Donating through your company: The Syria Emergency Relief Fund


It’s hard not to have an emotional response to the Syrian conflict. As always in the case of war or terrorism, the hardest part is seeing innocent people suffer.  This suffering has prompted a response from Canadian businesses, large and small, to raise funds and donations to ease refugees’ suffering.

With over a quarter million deceased, more than 12 million in need of urgent help within Syria’s borders and more than 4 million fleeing to neighboring countries, the need to take action is clear. In response, the Government of Canada has launched the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

How the Syria Emergency Relief Fund Works

From September 12 to December 31, every dollar that is donated to a registered Canadian charity will be matched by the government. Those matching dollars will be placed in the Relief Fund. The Fund will be capped at $100 million. It is important to note that you cannot donate directly to the Fund, only to registered charities accepting donations for Syrian relief.

Donating as a Company

The Syria Emergency Relief Fund is set up for individual Canadians, but groups and companies can still take part. If you wish to donate as a company, the funds have to be raised by the individuals within the company and not come from the existing resources or assets of the group.

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada explains, “For example, if an individual belonging to a group or organization, such as a school, organizes an event involving students and staff, the proceeds of that event are eligible for matching by the Government of Canada if they are donated by the individual organizer to a registered Canadian charity on behalf of the individual’s school or organization. Any contribution that the corporation, organization or group adds to the amount raised in the fundraising activity or event is not eligible for matching.”

If you have the option, donate to a registered charity through your company versus yourself personally. Donations as a company are fully tax deductible up to 75% of your net income. Donating as an individual is only 15% tax deductible up to $200 then 29% tax deductible over and above that.

How to Donate

  1. Select a registered charity that is raising funds for Syrian relief. You can check out if a charity is registered by visiting CRA’s charity listing page.
  2. Make your donation between September 12 and December 31, 2015.
  3. Declare if the donation is from an individual or as an individual on behalf of a group.
  4. Verify that your charity of choice will declare your donation to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada by January 15, 2016.

Be Careful With Your Choice of Donations

Make sure the charity you choose is eligible not only for a tax deduction, but also for the relief fund! They must be using funds for the Syrian emergency and must be declaring those funds to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in order for your contribution to be matched.

Working Together Makes Us Stronger

The Syrian crisis is a horrible tragedy. When we all work together, we can help make the wrongs in this world a little brighter. Raising funds as a company unit not only helps the cause, but also fosters a strong team spirit and employee morale.

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