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Charities battered by COVID-19 say federal support desperately needed

The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls to provide direct support to Canada’s charity and non-profit sector as some of the country’s best-known and largest organizations say they are struggling to survive because of COVID-19.

YMCA Canada and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada both say they are facing severe financial difficulties even as demand for their services such as child care and food assistance have increased because of the pandemic.

While the federal government has included the sector in some of its COVID-19 supports such as wage subsidy and rent-deferral programs, the organizations say those have only gone so far in making ends meet.

A YMCA facility has already permanently closed its doors in Yarmouth, N.S., because of the pandemic and the Boys and Girls Clubs has shuttered its operations in Edson, Alta.

Cardus, a charity that does research on the non-profit sector, is suggesting the federal government start matching donations from Canadians to different organizations.

But the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs say such an approach will still leave many organizations struggling, and that direct federal support is what is ultimately needed to get them through the pandemic.