Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

3228 South Service Road, Suite 113E
Burlington, ON L7N 3H8
President & CEO: W. Matthew Chater
Board Chair: Steve Kent

Charitable Reg. #:11880 8740 RR0001


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

[Charity Rating: 4/4]



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) 78 cents are available for programs.

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About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada :

Founded in 1964, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBS) connects volunteer mentors with Canadian youth. BBBS works with kids who face barriers such as poor living conditions and family violence, being exposed to risk factors for mental health, struggling in school, or having identity challenges. Unaddressed, these conditions can lead to poverty, crime, and/or mental illness. Through mentorship, BBBS aims to reduce and avoid these risks and improve a child’s chance of success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada assists 102 local Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies (down 5% from 108 in 2017), which serve over 1,100 Canadian communities. BBBS collects fees from these agencies and provides them with assistance in running programs. BBBS also distributes grants to its agencies, awarding $2.0 million in F2018. 

Through its agencies, BBBS runs Big Brothers and Big Sisters One-to-One mentoring programs. Case workers match kids with volunteer mentors based on common interests. Mentors and mentees meet at least twice a month for a minimum of one year. One-to-One mentoring is also offered in schools where volunteers spend an hour each week reading, playing board games, or doing crafts with students.

BBBS also has two group programs – Go Girls! and Game On!. These programs teach teenage girls and boys about healthy lifestyles and promote physical activity, balanced eating, self-esteem, positive communication, and emotional health. Go Girls! is a seven to 10 week-long program for girls aged 12-14, with sessions lasting 90 to 120 minutes. Game On! is a seven-session program for boys, with each session lasting 75 minutes.

Volunteers with local agencies spent over 2.1 million hours mentoring 41,400 youth in F2018 across all mentoring programs (over 2.2 million hours and 41,800 youth in F2017). Ci notes that in F2015, 23% of kids involved in BBBS programs were in the traditional One-to-One mentoring (down from 45% in F2007) with 25% of kids involved in school programs and 54% in group programs. BBBS no longer discloses this breakdown on its website.

In 2018, BBBS launched a pilot program called The Circle to better reach Indigenous and marginalized youth. The pilot ran in Saskatoon, Grand Erie, and Edmonton. Other changes made during the year include relaunching the Research & Trends Committee to better track program-related knowledge and reintroducing regional conventions to encourage information sharing within the Big Brothers Big Sisters network.

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Results and Impact

In 2013, Boston Consulting Group completed a pro-bono study that evaluated the impact of BBBS’s One-to-One mentoring program. The study compared adults who participated in One-to-One programs as kids to those who did not. BCG found that for every $1 invested in the program, $18 to $23 is returned to society. BCG also found that past mentees are 17% more likely to be employed and earn 13% more, leading to a $315,000 increase in earnings over their lifetime. Other outcomes include: 81% have stronger financial literacy, 87% have strong social networks, and 63% have post-secondary education.

Charity Intelligence has evaluated Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada and found the charity to have Average demonstrated social impact per dollar spent.

Impact Rating: Average

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Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada is a medium-sized charity that received $1.6m in donations in F2018. Government funding of $2.2m accounted for 46% of total revenue for the year. Administrative costs are 12% of revenues (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 10% of donations. Per dollar donated to the charity, 78 cents go to the cause, which is within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. Funding reserves of $881k (down 28% from F2017) can cover under three months of annual program costs.

In F2018, BBBS Canada improved its fundraising cost disclosure. In doing this, F2017 fundraising costs were restated to show figures on a consistent basis. F2016 fundraising costs were not restated and are significantly lower, potentially under-reported.

Subsequent to F2018 year-end, BBBS received $490k from units of a hedge fund received in 1999. In 1999, the units were valued and tax receipted at $8.8 million.

BBBS Canada has a separate foundation that Ci has not consolidated in this review. From a brief review of BBBS Canada Foundation's annual filing, assets are $249k and donations are $35k in F2018.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 16, 2019 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 12.3%8.7%15.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 10.1%8.8%1.1%
Program cost coverage (%) 21.9%23.6%26.2%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 1,558,8661,805,6011,466,176
Government funding 2,187,0083,059,8341,692,142
Fees for service 1,007,9091,025,2901,073,978
Investment income (21,460)13,12312,389
Total revenues 4,732,3235,903,8484,244,685
Program costs 1,995,7952,221,5112,084,840
Grants 2,031,7402,997,8831,576,835
Administrative costs 583,534512,958654,474
Fundraising costs 156,729158,19916,150
Cash flow from operations (35,475)13,297(87,614)
Capital spending 000
Funding reserves 880,9231,232,742959,395

Note: Multiple F2017 revenue and expense items were restated in the charity’s F2018 audited financials. Of note, corporate donations were restated at $1.6m (down from $1.8m), government funding was restated at $3.1m (up from $2.8m), office expenses were restated at $490k (down from $633k), and fundraising costs were restated at $158k (up from $16k). In F2017 and F2016, deferred donations and government funding were material. The charity’s financial statements report changes in deferred contributions of $38k in F2018, ($959k) in F2017, and $719k in F2016. Ci did not adjust revenues to report on a cash basis because it could accurately allocate deferred adjustments to donations and government funding separately. Ci reported unrealized loss on investments as a contra-revenue item in investment income instead of as an expense, reducing total revenue and expenses by $40k in F2018. Ci included restricted cash held in group deductible funds of $118k in F2018 in funding reserves. F2017 compensation information presented in this report represent the most recent information provided in the charity's T3010 CRA filings.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 16

Avg. Compensation $90,217

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 F2017

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Comments & Contact

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