Canada’s Humane Societies and SPCAs: A comprehensive look at the sector

Canada’s Humane Societies and SPCAs

This ground-breaking report, available for download in both French and English by clicking the images above, provides the first comprehensive analysis of Canada’s sector of humane societies and SPCAs. Using data from a cross-Canada survey and the Canada Revenue Agency’s Registered Charity Information Returns, Humane Canada looks at the humane sector’s contributions to Canadian society, the volunteer and financial support it receives and some of the challenges it faces.

This report was prepared by Humane Canada, also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. As the national voice for animal welfare, Humane Canada represents humane societies and SPCAs across Canada, driving positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.

Humane Societies and SPCAs in Canada: A comprehensive look at the sector was funded by Humane Canada, as well as a major donor who wishes to remain anonymous and five of our member societies from across Canada. We thank Animal Welfare Agency South Central Ontario (AWASCO), BC SPCA, Montreal SPCA, Ottawa Humane Society and Toronto Humane Society in helping to make this report possible.

Key findings:

  • Humane Canada estimates that more than 103,000 investigations were carried out by Canada’s humane societies and SPCAs in 2014.

  • Overall, 21% of the revenue in our sector came from government funding – the majority coming from municipal sources.

  • Less than 50% of the costs of enforcing provincial or federal animal cruelty legislation are covered by government funding despite our mandate to enforce the law.

  • 45% of the total sector revenue of $187.8 million comes directly from donations, with 85% of donation revenue coming from individual donors. The result is that the responsibility of protecting animals in Canadian society is falling mainly to individual donors and the charities they support.

  • 93% of Canada’s humane societies and SPCAs operate animal shelters. In 2014, these organizations spent an estimated $118.4 million sheltering more than 278,000 animals.

  • 67% of responding Humane Societies and SPCAs deliver humane education programs in their communities.

  • Public financial support of Canada’s humane societies and SPCAs is on par with public support of arts and culture initiatives or development/housing organizations.

  • Canada’s 125 humane societies and SPCAs employ close to 2,000 staff, supported by an estimated 26,000 volunteers.