411 41 Ave NE
Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
Executive Director: Bruce Holstead
Board Chair: Craig H. Borgland

Charitable Reg. #:13672 0737 RR0001


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 4/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 88 cents are available for programs.

My anchor


About Fresh Start Recovery Centre:

Fresh Start Recovery Centre is a 4-star and top-10 impact charity. It has a below-average results reporting grade and overhead spending within Ci's reasonable range. 

Founded in 1992, Fresh Start Recovery Centre (Fresh Start) is a live-in alcohol and drug addiction treatment centre. According to the charity, 13.6% of Canadians are high-risk drinkers and 20% of these drinkers report some form of harm to themselves due to alcohol. In 2020, Fresh Start acquired South Country Treatment Centre and expanded its operations to treat both men and women in Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta. Fresh Start's focus is a 14 to 16-week addiction treatment program. The charity recognizes that for recovery to be successful, family and friends must also heal. Hence, Fresh Start also offers a Family Healing Program to support those related to an addict. Its head office is in Calgary, AB.

Fresh Start's Calgary location is a 40,000-square-foot home with 50 primary treatment beds for men. The house has 26 resident rooms, counseling rooms, a meditation room, gymnasium, dining hall, weight room, games room, movie theatre, laundry room, wellness clinic, and more. Fresh Start's Lethbridge location has 23 beds and hosts both men and women.

Fresh Start Recovery Centre has two main programs: Treatment and Family Healing. The charity does not provide a breakdown of expenses between its programs.

Fresh Start's Treatment program offers one-on-one counseling, group healing, physical training, nutritious meals, and other supports. The program is based on the 12-step abstinence model of recovery, which focuses on a continued pursuit of abstinence. In F2022, 222 clients completed the program. The charity also provides post-treatment housing and ongoing support and guidance for clients to integrate into the community. It has 46 post-treatment beds, which are always occupied, in two locations in walking distance of its main facility in Calgary.

The charity's Family Healing program helps people close to an addict deal with the effects of addiction and learn how to support their recovery process. The program runs in the evening for six consecutive weeks.

My anchor

Results and Impact

In 2013, Success Markets Inc. conducted an independent study of Fresh Start's impact on the community. SMI reports that 51% of men who completed a Fresh Start program in 2014 celebrated a year of post-treatment sobriety in 2015; this compares favorably with national rates of 5% to 10% in Canada.

Of the 172 clients who completed the program in F2021, 87 people (51%) celebrated one full year of recovery in F2022. The charity reported that 56% is the average success rate of continuous abstinence-based recovery at one year.

While Ci highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of Fresh Start Recovery Centre's results and impact.

Charity Intelligence has rated Fresh Start as having a high impact based on demonstrated impact per dollar. Read our report on Fresh Start's impact to learn about its social return on investment and how we calculated it. Fresh Start is in the top 10 Canadian Impact charities rated by Ci in 2022.

A Charity Intelligence 2022 Top 10 Canadian Impact Charity

Impact Rating: High

My anchor


In F2022, Fresh Start Recovery Centre received $1.4m in donations. The charity also received $2.5m in government funding, representing 43% of total revenues. Administrative costs are 3% of revenues, and fundraising costs are 9% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 12%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 88 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci's reasonable range for overhead spending.

Fresh Start has $3.3m of reserve funds. The charity can cover over eight months of its annual program costs with its reserves.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Fresh Start Recovery Centre for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 08, 2023 by Krystie Nguyen.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 2.9%6.0%6.2%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 8.6%21.0%4.5%
Total overhead spending 11.5%27.0%10.7%
Program cost coverage (%) 67.8%55.3%51.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 1,3801,1891,240
Government funding 2,4652,8801,566
Fees for service 1,8191,4851,239
Business activities (net) 0022
Other income 569280
Total revenues 5,7205,5644,347
Program costs 4,8674,9722,942
Administrative costs 168335270
Fundraising costs 11924955
Other costs 51111
Total spending 5,1595,5683,278
Cash flow from operations 561(4)1,068
Capital spending 63(189)(15)
Funding reserves 3,2982,7511,513

Note: Ci adjusted for disposal of property and equipment, affecting revenues by ($25k) in F2021 and ($1k) in F2020. Similarly, Ci backed out the write-down of Café out of expenses, decreasing total expenses by $125k in F2020. The charity had deferred contributions of $424k in F2022 and $152k in F2021. The charity did not disclose whether it is deferred donations or government funding.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 65

Avg. compensation: $55,294

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2022

My anchor

Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The following comment is from the 2019 profile. Additional comments may be forthcoming. 

While the Canadian economy in 2018 was surprisingly strong, Alberta did not fare as well because of continued uncertainty around the ability to get natural resources to market. This uncertainty negatively impacted donations to Fresh Start by more than 27% and had an impact on the Fundraising Cost to Dollars donated ratio. A strategic investment in fundraising capacity to develop longer term streams of donations also contributed to the increase in this benchmark.

The poor economy combined with the Opioid (Fentanyl) crisis in 2018 created increased demand and urgency for services. Working to address this demand in addition to a move towards strengthening our post treatment support translated into increase costs and corresponding increase in men celebrating their first full year of sobriety from 53.2% to 60.0%.

Charity Contact

Website: www.freshstartrecovery.ca
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 403-387-6266


Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


Be Informed. Give Intelligently. Have Impact


Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001