Who We Are – Federated Health Charities Blog

Mar 16, 2023

Our story starts in the 1960s. That’s when a small group of provincial employees got together to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual spring Daffodil Campaign.

The fundraiser was so successful, they did it again the next year. And the year after that.

A second charity, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, was added to the now annual fundraiser in 1972 but otherwise, the campaign remained the same. It was a campaign organized and run by and for Ontario government employees in government offices across the province to benefit people in their communities who were experiencing serious and life-threatening illnesses.

It wasn’t until 1983 that the annual health fundraiser was formalized as Federated Health Charities, putting it on the same footing as the annual United Way campaign, which still runs a provincial government fundraising campaign every spring. By establishing Federated Health Charities, provincial employees would be able to donate to health charities through payroll deductions, allowing them to spread their donations out over a year or more, in addition to one-time donations and funds raised through special in-office events like bake sales, silent auctions and lottery ticket sales.

Federated Health Charities continued to be run by provincial employees seconded by the Ontario Public Service until 1996 when the Ontario government asked the member charities to take over the administration of the campaign. The first full-time Executive Director was hired in 1997, followed by a Campaign Administrator in 1998.

Meanwhile, the number of organizations that received support from the Federated Health Charities campaign also continued to grow to 17 member charities by the 1990s, including Diabetes Canada, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, the Lung Health Foundation, Hemophilia Ontario, the Arthritis Society, Alzheimer Ontario, The Ontario AIDS Network, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Today, Federated Health Charities is a coalition of 21 health charities serving Ontarians. Our mission is to raise awareness and funds to help our member charities deliver health education and awareness, fund medical research, and provide client and patient services in communities throughout Ontario. What started as a single campaign benefiting a single charity, has grown into one of Canada’s most successful and longest-running workplace giving campaigns. Since 1983, Ontario public servants have raised more than $54 million for the health of their communities and loved ones.

This year, Ontario public servants representing more than 40 provincial government ministries, crown agencies and the Ontario Provincial Police will hold the 40th annual Federated Health Charities Campaign. So much has changed since that first campaign but what hasn’t changed is that the Federated Health Charities campaign continues to rely on the generosity and hard work of Ontario public servants. It is the efforts of provincial employees who volunteer their time to canvass their colleagues, organize special events, and give so generously each year that make our campaign a success.

Federated Health Charities recognizes the generosity of Ontario’s public servants, past and present, with our 40th-anniversary campaign theme: “40 years of caring, 40 years of giving, 40 years of Federated Health Charities”. We wouldn’t be here today if not for that small group of provincial employees more than 50 years ago who came together to sell some daffodils in their office and raise a little money to help fight cancer.

It turns out they were making history.

March 13-19, 2023, is Brain Awareness Week, an opportunity to highlight the importance of protecting and strengthening our body’s most critical organ. According to the Government of Canada, the number of Canadians affected by dementia is expected to increase to nearly 1 million people by 2030. The Alzheimer Society of Canada expects that number to increase to 2 million by 2050.

Federated Health Charities helps support people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. The Alzheimer Society is a network of 29 societies across Ontario offering programs and services for people living with dementia, and funding research to find the cause and the cure. You can donate to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario and any Federated Health Charities member charities through our website: Federated Health Charities.

For general questions, please contact:


Sarah Wood

Executive Director
tel: 437-925-6227
email: sarah.wood2@ontario.ca


315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

© 2023 | Federated Health Charities. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Designed by Cristhian Arevalo Leon.