What does USC Stand for?

Although USC Canada started out as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, we are now registered simply as USC Canada. The organization was founded in 1945 by Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova, with strong support from Unitarian Congregations in Canada. While USC has no formal link to the Unitarian church today, we enjoy and value the support of Unitarians across Canada, as well as the support of people of all faiths.

In which countries does USC support projects?

We currently support projects in 12 countries, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mali, Nepal, Senegal, and Timor Leste, Guatemala and Canada. While there is a variety of programming in each of those countries, much of our work there continues to focus on building sustainable communities by promoting agricultural biodiversity.

How does USC select the projects that it supports?

USC Canada works with the most marginalized people in some of the poorest countries of the world. The people USC works with are often overlooked by other, larger development projects. USC has a Global Strategy which guides our program directions. These strategic priorities are based on an analysis of the economic, political, social, and cultural context, and of the policy, regulatory, and institutional environment in each program country. The program supports our partner organizations and communities in their efforts to address the root causes of poverty and inequality.

From its earliest days in the late 1940s, the philosophy of USC Canada has always been to work in partnership with country-based staff. Within this partnership, USC Canada is responsible for:

  • Charting the organization’s global strategic direction
  • Ensuring the achievement of anticipated programming results
  • Maintaining accountability to our donors.

The country offices determine the shape and direction for their programs with advice and guidance from their local Boards and/or Advisory Committees. They are responsible for program management and project implementation including planning, monitoring, evaluation and decision-making.

How do I volunteer with USC Canada?

International Volunteering: USC Canada is not a volunteer-sending organization. In our partner countries, USC employs only nationals from those countries. All projects are locally led and locally initiated. This ensures that development activities are sensitive to local needs and conditions. It also assures valuable career opportunities are available to local staff. Many Canadians are interested in volunteering overseas in international development projects. Check out a list of some of those organizations on our links page.

Volunteering In Canada: Volunteers work with staff, making important contributions towards fulfilling our mission and vision. Volunteers are part of our team, lending their skills, time, and expertise to USC in such areas as public education, campaigning, fundraising, and administration. Please contact our office to inquire about any available volunteering opportunities.

Raising Funds on USC Canada’s Behalf: USC Canada is grateful to have supporters across the country who raise funds on our behalf, through dinner events, teas, bazaars, and sales. Because of the Canadian Government’s requirements around tax receipts, fundraising can be tricky business. Anyone considering organizing a fundraiser on behalf of USC Canada should get in touch with us first, so we can offer advice, help and promotional support.

How is money spent by USC Canada?

Approximately $0.70 of every $1 donated goes to our overseas activities. Of the remaining $0.30, $0.10 is spent on our Public Engagement and volunteer programs here in Canada, $0.07 on fundraising and $0.13 on administration. USC Canada’s administrative costs are well within the acceptable standards as determined by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

What government money does USC receive?

USC Canada operates on an annual budget of approximately $5.5 million. The principal sources of revenue include the Government of Canada (CIDA) at about 60%, and private donations from individuals and foundations at about 40%. Money raised from the public and spent on overseas programs is matched by CIDA. The exact amount of the match varies depending on the country in which the money is spent, and for what particular project. The ratio can vary anywhere between a 1:1 match and a 3:1 match. In other words, a donation from the public of $1 might turn into a donation of up to $3 when matched by CIDA.

USC has also actively pursued funding from multilateral and other institutional funding sources. Current institutional donors include the Global Environmental Facility (Nepal), the Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation Program (Mali), the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (Timor Leste), DANIDA and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Indonesia). USC also receives contributions from some provincial governments. Last year, the governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba offered support. The total amount received from these provinces came to just under $38,000.

Does USC work in a country with the agreement of that country’s government?

Yes. USC does not want to break any regulations or laws in the countries where we work. This would not only jeopardize the effective implementation of the programs USC supports, but it could jeopardize the safety of our local staff. In many countries, USC has a very positive reputation as an organization doing good work, leading to a favourable working relationship with many governments.

How does USC use the Media?

As a non-profit organization, USC Canada is grateful for the generous support we receive in the form of donated airtime and column space from radio and television stations, magazines, and newspapers across the country.

What information do I get about where my donation goes and how it helps?

Donors receive a thank you letter and an update on how their money contributes to USC Canada’s mission. Donors can also choose the number of mailings they would like to receive, and have the option of receiving our bi-annual newsletter, Jottings. Our Annual Report, published early in the fall, also includes program highlights and financial statements based on the year’s achievements.

USC Canada has entrenched three fundamental principles underpinning all our programs and operations: Rights, Resilience and Respect. USC follows the highest ethical standards in carrying out our mission. We acknowledge and respect the rights that individuals have to keep their personal information safe from unauthorized use or disclosure. USC values the trust that individuals place in our organization and we recognize that maintaining this trust requires us to be transparent and accountable in how we treat information that is shared with us. This is the framework in which we have drafted and will implement our Privacy Policy.

Our Commitment

During the course of our various programs and activities, USC Canada frequently gathers and uses personal information from employees, donors, members, volunteers, program participants and other stakeholders. Personal information is any information that can be used to distinguish, identify or contact a specific individual, including name, address, telephone number, email address, financial information, etc. Anyone from whom USC collects such information can expect that it will be carefully protected and that any use of this information is subject to their consent. USC is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information.

Privacy Principles

USC Canada complies with the 10 privacy principles found in the Canadian Standards Association’s (CSA) Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, which have also been incorporated into the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) .


USC Canada is responsible for individuals’ personal information under our control, including information collected or processed on our behalf by third parties. USC will establish and implement procedures to protect individuals’ personal information; will ensure that our staff, volunteers, Board members and third parties who collect or process personal information on behalf of USC, are made aware of and adhere to these procedures and to the organization’s Privacy Policy as a whole; and will designate a Privacy Officer who is accountable for the organization’s compliance with this Privacy Policy.

Identifying Purposes and Informing Individuals

USC Canada will identify the purposes for which personal information is collected and will communicate these purposes to the individual(s) from whom the information is collected at or before the time the information is collected. When personal information that has already been collected is intended to be used for a purpose not previously identified, USC Canada will identify the new purpose to the individual(s) prior to use. Unless the new purpose is required by law, the consent of the individual(s) is required before information can be used for that purpose.


USC Canada will ensure that the knowledge and consent of individuals is obtained for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate, for example due to legal, medical or security reasons. An individual has the right to withdraw consent at any time, subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice.

Limiting Collection of Information

USC Canada will ensure that the collection of personal information is limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified and will ensure that information is collected by fair and lawful means.

Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention of Information

USC Canada will ensure that personal information is not used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information will be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes.

Accuracy of Information

USC Canada will ensure that personal information is as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.


To protect personal information against loss or theft, unauthorized access, copying, use or modification, USC Canada will ensure that security safeguards are used that are appropriate to the sensitivity of the information. These safeguards may include, where appropriate: (a) physical measures, for example, locked filing cabinets and restricted access to offices; (b) organizational measures, for example, security clearances and limiting access on a "need-to-know" basis; and (c) technological measures, for example, the use of passwords and encryption.


USC Canada will make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

Individual Access to Information

Upon request, USC Canada will ensure that an individual is informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of their personal information and is given access to that information, except where inappropriate (e.g. where information contains references to other individuals) or proscribed by law. An individual may review the accuracy and completeness of the information and request that it be amended as appropriate.

Handling Concerns and Suggestions

Individuals may address any concerns, questions or suggestions concerning compliance with the above principles to Brian McFarlane, USC Canada’s Chief Privacy Officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further information on privacy and individual rights in regard to privacy information may be found on the website of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.


Our commitment in fulfilling our mission is to strive at all times to provide our goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities and ensuring that constituents with disabilities receive accessible goods and services with the same quality and timeliness as others do.

Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that:

  1. Persons with disabilities are provided equal opportunity to obtain, use and benefit from the goods and services provided by USC Canada;
  2. Goods and services are provided in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of persons with disabilities;
  3. Communications with a person with a disability are conducted in a manner that takes the person’s disability into account;
  4. Persons with disabilities may use assistive devices, service animals and support persons as is necessary to access USC Canada goods and services unless superseded by other legislation.


This policy is guided by the requirements of Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, Ontario Regulation 429/97 under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The AODA was designed to make Ontario more accessible by identifying, removing and preventing barriers for person with disabilities.


“Assistive Devices” are auxiliary aids such as communication aids, cognition aids, personal mobility aids and medical aids (e.g., canes, crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids, oxygen tanks).

“Constituents” refers to anyone accessing our goods and services, including but not limited to the following: donors, volunteers, service providers, email subscribers, individuals accessing our website, participants at USC events.

“Disability”, as per the Ontario Human Rights Code, means:

  • Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device;
  • A condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability;
  • A learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language;
  • A mental disorder; or
  • An injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
  • “Goods and services” includes but is not limited to communication and interactions with the public, brochures, pamphlets, web-based materials.
  • “Persons with Disabilities” are individuals who have a disability as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code (and above).
  • “Service Animals” are animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.
  • “Support Persons” are any persons, whether a paid professional, volunteer, family member, or friend, who accompany a person with a disability in order to help with communications, personal care or medical needs, or with access to goods or services.

Providing Goods and Services

USC Canada is committed to excellence in serving its constituents including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:


  • We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
  • We will train staff and volunteers, who communicate with constituents on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.


  • We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our constituents by using clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
  • We will offer to communicate with constituents by email, mail and /or fax, if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.


  • People with disabilities may use their own assistive devices as required when accessing goods or services fro USC Canada, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
  • In cases where the assistive device represents a safety concern or where accessibility might be an issue, other reasonable measures will be used to ensure access.


  • We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties.
  • We will also ensure that all staff and volunteers dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.


  • We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter USC Canada’s premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.
  • In situations where confidential information might be discussed in the presence of a support person, consent will be obtained from the person with the disability, prior to any conversation occurring.


  • USC Canada will provide constituents with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. In the event of an unexpected disruption, USC Canada will make reasonable efforts to contact constituents with disabilities regarding disruptions prior to a scheduled meeting. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
  • The notice will also be placed on the front door to our premises.


  • USC Canada will provide training to all staff and volunteers who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures.
  • This training will be provided to individuals within the first month of employment as part of their orientation.
  • Training will include the following:
    • An overview of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the requirements of the customer service standard;
    • How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities;
    • How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person;
    • What to do if a person with a disability is having difficulty in accessing USC Canada’s goods and services.


  • USC Canada seeks to meet the needs of our constituents while paying attention to the unique requirements of our constituents with disabilities. Comments regarding how well those requirements are being met are welcome.
  • Feedback regarding the way USC Canada provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made via telephone, email, mail, completing the Client Feedback Form, verbally in person or any other means that effectively accommodates the person with the disability.

USC Canada
Attention: Director of Finance and Administration
56 Sparks Street, Suite 600
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5B1
Fax: (613) 234-6842
Toll-free phone: 1-800-234-5656
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Feedback will be used to improve constituent service. In addition, the author of the feedback will be provided with a response in the format in which the feedback was received.

LottaHitschmanova tbnWhat's in a Name?

We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.



We would be happy to hear from you.
  • Phone: 1-800-565-6872

USC Canada is a Registered Canadian Charity 11927-6129-RR-0001

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