Anti-Abortion Agencies Get Millions in Government Funding

For immediate release

NATIONAL — Anti-abortion agencies that work to stop women from having an abortion by misinforming them about the procedure have received millions in government funding over the last five years, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) has discovered.

ARCC volunteers examined the online tax filings of 112 “crisis pregnancy centres” (CPCs) that are registered charities. (About 170 such centres exist in Canada, but a third do not operate as charities). The CPCs are being subsidized by taxpayers in two ways: Of the 112 centres, 58 received about $3.5 million in government funding from 2011 to 2015. Second, since charities don’t pay income tax on any of their other revenue, and also issue tax receipts that reduce donors’ taxable income, it increases the tax load for all Canadians.

In addition, 34 centres (58.6% of those receiving government funding; 30.4% of all CPC charities) did not correctly report their government funding to the Canada Revenue Agency. ARCC has asked the CRA to initiate reviews of all these anomalies (a common example was not reporting government funding as a separate amount as per CRA requirements).

Regardless of any possible financial irregularities in the tax returns of these centres, ARCC said that the centres should not be subsidized by taxpayers at all, and their charity status should be revoked. “A charity’s work is supposed to be for the public good,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of ARCC. “Groups that provide medical misinformation to women under the guise of ‘education’, or that cause distress and confusion for women seeking abortion under the guise of ‘counselling,’ should not have charitable tax status and should never get government funding.”

“The inherent anti-abortion bias of CPCs means they can’t be objective or professional because their main goal is to dissuade women from having an abortion. But abortion is a common and essential healthcare service, and access to it is a hard-fought constitutional right,” said Arthur.

“Man y centres operate from a fundamentalist religious perspective and rely on Christian volunteers who are not medically trained professionals,” said Kathy Dawson of ARCC, who researched and compiled the data that was submitted to the CRA. “But this agenda is often hidden from clients, who may assume counselling will be accredited, secular, and support all options.” That’s why we often call them ‘fake clinics’.” Dawson asked: “Do taxpayers want their money going to missions that exist to limit the reproductive rights of women, trans men and non-binary folk? Do taxpayers think a charity should be allowed to spread false propaganda? We don’t think so.” Given the financial anomalies that ARCC found, Dawson also questioned whether CPC charities are able to produce accurate and transparent information on their operations, as required by the CRA. “Full disclosure is important to donors, patients, the community, and taxpayers ,” she said.

ARCC’s investigation arose out of its recent study of CPC websites, which found that a large majority of the websites either presented misinformation on abortion or sexual health issues, and/or failed to disclose the centres’ anti-choice or religious agenda or that they are not medical clinics. ARCC continues to pursue other recommendations from that report in order to hold CPCs to account and educate the public.

Government Funding and Other Revenue Received by “Crisis Pregnancy Centres” (CPCs)

Direct Government Funding: From 2011 to 2015, “crisis pregnancy centres” (CPCs) that are registered charities reported a total of nearly $3.5 million in direct funding from all levels of government – over half a million from the federal government, $2.6 million from the provinces, and the rest from municipalities and regions. Grants came from various programs.

Indirect Government Funding: CPCs are also subsidized by taxpayers through their charitable status in two ways, resulting in lost tax revenues to governments:

  1. Charities pay no income taxes. These CPCs had total revenue of $65.8 million over five years, on which they paid no income tax to federal and provincial governments.
  2. Charities allow donors to shield income from taxes through tax receipts. Over the five-year period, CPCs issued nearly $38.2 million in such tax receipts.

At the minimum rate, this represents a loss of at least $5.7 million in direct federal income tax, with additional losses to provincial governments.

CPCs also received $11.8 million from other registered charities, representing an additional loss of at least $1.8 million at the federal level, again with losses also to the provinces.

The total loss in tax revenues to the federal government alone is at least $7.5 million. The provinces also lose out.

(Note: From 2011 to 2015, CPCs had a total combined revenue of $67.6 million.)

Links: (documents sent to CRA)

Media Contacts:

Joyce ArthurExecutive Director / Directrice générale, ARCC-CDAC, Vancouverjoyce@arcc-cdac.ca604-351-0867
Kathy DawsonARCC-CDAC, Edmontonkathy@arcc-cdac.ca780-914-4695
Carolyn EganOntario Coalition for Abortion Clinics, Torontoc.egan@sympatico.ca416-806-7985
Peggy CookeARCC-CDAC, Torontopedgehog@gmail.com416-709-1457
Julie Lalonde
(parle français)
ARCC-CDAC, Ottawajulie.s.lalonde@gmail.com613-301-2697
Josie BakerPEI Abortion Rights Network, Charlottetownpeiabortionrights@gmail.c902-368-7337
Christopher Kaposy,Ethicist, Memorial University / Éthicien,christopher.kaposy@med.709-864-3375
PhDUniversité Memorial, St. Johns NL / T.- / bur.)
Posted in