#WeekendReads – The Health of the Charitable Sector: Imagine Canada

Welcome back to the #WeekendReads series! Every Friday the Oakville Community Foundation will be sharing reports, data and information to help you stay informed when it comes to the community, the charitable sector and more. Click here for previous installments.

Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization that provides charities and non-profit organizations with resources, research, programs and assistance to help them better support their communities. 

The Imagine Canada Sector Monitor focuses on the health and well-being of Canadian charitable organizations and determines how they’re faring in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve collected a few of the biggest takeaways for you!


COVID-19 has exacerbated issues in our communities that many charities have been able to fill. Close to half of charities are currently reporting higher demand, an increase from the initial surge of demand early in the pandemic. Basic-needs focused charities that support food and housing demands as well as mental and physical health needs have faced the brunt of this demand.

However, the increased demand is often met with decreased capacity due to physical distancing rules, fewer staff members and decreased revenues. Nationally, approximately 31% of charities currently have fewer paid staff than pre-pandemic and 60% of charities say there has been a decline in their number of volunteers. We have seen charities facing similar problems in our communities, needing more staff to be able to keep up with increased cleaning needs and client demand.

The result of this increased demand but decreased capacity is overrun staff, with 50% of charities reporting their ability to maintain work/life balance has decreased.


Charitable organizations have found their key revenue sources changing throughout the pandemic. Practicing physical distancing has made fundraising increasingly difficult and donations over 2020 declined. Organizations have been forced to rely on reserve funds and letting go of staff or reducing expenses.

While charities didn’t receive the same support from their usual revenue channels, most charities received increased support from the government. This came in the form of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, among others. The Foundation also granted more than $680,000 through the Emergency Community Support Fund in 2020 for charities supporting vulnerable community members.

In general, half of charities reported a decline in revenues, with an average decline of 43%. Event-based fundraising saw the biggest decline.

There’s more! Click here to read the full report, including specifics on the types of charities, the adaptation of the sector and more.


Noting these changes, and the shift in both demand and capacity, the Oakville Resiliency Fund is needed to continue to support these emerging and changing financial challenges for our local charities. The Foundation continues to keep an eye on the pulse of our own charities’ needs and demands, and will use donations from the Oakville Resiliency Fund to support our local community needs. 

Donate to the Resiliency Fund