Senate Affirms Advancing Religion in New Report

We are thankful to God and for the prayers of our members as we share with you that the newly released Senate report reviewing the charity sector in Canada affirms “Advancing Religion” as a charitable purpose and recognizes the points raised by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities in its two presentations to the committee.

We’re grateful for the many people who prayed for this favourable outcome. I hope it gives our members an extra boost of confidence that their charitable work is recognized by our government as a great benefit to Canadians.

The Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector (CSSB) affirmed Canada’s religious communities for their commendable charitable work following a comprehensive review of the sector. CCCC presented a study in March to the CSSB highlighting the significant public benefit provided by charities that advance religion. CCCC is grateful to the CSSB for not only affirming this position but highlighting that “religion is the base on which Canadians learn philanthropy,” according to Senate Chair Terry M. Mercer in a press conference on Thursday, June 20th.

This report serves as a reminder that advancing religion contributes to a better Canada. It’s a position that we’ve championed in the sector to encourage Christian charities, no matter their size or where they serve across the country, that their impact is significant and helps both religious and nonreligious Canadians thrive.

The committee’s remarks are encouraging for our members and the many Canadians who benefit from local churches and ministries that equip people to learn their faith and live their faith. Our research to the committee highlighted how religious Canadians thrive as individuals and create positive effects in their local communities. It also presented the social benefit to all Canadians from the goodwill, resources and spiritual care provided by religious charities.

Senators affirmed what CCCC presented by offering their own comments highlighting the role that many religious charities have in Canada.

“Churches are community hubs, especially in rural and northern communities…they form the basis of our communities…” – Senator Robert Black

“Yes, they are promoting their own religion, but I think religion is a good thing. It depends—and I’m not going to single out any particular religion—each person has a relationship with their god that is very personal and how they express that is important. Churches, synagogues, mosques have been the focal point in many communities; they have been the cement that’s kept communities together. – Senator Terry M. Mercer, Chair

“I think we need to recognize that religious institutions do more than simply preserve their religious beliefs; they extend themselves in very significant ways, and we should appreciate and recognize that, as opposed to looking at whether they should qualify (for charitable status) or not. – Senator Ratna Omidvar, Deputy Chair

The committee issued their report “Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector” with 42 recommendations for the sector. CCCC will delve further into the recommendations and provide insights to their members. Learn more about CCCC member benefits.

Blessings,

Rev. John Pellowe, MBA, DMin, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council of Christian Charities