12 September 2022
Screen-Shot-2022-09-12-at-3-53-24-PM-(1).pngDear Friend,

You donate to causes that you’re passionate about – to charities doing the work that matters to you and that reflects your faith and what you value (Heb 13:16).
And as a Canadian, you enjoy the freedom to support whatever charities you choose, without government interference.
And for their part, charities are able to pursue activities that Canadians support through their donations, whether or not the particular activities align with the values of the government in power. The system is designed to prevent this sort of political interference.
But this is exactly what the current government is intending to do.
During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberal party promised that if re-elected, the government would “no longer provide charity status to anti-abortion organizations (for example, Crisis Pregnancy Centres) that provide dishonest counseling to women about their rights and their options.”
Pro-abortion groups in Canada have been lobbying for this change for years and are pushing the government to make good on their election promise. And in the wake of the recent US Supreme Court decision, which overturned Roe v Wade, the pressure has intensified greatly.
Our concern? The terms “anti-abortion organizations” and “dishonest counseling” have not been clearly defined. Currently, charitable status is denied or revoked for any group – whether it’s pro- or anti-abortion – that operates fraudulently. So, what is this change really about?
If it is the government’s intention to set apart and penalize groups that oppose abortion, this could have far-reaching implications. Could churches or other places of worship that affirm the sanctity of life from conception to natural death lose their charitable status? What about faith-based institutions (e.g., hospitals, camps, schools, shelters, etc.) that uphold similar beliefs?
Canadians can and do have different beliefs about abortion and when life begins. Excluding charities (and donors) from public benefits solely on the basis of their life-affirming beliefs clearly violates Charter guarantees of the freedom of conscience, religion, belief, and expression. Governments should not be able to legislate against charitable causes they happen to disagree with. And Canadians pursuing recognized charitable causes should not be unfairly and unlawfully discriminated against on account of their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Politicians are not to hand pick which charities should have status. The established process of regulating charities is undertaken by the Canadian Revenue Agency and operates independently from politicians. It allows the 86,000+ registered charities in Canada to address a wide range of needs that benefit our whole society. Subjecting charities to a values test would de-stabilize the whole charitable sector – where charity status might be granted one day and revoked the next, depending on the views of a particular government!
It is also disturbing that the government has singled out crisis pregnancy centres for greater scrutiny – insinuating that they provide “dishonest counseling” to women – simply because they are pro-life. Their proposal mischaracterizes crisis pregnancy centres, which have been and continue to be a source of tremendous help and support for countless Canadian women facing unintended pregnancies.
In a country that proudly claims to respect diversity of thought, opinion and lived experience, characterizing those who express opposing views as being “dishonest” is both hurtful and counterproductive. No legitimate charity that operates with honesty and integrity should have its work characterized as deceitful, simply because it does not affirm the government’s position.
Pregnancy Care Canada (PCC), an EFC affiliate organization, is an association of over 80 life-affirming, Christ-centred pregnancy care centres across Canada.
PCC centres seek to provide a compassionate and safe environment for women to make pregnancy decisions that are fully informed, evidence-based, and consistent with their beliefs. They inform their clients right from the start that they do not provide or assist in arranging abortions, but do provide medically accurate information on abortion, adoption and parenting. They respect each woman’s right to make her own decision. These centres also provide free supplies like diapers, formula and clothing, as well as prenatal education.
Removing the charitable status of pregnancy care centres could seriously harm their capacity to serve and care for their clients. Many of these centres serve vulnerable communities across Canada. Many of their clients are marginalized, struggling financially, and lack adequate supports. Many are unsure about their pregnancy decisions and uncertain about their choices.
The EFC is seeking clarification of the government’s plans and intentions on this issue. We have respectfully requested to be included in any consultations on changes to charitable status.
Will you help? Please pray that the good work of many pro-life charitable organizations may be recognized and affirmed by our government, and for the continued freedom to hold pro-life beliefs without penalty in this country. Please contact your MP to express your concerns. And please prayerfully consider making a financial gift today in support of the EFC’s work on this issue. As always, we are thankful for your partnership!


Bruce Clemenger

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