CFIC calls for tax breaks for charities, not religions, as Canada “rebuilds better”

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA, April 7, 2021 / — The Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is calling on Canadian governments to tighten their tax rules as part of their post-pandemic “rebuild better” plans. It wants to see registered charities get the same or increased tax support, while weeding out those that call themselves charities, who are raking in billions in big tax breaks, but whose work does not contribute to Canada’s social safety net.

Governments and business continue to grapple with the economic impact of COVID-19. Restaurants and other small businesses struggle or disappear. People are struggling financially, mentally and physically. Yet tens of thousands of religious organizations across Canada drain billions from the public purse every year. These tax breaks are granted for simply, and only spreading religion, not on the basis of doing work that benefits Canadians.

Canada’s religious groups get all the benefits of charitable status without needing to perform any charitable work. For spreading their religion, they are given the same support as other registered charities. This includes issuing charitable receipts, receiving government transfers and enjoying special tax status related to income tax, GST/HST and property tax.

“The government of Canada should be neutral in matters of religion, neither supporting nor suppressing religious expression,” said Leslie Rosenblood, Secular Chair of CFIC. “Religious organizations should and do have the right to spread their faith by, for example, giving religious instruction or building and maintaining a place of worship. However, it violates the government’s duty of neutrality to lavish these organizations with generous tax breaks on par with those granted to anti-poverty groups or educational institutions.”

CFIC is calling for the same or increased tax breaks only for registered charities that continue to offer important, real-world services. Examples include those providing health care, educational programs and help for people living in poverty. These important charities are struggling to deal with the pandemic while continuing to help Canadians.

Lumped in with those important hardworking charities are over 30,000organizations that have obtained charitable status under the category of Advancement of Religion. Under this category, an organization can achieve charitable status for “promoting specific religious doctrine”, “spreading its message ever wider among mankind” and “taking positive steps to sustain and increase religious belief.” CFIC is calling for elimination of the Advancement of Religion category.
How much does the local church, synagogue or mosque cost you? Probably more than you think. The Centre for Inquiry Canada is providing an answer to this question in its series of reports “The Cost of Religion in Canada.” The first of the series, The Cost of Religion in Canada An Introductory Report Exploring Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose, is available on their website at

For more information:
Sandra Dunham
Executive Director of Development

Sandra Dunham
Centre for Inquiry, Canada
+1 705-955-4463
email us here

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