Canadian Red Cross responds to inaccurate media reports on Alberta Flood operations

Topics: Alberta
May 12, 2016

The Canadian Red Cross is a national community-based organization committed to working alongside local partners in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. We are committed to transparency and frequently reporting back to the public on not only what we do – but how we do it.

As part of our response to the Alberta Floods in 2013, we invested $12 Million dollars to support over 100 different local initiatives that contributed to recovery efforts in the communities affected by the floods to help them build back strong and resilient.

The Canadian Red Cross reported back to our donors at regular intervals including the 3 month, 6 month, 1 year and 2 year marks after the devastating flooding. As part of these communication efforts we published donor reports that transparently referenced these contributions. Some examples of this reporting includes:

Three month Donor Report: We referenced $600, 000 was allocated to Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta Society’s repair and restoration  work and that $500,000 was allocated to Samaritan’s Purse to undertake flood clean up.  The numbers reflected at the three month mark exceed the 2% figure that was reported this week.

Six Month Donor Report: We reported on our shelter program where we were working alongside, and provided financial support to, local groups to clean up, repair and rebuild affected homes. We also identified and listed grant recipients including eight local foodbanks and eleven other community groups.

One Year Donor Report: We detail our plan from “Emergency Response” to “Building Back Stronger” and identify our methodology of funding community grants and reconstruction.  We also describe our “Community Initiative” work and report that we have provided “almost 40 grants to date” and again list community group recipients.

Two Year Donor Report: We explicitly explain that over $7 million was contributed to support community projects and our support to grant programs.
The predominant way Canadian Red Cross operates in a disaster is to have its staff and volunteers carry out its own activities because of our expertise in disaster relief and recovery.  In addition, as part of the response we invest money to support local groups.   

A full list of our community partnerships is available here.

Canadian Registered Charities, including the Canadian Red Cross, file the publically available T3010 annual return along with financial statements and certain schedules to report on items such as revenue and expenditures to the Canada Revenue Agency. The T3010 is a very useful tool but it is only approximately 10 pages long and is designed to report on the complete expenditures of the organization for the year. It is not designed to provide information on either provincial expenditures or regional expenditures. 

We work with Canadian registered charities and other local groups that have tremendous skills and capacity to respond to disasters. Generally speaking, following a disaster the Red Cross does not solely provide “gifts” to registered charities but rather enters into contractual arrangements with partners in an effort to ensure that the funds are used for the purpose for which they were donated. We exert direction and control over the funds disbursed by monitoring and auditing work and requiring stringent reporting back.

These important partnerships with both charities and non-charities doing vital work are not necessarily reflected in the “Qualified Donees Worksheet”  which identifies “gifts” to other registered charities and qualified donees. However the contributions to service providers, some of which are not qualified donees, are reflected in the numbers provided on the T3010.  

We stand by our community-based approach and our strong commitment to transparent and accountable reporting. We are always happy to talk about the incredible work our volunteers do in communities across the country every day.

When there is a disaster, we encourage all donors to do their own research and find an organization that has the capacity and skill to respond effectively, whose work is in line with their personal beliefs and values and reports regularly on the work that they doing.
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