Letter to Prime Minister outlines ways government can encourage individual donors.
The Regional Animal Protection Society has joined hundreds of other charities across Canada in commending the Government of Canada for the response to COVID-19 so far and calling on them to further incentivize charitable giving to support this vital community sector during these challenging times.
Below is the text of the letter.
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March 30, 2020
Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
As you address the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, please accept our support and gratitude, as well as every wish for the health of you and your family members. Thank you for all you are doing, proving leadership in this uncertain time.
While you confront the human health as well as the economic implications of this crisis, we wish to add our voices to those asking you to consider steps to encourage those Canadians who have the capacity to contribute to nonprofit organizations.
Small and large businesses, indeed entire industry sectors, will be sharing their rightful concerns and seeking support from your government. We know that your announced stimulus packages and other policies are aimed at ameliorating the inevitable economic implications to every segment of Canada’s workforce and economy.
In times of economic challenge, among the first to feel the effects are nonprofit organizations and charities. It is sadly ironic that it is precisely at these times when these organizations are likely to face their steepest increases in demand.
To give you an understanding of our case, the Regional Animal Protection Society is a 25-year-old, no-kill animal-serving organization. Located in Richmond, B.C., we operate the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, a vast fostering network, a Pet Food Bank, two thrift stores and a not-for-profit, community-owned veterinary hospital.
Especially through our animal hospital and Pet Food Bank, we are able to deliver services to households with low incomes. In the two years since the hospital opened, we have provided $1.2 million in partially or fully subsidized care to animals in households with low incomes and facing other challenges. We provide free or reduced-fee services to pets in emergency and homeless shelters. We advocate on behalf of animals and their people. We know, as you do, that animals make our lives, families, neighbourhoods and communities safer, healthier and happier.
Yet just as we anticipate and prepare for a spike in demand for subsidized services and a possible increase in surrendered animals caused by family financial crises, we see our revenues decline due to the indefinite closure of our thrift stores and reduced clientele from the community utilizing our veterinary services during this period.
Like other charities, we are calling on the government to please consider additional tax credit considerations or other measures to encourage Canadians to contribute to charities of their choice in 2020.
We certainly recognize the economic constraints that you are under. Like us, governments at all levels will be experiencing revenue declines just as demands for government services increase.
The not-for-profit sector is a critical part of the economy, providing ongoing and stopgap services that allow the government to focus resources elsewhere. Charities are also uniquely position to delivery services directly to those who need them most, with existing infrastructure already in place and community partnerships already forged.
A 2015 study concluded that, as a percentage of Canada’s GDP, the charitable sector is larger than many other industries, including mining, finance, real estate, utilities and agriculture. We believe that tax measures to encourage charitable giving will have crucial positive impacts on the charity sector and, by extension, the entire economy, including enabling charities to keep more Canadians employed.
By allowing organizations like ours to meet increasing demand from Canadians facing temporary hardships, while also ensuring that services currently provided by charities do not fall to government, thereby further burdening your budgets, we believe increasing tax-deductible benefits for charitable giving will be a cost-effective step. It would also be a vote of confidence from the highest levels of leadership about the central importance of the charity sector to the country’s economic and communal well-being.
We would also be honoured if you would agree to visit our RAPS Animal Hospital, one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit animal veterinary clinics based in Richmond B.C.
On behalf of the animals and people of the Regional Animal Protection Society,
Eyal Lichtmann, CEO and Executive Director
Changes in Human Behaviour Lead to Changes in Coyote Routines
Springtime is breeding season for coyotes, as it is for many other animals. By and large, coyotes coexist mostly uneventfully with people and domestic animals. However, emerging evidence suggests that the coronavirus crisis is having consequences on coyote behaviours.
The decrease in human activity may be driving coyotes into areas they would usually avoid, such as now-deserted town centres. Additionally, the decrease in restaurant, café and takeout meals is reducing the availability of discarded human food, which attracts coyotes and/or their rodent prey.
As a result, several concerning incidents have occurred. A person on a local COVID-19-related social media platform said he and his dog were pursued two blocks by a coyote in the Oakridge area Sunday, until they got safely home.
News reports say that a dog was killed and a cyclist was pursued by coyotes in the Fraser Valley in recent days.
As a result, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has issued a warning and advice for people to protect themselves and their pets.
Preventative measures include:
If you experience a worrying encounter with a coyote (or a wolf), the service advises:
Call the Conservation Officer Service Call Centre at 1-877-952-7277 if a wolf or coyote poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety.
If your pet has been injured or has come in contact with a wild animal, call the RAPS Animal Hospital, which is open during this crisis with special protocols in place, at 604-242-1666.
We hope that you and those you love – humans and other animals – are staying healthy at home and maintaining social distancing. We want you to know that RAPS is doing our best to continue services to the animals.
Here is a summary of our actions and activities.
At all RAPS facilities, best practices in proscribed sanitization and social distancing have been implemented.
RAPS Animal Hospital
The RAPS Animal Hospital is open as an essential service to care for animals. Staff are still working hard, with scrupulous attentiveness to sanitizing and limiting interaction with the public.
For families financially affected by coronavirus or facing challenges for any other reason, we offer No-interest Wellness Payment Plans.
For the protection of staff and the public, we are practicing social distancing. We are requesting you to please call us to determine whether your pet needs to be seen now or later. We are accepting all emergency and urgent cases. If you book an appointment, call us when you arrive and stay in your car. A staff member will come to receive your pet. A veterinarian will call you to discuss treatment plans and, again, a staff member will meet you at your car to sign necessary permissions. Call the hospital at 604-242-1666 or book online.
Stay home and order in for your pup or kitty! Order your animals’ foods, litter, treats and toys and have them delivered right to your door.
RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter
We are fostering as many animals as possible into homes to reduce burden on limited staff at the Shelter.
The Shelter is closed to the public, except by appointment for emergencies such as surrenders and strays.
RAPS Cat Sanctuary
The RAPS Cat Sanctuary is closed to the public.
Limited staff and volunteers, working in shifts and maintaining social distancing, are delivering the individualized care the residents need and expect.
RAPS Thrift Stores
The Thrift Stores are closed, but stay tuned for our online store!
Advice for animal guardians
Companion animals cannot contract or transmit COVID-19. However, just as we are not shaking hands, petting should be limited only to members of the household. When out walking, don’t let others pet your dog and blow kisses at other pets from a distance.
Follow RAPS social media channels for fun and amusing ideas for keeping your pets happy and entertained.
Can you help?
Everything we do is possible only because of your support.
More than ever … your support is needed and deeply appreciated. With the thrift stores closed and the hospital largely limited to urgent cases, our revenues are down – just as demand for services like our Pet Food Bank and No-interest Wellness Payment Plans are about to spike.
If you are in a position to help, we would be enormously grateful.
We encourage online donations through CanadaHelps to minimize administrative processing demands and eliminate cash transmissions.
If you’re staying at home more – as we know you are! –consider contributing some of money you are saving on social activities!
We are in perpetual need of pet food and other supplies. Consider making an online purchase from our wish lists for the Shelter and Sanctuary!
On behalf of the people of RAPS, but especially on behalf of the animals … Thank you for your continued support.