We appreciate this opportunity to respond to issues raised by the Canadian Jewish News about our organization. COR provides a critical service to the community and we welcome the chance to provide more information about our operations.
COR is a not-for-profit organization and all fees collected go towards covering our operations and growing our services to the community. Marvin Sigler, Chairman of Gold Seal Management and past COR Chairman explained, “In food service (i.e. restaurants and caterers) we operate at a financial deficit – our expenses are greater than our fees. We are able to marginally compensate for this loss from our other divisions. We have not increased our food service fees in the last 3 years and in some cases we subsidize certain community institutions.”
We surveyed a number of restaurants and found that of their total expenses, COR fees represent approximately 1%. Yoram Gabay, owner of Dr. Laffa commented, “My COR fees represent less than half a percent of my total costs. Anyone who thinks COR is responsible for the cost of kosher food doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
COR is extremely sensitive to the cost of kosher food. For example, this is a driving reason why we have been advocating so aggressively for an alternate kosher chicken processor in Canada.
As opposed to what was reported in the CJN, COR charges our caterers a standard $31/hour for event mashgichim which is in line with other kosher certifiers.
When we told our proprietors that we were making a video to let people hear from them directly, all who were already coming into our office to sell their chametz on the day of the shooting participated. All eleven participants said that their COR fees were reasonable and their working relationship with COR is strong. We encourage you to watch the video at www.TheTruthAboutCOR.com.
Customers choose COR because they know that we are reliable, professional, we have high standards, and our prices are modest in comparison with other major kosher certifiers. When COR certifies something as kosher, you can rely on that fact.
COR’s entire operations are supervised by lay and rabbinic boards ensuring transparency and accountability. The rabbinic board is made up of 22 respected community rabbis. Lay representatives are appointed by local synagogues and include business professionals who ensure that our organization is being run in the community’s best interests. Long time COR Treasurer Ronald Rutman, partner at accounting firm Zeifmans LLP stated, “COR’s financial statements are audited annually by Grunwald and Co., an independent accounting firm and the financial data is available to the public on Canada Revenue Agency’s website. Senior staff salaries are set by the Executive Board’s lay volunteers and all financial operations are transparent and in full compliance with governmental regulations.”
COR began and operated for many years affiliated with Canadian Jewish Congress then UJA Federation. When COR separated from Federation, the accumulated surplus that COR had generated to that point was transferred to COR for start-up costs. Although COR was an incorporated not-for-profit entity at the time, it was not yet a registered charity so there was no means to pass the funds to COR. Therefore, in accordance with CRA rules a new registered charity (“Matan Fund”) was created to facilitate the transfer of these funds.
CJN noted our financial reporting seemed to show a drop in number of employees. Jack Feintuch, President at Runnymede Development and COR’s Vice-Chair explained, “In 2013, CRA recorded our employees differently than had been done previously. There was no change in the actual number of employees”. In fact, we have approximately 150 employees consisting of expert mashgichim who supervise our approximately 1000 facilities in Canada and around the world and our professional office staff who administer their work.
COR is not afraid of competition. As an active member of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO), we work closely with our competitors in the kosher industry. Indeed, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer, OU Kosher remarked, “I have worked with COR closely for many years. I have found them to be highly professional and experts in the field of kosher supervision. In my opinion kosher consumers in Toronto and Canada at large are fortunate to have an upstanding organization like COR serving them.”
Dr. Ira Marder, COR’s current Chairman explained, “COR is available as a free consumer resource for anything kosher: from koshering people’s homes to answering kosher questions. This Passover alone COR answered over 3000 consumer questions. We appreciate the confidence that has been placed in us by the Jewish community and are honoured to serve you.”
Everyone who works or volunteers for COR does so because we care about our community and we are passionate about the belief that people should have access to kosher food. Every day we strive to serve you better and if you have suggestions for how we can improve, we want to hear from you – email us at [email protected].