COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on nonprofits and charities
- $90 million in revenue losses among the 1,100 organizations that completed the survey
- 1 in 5 organizations expecting to close within six months
- Findings are consistent across the sector, from health and social services, arts and culture, sports and recreation, faith groups, environmental groups- all of these organizations are vital to Ontario communities
- 23 per cent of nonprofits expect their situation to get worse, including 40 per cent of sports, recreation and other social clubs and 31 per cent of arts, culture and heritage organizations
Federal and provincial government support are not reaching organizations
Government supports have failed to recognize the size, scope, and economic impact of the nonprofit sector. They have fallen far short of what is needed to help nonprofits.
- Three-quarters of respondents did not benefit from any provincial funding measures
- Many social service and health organizations that delivered services through the worst days of the crisis were still waiting for pandemic pay at the end of June
- Two-thirds of Ontario nonprofits did not benefit from provincial tax relief measures such as the Employer Health Tax temporary reduction
- Two-thirds did not benefit from any federal relief measures, though some measures were still being rolled out at the time of the survey, including the Emergency Community Support Fund
The good news: Nonprofits are collaborating in new ways to adapt and serve
Nonprofits across the sector remain optimistic, while continuing to demonstrate incredible resilience. Grassroots organizations and what we call “mutual aid networks”- local groups exchanging resources and services for free to help each other – have stepped up to play a critical role, especially given the disruption of traditional services and direct service delivery.
Five solutions to support nonprofits and Ontario communities
We want Ontarians to once again enjoy arts performances, summer camps, and minor softball and soccer clubs, to be able to access mental health services, women’s shelters, community health centres, and food banks, connect to support from Friendship Centres and nonprofit housing, and care for animals and the environment. We want Ontario’s five million volunteers to be able to connect to their communities and feel part of them by doing good work.
- The Ontario government must create a nonprofit sector stabilization fund to backstop massive revenue losses, prevent permanent job losses and closures, support the sector to “re-tool” to post-pandemic conditions, prepare for a second wave, and ramp up quickly in response to renewed demand for services.
- The Ontario government should accelerate the deployment of pandemic pay, and other supports, which took too long to reach front-line organizations.
- The Government of Canada should ensure the federal emergency wage subsidy program is more flexible and responsive to nonprofit business models.
- Both levels of government must invest in rural broadband to help both nonprofits and small businesses thrive in small communities across Ontario.
- Both levels of government must create a nonprofit sector advisory table to inform planning for the economic recovery, with representation from all nonprofit sectors
With these crucial supports, nonprofits will be able to channel their on-the-ground expertise to support communities as they rebuild now, and create thriving places to live and work again in Ontario. The time is now. We are counting on our governments to act.