Sharing Her Good Fortune

By Peter McKinnon

For Claude Chapdelaine, sharing some of her good fortune with others is a simple pleasure. Each year, she donates some of her investments to the Perley Health Foundation, along with other local charities.

“I’m lucky to lead such a full, healthy life,” she says. “Of course, I miss my late husband. Soon before he passed away, we started giving to charities regularly and I’ve kept doing it, year after year.”

Claude Chapdelaine was born in Ottawa and grew up in cities around the world—her parents were in foreign service. An uncle, Dr. Jean Laframboise, helped to found the Montfort Hospital in 1953. After graduating from Queen’s University, she began a career in the federal public service, where she met Joseph Bray, a Veteran of the Korean War who had recently divorced. The two soon fell in love and began a marriage lasting more than 30 years. When Joe Bray retired—he was 15 years older than Claude—she switched to consulting work so the two could travel together for longer periods.

In his 80s, Joe’s health began to fail and Claude cared for him at home. When his condition worsened in 2009, he insisted on moving into Perley Health. Claude visited him every day.

“We were both impressed with the quality of care, the staff and with the atmosphere,” she says. “I always tried to help them care for Joe. Around Christmas, I asked a nurse if there was any equipment we could buy to make the staff’s work easier. She explained that another portable blood-pressure monitor would be helpful and she mentioned the Foundation.”

Claude and Joe learned from Foundation staff that donations could be targeted to fund specific equipment, such as the monitor. They also learned about the advantages of donating shares in Canadian companies. When shares that increase in value are sold, capital-gains tax must be paid on the increase. Canadian shares donated to charity, though, are exempt from this tax. The charity receives the full value and issues a tax receipt to the donor for the same amount.

“We have a pension and had invested wisely,” Claude explains. “And donating shares is a less painful way to give back to the community than withdrawing from your bank account.”

Joe Bray passed away in 2011. And each year since then, Claude has donated some of her Canadian shares to good causes after consulting with her financial adviser to identify which are the most advantageous to donate.

“I recognize that I’m fortunate to be able to live like this,” she says simply.

In March, Claude Chapdelaine visits Morocco for the first time. And she’s found a unique way to link her love of travel with her gracious spirit.

“Each year, I calculate how much I’ve spent on travel and donate the same amount to charity,” she says. “I wish my husband was still with me, of course. Donating to local charities like the Perley Health Foundation is a way of honouring the life we had together and of saying merci.”