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COVID-19 has some Canadian non-profits fearing permanent closure
While some of Canada’s most revered non-profit organizations are struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, others have already been defeated and forced to close their doors permanently.
Charitable providers of social services — daycare, community venues, support groups and more — have seen a catastrophic drop in revenue, with some forced to cancel fundraising events because of physical distancing requirements, while others are simply unable to operate. That means a complete loss of user fees and other regular sources of income. Meanwhile, rent and salaries still need to be paid. Although many charities qualify for the federal wage subsidy, that covers only part of the cost of staff.
Among the casualties so far:
- The YMCA in Yarmouth, N.S. — a fixture on the city’s Main Street for 162 years, has closed for good; other Y locations are at risk.
- As many as 124 Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country either don’t have the resources to reopen, or say they won’t last longer than three months if they do.
- The Boys and Girls Club of Canada location in Edson, Alta., has notified the community it won’t be able to reopen.
A survey conducted in April by Imagine Canada, an organization that works with charities, found that one in five of its member organizations had suspended or ceased operations. “The sector is not well constructed for this kind of massive disruption,” said Bruce MacDonald, Imagine Canada’s president and CEO. He said the impact of COVID-19 has been worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-09. “The pandemic has affected all revenue streams and all potential sources of support, so it’s way deeper and will be way more challenging to come back from.”
Despite the myriad challenges, many non-profit groups continue to offer services one way or another. Cathy Taylor, executive director of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, says people in the field have scrambled to innovate.
She said some have transformed their services “overnight,” noting how organizations that help immigrants quickly turned their English as a second language classes to virtual cafés, and food banks started shipping boxes instead of having volunteers on site to hand out groceries. Read more on this story here.
(Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)
Kamila fills up a paddling pool by throwing water from an upstairs window over her son, five-year-old Luca, in Hackney, east London yesterday. Temperatures in Greater London hit 32 C on Thursday.
The president and CEO of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights resigned Thursday following allegations of sexual harassment and racism at the Winnipeg institution, as well as complaints that staff were forced to censor LGBT content. John Young had previously said he would step down at the end of his term in August. But the museum’s board of trustees said in a statement last night it believed it’s in the best interest of the museum that he resign immediately. The resignation comes after five women told CBC they had been sexually harassed by a male colleague, and felt the museum’s human resources department had dismissed their complaints. CBC has also reported the museum forced staff at times to censor displays about LGBT history for certain guests, including religious school groups. Read more on this story here.
While it’s difficult to predict when the trial will begin against the two Canadians accused of spying in China, experts say a guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were charged last week after languishing in prison in China for 18 months. The two Canadians are facing a court system where the conviction rate in criminal trials is around 99 per cent, said Sida Liu, a University of Toronto sociology professor who is an expert on China’s legal system. Additionally, there’s no indication that the legal process will deviate from a clearly pre-ordained conclusion; meaning, in all likelihood, the Chinese legal institutions will do the direct bidding of the ruling Communist Party of China, said Nicholas Howson, a University of Michigan law professor and expert in Chinese law. Read more about the possible legal future for the two detained Canadians.
Watch | Trudeau refuses to end Meng extradition proceeding:
The Supreme Court of Canada is to rule this morning in a case involving the ride-hailing service Uber that could have broad implications for the gig economy and labour rights in Canada. The court’s decision will determine whether a proposed $400-million class-action lawsuit launched by Ontario Uber drivers can move ahead. Uber is challenging an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that found the company’s contract clause, which relies on a costly arbitration process in the Netherlands to settle disputes, was “unconscionable” and “unenforceable.” The lower court ruling came after David Heller, a driver for UberEATS, attempted to launch a class-action lawsuit in 2017 to force the company to recognize its drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. Read more about the court case here.
The Liberals are enjoying support they have not seen since their post-2015 election honeymoon and would very likely secure a majority government if an election were held today, according to the latest projections from the CBC’s newly re-launched Poll Tracker. The problem for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is that the global pandemic that has helped boost his party’s support is also one of the things preventing him from sending the country back to the polls in order to regain the majority he lost in the 2019 federal election. According to the Poll Tracker’s aggregation of all publicly available polls, the Liberals have the support of 40.3 per cent of decided voters, an increase of just over seven percentage points since the October vote. The Conservatives, under outgoing leader Andrew Scheer, trail with 28.4 per cent, a drop of six points. Read more analysis here from CBC parliamentary reporter Éric Grenier.
This particular weekend in Toronto is normally filled with rainbow flags and thousands of people taking to the streets in celebration of Pride. But this year, it’s Pride in the midst of a pandemic and against the backdrop of weeks of social unrest in Canada and the United States calling for the end of systemic racism and police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. Former NFL player Wade Davis, Canadian women’s soccer national team keeper Erin McLeod and former Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis recently took part in a special CBC Sports Pride panel. The trio tackled what it means to be LGBTQ+ in sports today, and also talked about the plight of other oppressed groups. Watch the group’s discussion and read more about it here.
WATCH | CBC Sports panel details challenges of being LGBTQ+ in sports today:
A new computer model by NASA scientists lends further support to the theory that beneath the thick, icy crust of Europa, a moon of Jupiter, its interior ocean could be habitable. Europa is the sixth-largest moon in the solar system, smaller than the Earth’s moon but larger than Pluto. The scientists believe the moon’s ocean may have formed after water-rich minerals released their water due to heating caused by the radioactive decay of the satellite’s core. Read more about how the subglacial ocean could be a good environment to support life.
Now for some good news to start your Friday: A Cambridge, Ont., woman is helping create a virtual visiting network for people isolated at long-term care homes, hospices and hospitals due to COVID-19. Stacey Del Fabbro thought that by sending some tablets to those in isolation, they could stay in touch virtually. She started fundraising with the initial goal of sending out a few devices. Soon she realized it wasn’t only local restrictions that were keeping people apart, but also geography and finances, so she broadened the scope of where she would send the tablets. This week, she’s wrapping up three tablets to send to Maison McCulloch House in Sudbury, Ont., for palliative care patients there. She says tablets have gone out to Kenora, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie. She’s sent some to London and Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as Montreal and other places in Quebec. She’s surpassed her goal of seven tablets and is now aiming for 100. Read more about her efforts to help people stay connected.
Front Burner: The NBA to restart in a COVID-19 hot spot
This week, the Toronto Raptors touched down in Florida. Soon, 21 other NBA teams will join them in the state, as the NBA gears up to restart the 2019-20 season in Disney World. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are surging in Florida. More than 100 pages of health and safety protocols have been established, covering everything from prohibitions on doubles ping-pong, to intensive testing procedures.
Today on Front Burner, freelance NBA reporter Alex Wong walks us through how this is all going to work, and whether it’s worth it.
Today in history: June 26
1854: Sir Robert Borden, Canada’s eighth prime minister, is born in Grand Pré, N.S. He served as prime minister from 1911 to 1920.
1976: The CN Tower officially opens in Toronto. At 555 metres, it was at the time the world’s tallest self-supporting structure.
1985: Peter Lougheed announces he plans to resign after 14 years as Alberta premier. He was succeeded as premier and Conservative leader by former cabinet minister Don Getty.
1990: Just days after the Meech Lake Accord died, former Brian Mulroney cabinet minister Lucien Bouchard and three other MPs form the separatist Bloc Québécois. It was designed as a vehicle to promote sovereignty for Quebec at the federal level and was to disband following a successful referendum on separatism.
2014: The Supreme Court of Canada grants aboriginal title to a specific tract of land — for the first time in Canadian history — to the Tsilhqot’in Nation in the B.C. Interior. The unanimous decision set a historic precedent affecting resource rights.