Charitable Status for Pregnancy Care Centres at Risk

Charitable Status for Pregnancy Care Centres at Risk

Canadian Centre for Christian Charities anticipates legal action on charitable registration.

The Canadian Centre for Christian Charities (CCCC) expresses disappointment in a campaign platform that mischaracterizes the work of Canada’s pregnancy care centres as “dishonest” and that targets them for the removal of charitable status.

CCCC takes no position and makes no comment on any party or candidates who may agree with this statement. However, as to the issue of charitable status, CCCC strongly disagrees with any policy – proposed or actual – that makes charitable status dependent on a particular worldview or an undefined meaning of “dishonest counseling.”

The platform promises to:

“… no longer provide charity status to anti-abortion organizations (for example, Crisis Pregnancy Centres) that provide dishonest counseling to women about their rights and about the options available to them at all stages of the pregnancy.”

In CCCC’s view, pregnancy care centres have been unjustly targeted in this statement. These centres provide much-needed emotional and practical help to thousands of expectant women and new mothers in the form of accurate, evidence-based counselling which includes information on all options; post-abortion care; nutrition and prenatal classes; and necessities such as cribs, strollers, baby food, clothing, and more. CCCC is aware that these exemplary organizations are committed to ensuring that each woman is empowered and treated with dignity, compassion and respect, regardless of her decisions.

“If any government implements a policy that denies charitable status on the basis of pro-life view, CCCC anticipates a legal challenge,” says Barry W. Bussey, CCCC’s Director of Legal Affairs. “Any such policy takes the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) Attestation to a serious and significant next level by excluding certain organizations from not only summer job funding, but charitable status. On the CSJ issue, we note that two of our members successfully challenged the federal government over its failure to properly administer the CSJ program. These recent decisions set a clear expectation for fairness in the provision of public services. Throughout the CSJ controversy, CCCC was outspoken in advocating for members, and we will continue those efforts on the question of charitable status.”

Given the ambiguity of how broadly the label “anti-abortion organizations” might be applied, and how “dishonest counseling” is defined, CCCC is concerned about the charitable status of churches and other charities that hold lawful, pro-life views. Considering the measurable financial and social benefits provided by faith-based charities, this would be a profound loss to Canadians.

CCCC urges that any such policy proposals be reconsidered and revoked.