keep more Canadians employed.
By allowing organizations like ours to meet increasing demand from Canadians facing temporary hardships, while also ensuring that services currently provided by charities do not fall to government, thereby further burdening your budgets, we believe increasing tax-deductible benefits for charitable giving will be a cost-effective step. It would also be a vote of confidence from the highest levels of leadership about the central importance of the charity sector to the country’s economic and communal well-being.
We would also be honoured if you would agree to visit our RAPS Animal Hospital, one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit animal veterinary clinics based in Richmond B.C.
On behalf of the animals and people of the Regional Animal Protection Society,
Eyal Lichtmann, CEO and Executive Director