Study Puts Windsor's Yearly 'HALO Effect' At $270M

We now have a dollar figure on the economic impact provided by religious based organizations in Windsor.

A study by think tank 'Cardus' examined the social contribution - or "HALO Effect" - that religious groups have on communities across Canada including providing space for community events, childcare, suicide and crime prevention, and housing.

For every dollar in a religious congregation's annual budget, a city gets an estimated $4.77 worth of common good services.

The study found there are 211 religious based organizations in Windsor, with annual budgets of more than $56-million dollars ($56,590,542.) That works out to $270-million ($269,936,885) a year in value for Windsor.

Social Cities Program Director at Cardus, Milton Friesen helped author the study. "Imagine what it would cost for cities to replace the value of what churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other places of worship are providing," says Friesen. "They could never afford it."

Friesen says these groups are not economic engines in the same sense as opening an auto plant is going to yield economic development: "It's actually the reverse question, which is if you took a given institution out of a community, and the municipality had to pay to put back what was missing as a result of them being gone, this is how much it would cost them."

He says the figures really show the replacement cost if a particular faith community were to disappear.

In Toronto, the HALO Effect of religious organizations provided $6.7-billion in value to Canada's largest city while London received $811-million.

Cardus has developed an online HALO Effect calculator.