Wage subsidies and funding announced last week by the federal government to help charities fight homelessness and prevent violence against women are an important first step, but much more government stimulus is needed to ensure charities and nonprofits survive the pandemic, according to Imagine Canada which represents 170,000 organizations in Canada’s social good sector.

Based on extensive consultation with sector leaders across Canada, Imagine Canada is projecting that three months of mandated social distancing and the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 will cause charities to lose $9.5 billion and layoff more than 117,000 employees of which the vast majority would be women. 

The model used to make this calculation involves examining the impact of physical distancing and the economic slowdown upon revenues derived from fundraising, inter-charity transfers and other earned income activities common to the sector.

A worst-case scenario involving six months of enforced isolation, and the more severe economic downturn that would result, means the sector is projected to lose $15.6 billion in revenue and about 194,000 employees.

Imagine Canada is currently in discussions with the federal government to create an emergency and stabilization fund including cash grants to charities and nonprofits and interest free loans. Other charitable leaders, including efforts headed by the Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities, are advocating strongly for similar measures.

Read more in the Imagine Canada press release.