COVID-19 Immediate Health Charity Impacts

March 19, 2020

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister of Canada

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

re: Financial Support for Health Charities impacted by COVID-19

I am writing to you on behalf of the members of the Health Charities Coalition of Canada (HCCC) to request that the health charity sector be supported as governments identify and deploy financial assistance packages to assist with the impacts of COVID-19.

The member health charities of HCCC represent Canadians with a wide range of medical conditions, each with different key issues. In addition to supporting patients, our members also bring together health providers to set standards of practices and invest in vital health research. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have been working with Canada’s Public Health Agency as well as our scientific and medical directors to ensure that Canadians are receiving timely information regarding how to best protect themselves during this pandemic. 

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented challenge for Canada’s health care system as well as the organizations that are actively supporting patients afflicted by cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and many other debilitating diseases and conditions. While the government’s recently announced stimulus plan is an effective measure to support Canadians and employers, there is more support needed to protect the ability for health charities to continue to provide support for vulnerable patients during this pandemic.

The Canadian health care system needs strong and resilient health charities to look out for patients so that they are able to be supported outside of the formal healthcare system in order to prevent any increased strain on the healthcare system during this time of crisis.

As this pandemic continues to evolve, we are concerned about the potential for patients to be challenged in accessing non-invasive and invasive ventilation equipment as it is prioritized for COVID-19 patients and away from already vulnerable populations. This concern goes beyond equipment but also to health human resources, as well. As the capacity of the healthcare system becomes stressed, the already limited access to personal support workers and other in-home healthcare providers will become even more limited.

The challenges health charities and patients face are significant and daunting. As a result of efforts to bend the curve and impacts from the volatile economy, health charities are forecasting an immediate 30% reduction in revenues, directly impacting staffing levels and capacity to provide patient care and supports, including:

  • Support for caregivers and families: virtual connections with individuals and groups, psychological support for people suffering with a disease and their caregivers in an effort to minimize caregiver fatigue as well as disease specific information and education;
  • Mobility and communication equipment: providing health care equipment including hospital beds, wheelchairs, lifts and accessible bathroom supports that allow those living with diseases to do so safely at home. Charities rely on partnerships within the broader supply chain to support patients with their specific needs, including occupational therapists and medical device and equipment businesses that need to remain viable to support patients.
  • Health system support:Health charities must have the capacity to continue to anticipate, identify and advocate for issues arising to ensure that vulnerable communities are not made further vulnerable in response efforts to COVID-19.
  • Research:charities are actively involved and invested in research across a number of disease states, in partnership with other organizations, corporations and government. This will be significantly impacted as a result of revenue losses in the coming weeks and months.

We are requesting that we have an immediate discussion with the appropriate officials in your government about these challenges our members are facing and work together to identify solutions to protect our ability to provide care for vulnerable patients. I can be reached by email at or by phone at 613.914.4622 and am available to have this discussion at the earliest opportunity.

Thank you for your tremendous leadership during this difficult time and for considering our request.

Yours sincerely,

Connie Côté

Chief Executive Officer, Health Charities Coalition of Canada


The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister

The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board

The Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The Hon. William Sterling Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Health

The Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

The Hon. William Francis Morneau, Minister of Finance

The Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion





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