Charities worry about loss of trust, donations in wake of WE deal controversy

Sector concerned

OTTAWA — The head of a group promoting charities says the sector is worried about long-term negative impacts of the ongoing WE controversy on Parliament Hill.

Imagine Canada’s Bruce MacDonald says the concerns are that donors will pull back on giving money, or volunteering their time, due to a lack of trust in how it’s used.

Imagine Canada, a charity itself, has calculated the COVID-19 pandemic will cut donations by up to $6 billion this year, and that was before the controversy hit.

MacDonald says another worry is that governments will become hesitant to partner with charities over political concerns.

WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger spent four hours at the House of Commons committee last week, where they were peppered with questions about their organization’s complex structure and social enterprise arm known as ME to WE.

MacDonald says having multiple foundations and arms is not representative of the sector, but adds many charities do rely on social enterprises to fund their operations.

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