GTA

Toronto charities see drop in donations following Canada Post strike

Some Toronto charities say they’re seeing a marked decrease in the number of donations they receive through the mail this holiday season as a result of the Canada Post strike.

The Sick Kids Foundation is one of the charities hit hard, according to CEO Ted Garrard.

Donations are down 33 per cent compared with the same time last year. That equates to about $2 million.

“During the holidays, some of our most loyal donors give through the mail,” he said. “We typically find older people like to write the personal cheque. Sometimes they like to attach notes to them.”

The Scott Mission has also seen a 15 per cent drop in projected donations for the month of November, which could affect its programming.

‘Hard choices’

The mission offers meals, operates a homeless shelter, a clothing bank and an after school program for kids.

“When we’re not able to meet our budget, there’s hard choices that need to be made on what we can do going forward,” said Holly Thompson, its director of public relations.

Thompson attributes the lack of donations to various reasons, with the postal strike being the biggest.

“It’s an unfortunate reality,” said Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton. “We said right from the beginning we wanted a deal to avoid [a strike] because of the impact on charities and businesses.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Humane Society said it also had a scare in November during the rotating strikes, but has since bounced back.

“It was scary,” said Tegan Buckingham, director of marketing at the Toronto Humane Society. “Since then, we’ve started seeing the money coming back.”

Canadians less generous

This week, the Fraser Institute published a report revealing donations to registered charities dropped 32.2 per cent since 2006.

It also found Canadians gave less than Americans.

The study, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2018 Generosity Index, found 20 per cent of  Canadians claimed charitable donations on their tax return in 2016, compared with almost 25 per cent of Americans.

With the strike now over, Thompson with the Scott Mission says she’s still hopeful the public will give.

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