Ontario Budget 2021
ONN’s pre-budget submission
The nonprofit sector plays an essential role in job creation, volunteer engagement, and programs and services that support the well-being of Ontarians. However, nonprofits have been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis: struggling to maintain their operations and their ability to generate revenue for programs and services, and often being on the frontlines to support Ontarians hard hit by the pandemic’s economic and social devastation in communities.
As employers, nonprofits are also grappling with the uncertainty, stress, and burnout it has caused among staff and volunteers. When we surveyed 1,100 nonprofits last June, one in five nonprofits was expected to close by the end of the year. We have already witnessed many COVID-related closures and the lack of direct support from government will mean the closure of many more in the coming months. These closures translate into lost jobs and less activity for local economies, and will leave major gaps in the programs and supports intended to help Ontarians rebound from a pandemic almost a year long already.The Ontario government’s Small Business Support Grant is an important downpayment to provide funding to stabilize the nonprofit sector. While this will be a lifeline for nonprofits that meet the eligibility criteria, many nonprofits will not qualify.
ONN’s recommendation: Provide stabilization funding for nonprofits to withstand the significant disruptions to their revenue and operations so they can continue to serve Ontarians and local economies in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- Retool the Small Business Support Grant to cover a broader range of small nonprofit employers, including:
- Extend eligibility to nonprofits and charities that were required by public health regulations to close or significantly modify services prior to the December 26 province-wide shutdown, if they meet the revenue-loss threshold
- Extend eligibility to those that remained open as “essential services” (approximately one-third of the sector), if they meet the revenue-loss threshold
- Increase the $20,000 maximum grant to $50,000 for nonprofits that suffered $100,000 or more in revenue declines
- Introduce $1,000 to $10,000 micro-grants for volunteer-only nonprofits (with no paid staff) to mitigate the impact of their reduced volunteer and fundraising capacity, and help them adapt through new processes, and technology