An Opportunit­y for Leadership— Helping Charities Follow Up on the Budget


An Open Letter to all Parliament­arians,

In her Budget speech on April 19, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke of three challenges facing Canada at this unique moment in our history: “First, we need to conquer COVID…Second, we must punch our way out of the COVID recession…The final challenge is to build a more resilient Canada; better, more fair, more prosperous and more innovative.”

From child care and job training, to home care for seniors and housing affordabil­ity for jobless Canadians, from healthcare to education, Canada’s charities have always been engaged in these priorities.

For example, the Budget has committed Ottawa to funding day care for $10 a day, emulating the successful Quebec model. Many Canadian charities are already there, delivering affordable day care on a non-profit basis. We hear every day in tributes by MPs, during Statements by Members in the House, about the many good works by charities in their own ridings and communitie­s.

And when the pandemic is behind us, the mission of Canadian charities will still be ongoing and more essential than ever.

That’s why we urge all parties in Parliament to support a Budget amendment to remove the capital gains tax on charitable donations from the sale of private company shares and real estate. Long advocated by the charitable sector, this would cost the government only a foregone $50 million a year, while stimulatin­g at least $200 million a year in donations to healthcare, educationa­l, arts and cultural, religious and community organizati­ons, creating hope and help where it is much needed and, not least, creating many new jobs along the way.

In its important pre-Budget report, Investing in Tomorrow, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has already recommende­d eliminatin­g the capital gains tax on such charitable donations.

Budget 2021 presents an important opportunit­y to get this done. An opportunit­y for bipartisan leadership. For communitie­s. For country. For Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

Donald K. Johnson, O.C., LL.D.

Director, UHN Foundation

Chair, Vision Campaign, Toronto Western Hospital

Member, Advisory Board, Ivey Business School, Western University Chairman Emeritus & Director, Business / Arts

Member, 2021 Major Individual Giving Cabinet, United Way Greater Toronto

“When the pandemic is behind us, the mission of Canadian charities will still be ongoing and more essential than ever.”

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