Ottawa cuts funding for CFSH

Former Planned Parenthood loses 99 per cent of federal funding

dollarsignAn Interim investigation has found that over the past half decade, the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health has had its federal government grants cut by more than 99 per cent.

The federation, formerly the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada and still the Canadian member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, has charitable status, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. The CFSH says on its website that it “promote(s) sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and abroad.” It also admits being a “pro-choice organization.” Its member affiliates, which operate in all 10 provinces, provide sex information, contraception and abortion referrals; according to REAL Women of Canada, it is the leading abortion referral service in Canada.

According to the CFSH’s website, it is also involved in advocacy, “act(ing) as a national voice to protect and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Although the CFSH does not list an amount it spends on lobbying, the old Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada admitted to spending up to 10 per cent of its annual budget on political advocacy, which is permitted under Canada Revenue Agency rules for charities.

According to the financial returns of the CFSH and the former PPFC, which are public information available at the Canada Revenue Agency website, the federation received $1,143,358 in federal government grants in 2005, while their total expenditures that year came to $2,360,903. In other words, Ottawa provided about half (48 per cent) of their operating budget.

In 2006, they received $1,285,674 in federal grants and spent $2,278,884. Government handouts accounted for more than half (56.4 per cent) of their expenditures in 2006. In 2006, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada changed its name to the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health.

Beginning in 2007, grants from the federal government began to decrease as it received $743,745. Its expenditures fell to $1,655,249.

In 2008, grants totaled $482,498 while its expenditures dipped to $1,467,005, about a million dollars less than it spent just three years earlier.

In 2009, total grants were $9,381. The Canadian Federation for Sexual Health’s expenditures last year totalled $815,153. Federal grants accounted for just 1.1 per cent of its spending.

The CFSH does not receive any provincial or municipal funding, although its local members do. Some local members, such as those in Kitchener, Ont. and Calgary, also receive federal grants.

REAL Women's Gwen Landolt praises cuts to special interest group.

REAL Women's Gwen Landolt praises cuts to special interest group.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women, told The Interim she was elated the government was “taking a reasonable approach to non-government organizations.”

For years, REAL Women has made presentations to the finance committee’s pre-budget hearings, asking for cuts to special interest groups, including Planned Parenthood and its reincarnation as the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health. Diane Watts, a researcher with REAL Women, told The Interim such groups receive funds from taxpayers despite being “unrepresentative of the Canadian public.” Landolt added these groups receive money, but are not accountable on how they spend it. She said the current Conservative government is “more inclined to take responsibility for taxpayers’ money” than recent Liberal governments.

Landolt also said special interest groups that lobby the government should not receive money from the government. She noted Planned Parenthood received millions of dollars from the Chretien and Martin governments and then turned around and lobbied those same governments for more money to promote its radical agenda at home and internationally, including through the United Nations.

In contrast, Landolt, who worked with Toronto Right to Life and Campaign Life in the 1970s and 1980s, said the pro-life movement does not receive funding for its operations. “We didn’t get a penny,” she said.

Landolt said the 99 per cent cut in funding over five years is long overdue: “Finally, a recognition of the abuse of taxpayer money.”

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told The Interim it is wrong to fund one side of moral and political issues and not the other. But he added that cutting, and eventually ending, the funding for abortion and contraceptive services is both economically expedient and morally correct. “In economic times such as these, the government can save money by cutting funding to unrepresentative special interest groups,” he said. “But in the long-term, it makes more sense to completely stop funding organizations that are reducing births, because Canada faces a demographic crisis. It does make sense to promote and pay for contraception and abortion when the country faces a grey future without enough workers.”

CLC, which has long campaigned for cuts to special interest groups, said Ottawa should go all the way and cut off funding for local CFSH member affiliates also.

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