Blog

September 30, 2014

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the BC Charity Sector 2012

I was asked by a friend in Vancouver to prepare a Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the BC Charity Sector 2012.   Hopefully someone will find it helpful.   

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September 22, 2014

CRA Notices to Registered Charities on CCA/CNCA continuance may or may not be accurate

CRA has been sending out numerous notices with respect to the importance of Canada Corporations Act (CCA) corporations continuing to the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA).  A number of people have contacted us with respect to the notice.   In some cases the Federal corporations  were established in 2012 or 2013 under the CNCA.   In other words they were never even under the CCA and cannot continue to the CNCA.  Therefore, some of these notices may be sent to corporations that need to make changes, but others may be sent in error.   You can check your status and under which act you are currently under at the Industry Canada website.  It is easy and free.  

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September 22, 2014

Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association will be delivering two webinars, entitled "Should we set up a Canadian Charity and if so how?" on October 21 at 12:00 PM EDT and "Top 10 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities" on November 18 at 12:00 PM EDT. Both webinars are free but you will need to register.

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September 18, 2014

Registered Charities and Official Marks - are you really a public authority?

On August 29, 2014, the Federal Court re-affirmed its previous decision that a registered charity, in itself does not constitute a “public authority” for purposes of registering an official mark under the Trade-marks Act.

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September 17, 2014

Webinar “Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities”

I will be delivering a webinar for the Canadian Charity Law Association entitled "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".  It is free but you need to register.

Here is a link to the registration page for "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".

For other Canadian Charity Law Association webinars see:  http://ow.ly/BCWG0 

September 17, 2014

Warning from RBC that banking services to Federal CCA corporations are “at risk”

I recently saw this notice from RBC to a client of theirs that the registered charity's banking services are at risk if they do not continue to the CNCA.  RBC also wants copies of the continuance documents.  Just a reminder that Federal non-profit corporations under the Canada Corporations Act need to continue to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

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September 17, 2014

CRA revokes the charitable registration of the Friends and Skills Connection Centre

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has revoked the charitable registration of the Friends and Skills Connection Centre, a charity based in Etobicoke, Ontario. The revocation was effective as of September 13, 2014. According to CRA, the charity was not maintaining adequate books and records, failed to file an accurate T3010 Return, failed to operate within its charitable mandate, and was conducting serious breaches with respect to its receipting practices. Also, one of the directors of the charity was determined by CRA to be an ineligible individual. Here is an excerpt from the notice of intention to revoke letter issued by CRA:

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September 12, 2014

Imoh v. The Queen - another false receipting case

Did Mr. Imoh give charitable donations of 45,000, in cash, to Revival Time Ministries International over 3 years? Did Mr. Bello give $15,000 to the same charity?   This is the crux of the case.  You can read about Revival Time Ministries International's revocation by CRA here.  (As an aside and outside the scope of charity law you can read about allegations of sexual assault here.)   Far from having poor records or no records the charity produced some Canadian bank statements which the charity seemed to prepare for itself.  I did not know that you can prepare your own bank statements but I learn a new thing everyday!  This case really enhanced my understanding of charity law in Canada!

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September 06, 2014

Which Canadian Registered Charities Spent Money on “political activities” and how much in 2012

We recently reviewed the T3010 information for 2012.   The database was prepared by the Charities Directorate of CRA in June 2014 and covers about 85,477 charities which is almost all of the 2012 T3010 returns.  Canadian registered charities were required to disclose on the 2012 T3010 “Did the Charity Carry on Political Activities During the Fiscal Year?” (line 2400) and “Enter the Total Amount spent by the Charity on these activities” (line 5000)

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September 04, 2014

The Great Debate:  Be it Resolved That Rating charities improves the charitable sector

Over the last few years in both Canada and the US there have been greater attempts to rate charities.   As part of the Blumbergs' Charity Law Institute 2014 see "The Great Debate:  Be it Resolved That Rating charities improves the charitable sector", we will have Kate Bahen and Greg Thomson, of Charity Intelligence, arguing for rating of charities and Mark Blumberg arguing against.  Here is more information on the Blumbergs' Charity Law Institute 2014 and the many other important topics.

September 01, 2014

Finance consults on draft tax legislation on bequests to Canadian charities and trust taxation

Following up on the 2014 Budget, Finance has released draft tax legislation for consultation.  The changes with respect to bequests to registered charities are from Budget 2014, and will allow some greater flexibility for claiming the charitable donations against either the estate or a trust.   This bequest proposal has generally been welcomed.  It will deal with some situations were there is a mismatch between the income a deceased person or their estate has and the amount of gift left to charity.   

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August 28, 2014

CRA releases ineligible individual guidance

The CRA yesterday released its guidance on ineligible individuals (CG-024).   The new rules were announced in the 2011 Federal Budget and it is good to see CRA finally providing its guidance on ineligible individuals.

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August 28, 2014

Andrew Coyne: “Problem with charities isn’t their politics, it’s their generous tax credit”

Andrew Coyne recently wrote an opinion piece in the National Post in which he supports the idea of eliminating the tax credit for donations to registered charities.   The article is entitled "Problem with charities isn’t their politics, it’s their generous tax credit".  Mr. Coyne is by no means the first person to call for such action.  It is difficult to know whether this is just another opinion piece or if there will be traction with his line of argument.

August 26, 2014

Partial Glimpse at 2013 T3010 Filings Dealing with Political Activities by Canadian Charities

In this article entitled "Partial Glimpse at 2013 T3010 Filings Dealing with Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities" I discuss the 51,000 Canadian registered charities have had their T3010 for 2013 added to the CRA database so far.   This 51,000 represents about 60% of registered Canadian charities. In a partial glimpse of the 2013 T3010 information about 333 of 51,000 charities reported so far carrying on any political activities during their 2013 fiscal year, whether by volunteer, staff or spending.  A similar number also said they spent money on political activities. 

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August 23, 2014

Canadian Registered Charities Recently Revoked by CRA for cause or as a result of audit - 2014

On a number of occasions we have assembled a list of Canadian charities that had lost their registrations for cause.  We have now updated the list to August 2014.  This list contains over 5 years information on charities deregistered as a result of audit, which used to be referred to as “for cause”.  This list does not include registered charities who were revoked for “failure to file” their annual return or asked for voluntary revocation or those that were revoked for the sole reason that they were corporately dissolved.

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August 19, 2014

Globe and Mail “Canada Revenue Agency delists foreign charities”

Jeff Gray recently wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail on a quirky category of foreign charities who are given qualified donee status by virtue of being on the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  I have been getting calls from Canadian charities that conduct foreign activities and professional advisors wondering whether this has any impact on them.   The short answer is no.  

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August 19, 2014

Industry Canada sending out more warnings to Federal non-profits that have not continued

Industry Canada has been warning Federal non-profits that are under the old Canada Corporations Act to continue.  They are sending out with Annual Returns under the old act warnings to non-profits to continue or face dissolution.  

August 18, 2014

The CNCA and its impact on Canadian registered charities

As I have noted before I am concerned that many thousands of Federal non-profit corporations have not continued to the new CNCA and at some point after October 17, 2014 they will be dissolved by Industry Canada.  That is a particular problem for registered charities in that CRA will eventually revoke the registered charities status of those charities. 

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August 12, 2014

B.C. Ministry of Finance seeking feedback on proposed modernization of the Society Act

The B.C. Ministry of Finance has released a White Paper which sets out policy recommendations and proposed draft legislation for a new and more modern "Society Act" in British Columbia, which governs not-for-profit organizations in B.C. The consultation process to amend the current legislation began in 2009.

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August 10, 2014

CRA numbers comparing assets and revenues for 2011 to 2012 for the Charity Sector in Canada


I recently received from the Charities Directorate of CRA some charts showing the combined assets and revenues of the Canadian registered charity sector for 2011 and 2012.   A few quick comments:

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August 09, 2014

My article “Selecting Great Charities – only tough if your eyes are open”

Here is a link to an article I wrote entitled "Selecting Great Charities – only tough if your eyes are open" which recently appeared on the CanadaHelps website.  

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August 09, 2014

Mark Blumberg’s submission to the Finance Committee for 2015 pre-budget consultations

Here is a copy of our submission to the Finance Committee for the 2015 pre-budget consultations.   In the pre-budget submission we discuss having greater transparency with both non-profit organizations and registered charities and also the issue of charities and political activities.  

August 07, 2014

Revocation letters by CRA for charities and political activities - over the last 20 years.

Over the last 20 years CRA has revoked a number of charities for ostensibly being involved in partisan political activities, or exceeding the 10% of resources on political activities, or for having an unstated political purpose.  In light of all the interest in charities and political activities we thought that it would be a good idea to provide a list of CRA letters that I am aware of relating to those revocations.  For those who are interested in the issue of charities and political activities these are important documents.   

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August 06, 2014

CRA letter on the application of GST/HST to membership dues

CRA has released a letter which discusses whether GST/HST applies to membership dues. This particular letter involved a non-profit corporation seeking a GST/HST exemption for dues paid by its members. Based on the information provided by the non-profit corporation, CRA concluded that members were receiving a direct benefit as a result of their membership and therefore did not meet the GST/HST exemption criteria set out in section 17 of Part VI of Schedule V.

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August 06, 2014

Latest Update on CNCA continuances from Industry Canada

I recently contacted Industry Canada and they advised that as of July 26, 2014 there have been 5,386 continuances to the new CNCA.   As there are ostensibly 19,000 Federal corporations that are/were under the old Canada Corporations Act there appear to be a large number of organizations that still need to continue.  For those who have not continued you may find this short webinar helpful.  

Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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