NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Canada Reduces Support For Faith-Based Charitie

July 24, 2001

Just as President Bush is trying to sell a skeptical America on federal support of faith-based charities, Canada is moving in the opposite direction. In an effort to rein in spending, federal and provincial governments have reduced support for an array of social services -- forcing churches and other charities to bone up on the fine art of fund raising.

The Bush initiative has Americans debating how far the state should distance itself from church -- and which charities should or should not be eligible for government funds. Few have questioned what happens if and when government funds for charitable work suddenly dry up, as is happening in Canada.

  • Although the public sector in Canada still provides some loans and grants to charitable causes, many faith-based charities are being told to learn how to stand on their own.
  • Nowhere is that clearer than in Toronto, where 323 major service agencies -- including 14 with religious affiliations -- had been accustomed to receiving $92 million a year in government support.
  • As funds have been withdrawn, the waiting list for housing classified as "affordable" in Toronto has grown to 60,000 families.
  • Accustomed to seeing their taxes flowing into charitable work, a number of Canadians have assumed that aiding the needy is a government responsibility -- and so have reduced or eliminated their own charitable giving.

Source: Anthony DePalma, "Canada Cutting Back Funds for Faith-Based Charities," New York Times, July 24, 2001.


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