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Should I trade in my old vehicle or donate it for a tax receipt?

Teen Challenge Canada generates the main portion of their funding from their Vehicle Donation Program

According to the annual report of that year, in 2018, 722 applications were made to the Teen Challenge Canada’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs across the country. 226 entered a program of the ministry’s then-six centres. Since then, the amount of growth and demand for addiction counselling and in-residence programs in Canada has grown. In 2021,1125 applications were made to Teen Challenge Canada’s now 9 centres across 5 provinces.

The Vehicle Donation Program continues to be one of Teen Challenge Canada’s main sources of funding.

As a not-for-profit organization that does not receive on-going government funding, they rely heavily on the generosity of the public in order to ensure their programs are funded successfully. Donations to the program are in more demand than ever. In 2018, vehicle donations only accounted for 15% of the year’s funding and in the 2021 annual report, the number had decreased considerably to only 7%. 

“If we can truly capture the importance of just how much one car can contribute to our ability to reintegrate people back into society, we hope that we could increase this number,” Ryan McLauchlin, Vehicle Donations Manager, Teen Challenge Canada.

The cost of offering life-changing services to hundreds of Canadians each year is immense.

Through its 12-month, 3-phase core program, clients are provided with an opportunity to detox much more than just their minds and body. Through the help of an Accredited Addiction Counselor, clients work to cope with their pain, learn to form healthy habits as well as everything else they need to be reoriented into their community as sustainable, strong individuals. 

How does the Vehicle Donation Program work?

Do you have a vehicle you don’t want or need?

Consider donating it to Teen Challenge Canada to support those recovering from addiction in your community. Once you reach out through the Teen Challenge website and provide the starting information about your vehicle, such as it’s make, model, and VIN, a friendly staff member from Teen Challenge will be in touch shortly.

It doesn’t matter if the car you’re donating works, and vehicles donated to the program don’t need to be dropped off in Ottawa or in any specific location. Staff will arrange to come and pick it up. Vehicle donations receive a fair market tax receipt, with a guaranteed minimum of $600. 

Should I trade in at the dealership?

If your financing and down payment isn’t reliant on your trade-in with them, it can often pay off to donate instead.

“Oftentimes when you’re trading in your vehicle for a new one at the dealership, and if it needs any amount of work, they’re going to offer you next to nothing,” say Ryan. “Instead of receiving a trade-in value for $500 or selling it to a steelworks for even less, donors to the program can receive a tax-credit of thousands of dollars instead.” 

Although this choice may not put cash in your pocket immediately, when it comes time that you’re doing your year-end taxes, a tax credit of even a thousand dollars could directly decrease your tax owing, or increase your tax refund by that exact amount. So, even if you’re expecting a refund, you’re getting that cash value given right to you. Unless your trade-in value is considerably higher than what you would gain as a tax credit.

If your old vehicle is ready to go, consider donating to Teen Challenge Canada, to help change a life today.

Go to or call 1 (800) 856-8902.

To learn more about the ministry of Teen Challenge Canada, go to

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