Blog

January 16, 2017

Guidance for Professional Athletes considering Philanthropy in Canada

Kate Robertson and Mark Blumberg recently prepared an article, "Some thoughts on Professional Athletes and Philanthropy in Canada: Part 1" which provides helpful information and guidance for professional athletes and their trusted advisors who are exploring philanthropic options in Canada.  Part 2 of this article series will provide suggestions and tips for professional athletes on operating a successful Canadian registered charity.

January 04, 2017

CRA’s Report on the Charities Program - useful information on the Canadian charity sector

The CRA released a report today entitled Report on the Charities Program.  It has lots of useful information on the charity sector, regulation of charities, statistics relating to the Charities Directorate and various new developments.  

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December 28, 2016

Ignorance isn’t bliss for large registered charities anymore as CRA focuses audits on them

CRA uses a risk based approach to deciding which charities are to be audited.  CRA a few months ago announced they are adjusting their audit strategy to focus more on larger Canadian registered charities. I guess someone in the past might had thought that smaller organizations, many without any staff, might be less legally compliant and they should be focused on. I guess someone now at the Charities Directorate has worked out that larger organizations have a large amount of resources, generally a lot more complexity and are to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and such non-compliance could affect much larger amounts of resources.

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December 27, 2016

CRA closes consultation on political activities with a press release

The CRA has recently completed a 2 1/2 month consultation with Canadians on the ability of Canadian charities to conduct political activities. Here is the full text of the CRA press release on the closing of the political activity consultation on December 14, 2016:

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December 27, 2016

What is a “development project” and how can this add further flexibility to foreign activities

CRA's Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada discusses a "development project".  The guidance provides Canadian registered charities greater leeway in certain instances when conducting a "development project" to be able to hand over capital assets and immovable assets to a foreign non-qualified donee.  I have always thought that a development project would be carried out in what is referred to as the Global South/Third World/Developing Countries (the "South") and would be trying to reduce poverty, promote education, improve the environment, or improve access to health care to provide some examples.

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December 27, 2016

Charity Commission report into a former charity named REDAID -lots of lessons for Canadian charities

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently published an Inquiry Report into a former charity named REDAID.  It is well worth reading.  In Canada, directors of registered charities sometimes focus too much on the Income Tax Act requirements of a charity and ignore or are unaware of their fiduciary obligations.  Directors of registered charities have fiduciary duties that in some cases can be at a much higher standard than that which is provided under the Income Tax Act.  

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December 27, 2016

CRA’s Alphabetical index of all policies and guidance

CRA has had an alphabetical index of all policies and guidance relating to charities.  This is a very helpful tool for charities wanting to see if CRA has a position on a particular issue.  The only problem with the list is that for a lay person they often do not know which guidance is related to the issue at hand and sometimes useful information is hidden in the appendix of a guidance.   Some of the material is also dated or picayune and not of much relevance to charities just wanting to operate with the legal requirements of the Income Tax Act.   

December 27, 2016

Imagine Canada’s The Ethical Code Program comes to an end on Dec 31,  2016

Imagine Canada has announced that their original "Ethical Code Program" is being merged with their new Standards Program. They are notifying charities that "The Program will remain open, and participants may continue to use the trustmark, until December 31, 2016. After that date, however, all references to the Ethical Code Program, including the trustmark, will need to be removed from your website."

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December 26, 2016

Tides Canada closing international donation matching system with Tides US Foundation

Tides Canada quietly announced earlier this year that their international donation matching system between the Tides US and Tides Canada is being shutdown as of the end of this 2016 year.  The Tides mechanism was essentially a matching mechanism between Tides US foundation and the Tides Canada foundation.

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Topics: News | Global Giving

December 26, 2016

Which Canadian Private Foundations had the largest total expenditures in 2013-2015?

We recently reviewed the private foundations contained on the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return for 2013, 2014 and 2015.   We looked at who had the largest expenditures, what their total assets were and the percentage of total assets that were disbursed in that particular year.  Here are the results:

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December 23, 2016

BC Societies Act now in force

British Columbia’s new Societies Act (the “new Act”), which replaces the previous Society Act (the “old Act”), was passed on May 14, 2015, and recently came into force on November 28, 2016. Societies incorporated in British Columbia will have two years from November 28, 2016 to transition to the new Act.

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December 21, 2016

Did charitable giving in Canada really hit a 10-year low?

I recently read a press release from a Canadian think tank that said “Charitable giving in Canada hits 10-year low”. They proposed “In total, Canadians claimed $9 billion in charitable donations in 2014. But had Canadians donated in 2014 at the same rate as in 2006, Canada's charities would have received an additional $3.6 billion, for a potential total of $12.6 billion."  They also noted that Americans gave 1.42 per cent of their income to charity in 2014 -- more than two-and-a-half times what Canadians gave.” I guess their main points were that Canadians are becoming less generous and Canadians are not as generous as Americans.  I have issues with the arguments and the methodology.

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December 21, 2016

CRA releases new form for charities to change director, trustee, or like official information

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently released a new form which allows charities to easily update CRA on any changes to their directors, trustees or like officials.  The Charities Directorate will not speak to an individual on matters relating to a Canadian registered charity unless they are an authorized representative of the charity so it is important that CRA has up to date and accurate information on file relating to a charity's directors, trustees or like officials.

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December 18, 2016

The Rodney Dangerfield of Canadian tax incentives

There is an amazing tax incentive available to Canadians.  Few people who are knowledgeable about charities want to discuss it. It just does not get any respect! I am referring to the ability of Canadians to donate to "foreign prescribed universities".  For a foreign university to be eligible to be on the list that university needs to be a university that typically has Canadian students studying there. Then once the university is on the list, the Canadian donor obtains the same tax benefits as if they donated to a Canadian university or registered charity even if they have never visited the university or even the country it is located in.

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December 16, 2016

Charities, Privacy and Screening Donors

Recently in the UK there were fines imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office on two prominent charities.  This raised the issue of charities and privacy of donor information.

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December 09, 2016

CRA releases new Guidance on Relieving conditions attributable to being aged

Canada Revenue Agency recently released a new CRA guidance, CG-026, Relieving conditions attributable to being aged and charitable registration that replaces the previous CPS-002 Relief of the Aged CRA guidance. 

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November 27, 2016

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars.  Registration is free but space is limited. 

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November 25, 2016

CRA has released a folio on “Split-receipting and Deemed Fair Market Value”

CRA has just released a chapter in their Income Tax Folio series for charities and non-profit organizations.   The new part is S7-F1-C1, Split-receipting and Deemed Fair Market Value.  Income Tax Folios are CRA’s official summary of its interpretation on certain income tax matters and this is the first chapter for Folio 1 Charitable Gifts and Deductions. The new folio relates to subsections 248(30) to (41) of the Income Tax Act (Canada), which contain the split-receipting rules and deemed fair market value rule.

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November 24, 2016

Recording available for CCLA webinar by Mark Blumberg on CRA’s political activities consultation

Mark Blumberg recently presented a webinar for the Canadian Charity Law Association (CCLA) to discuss CRA’s consultation on political activities and the importance of Canadian charities conducting political activities.   The deadline for submissions to CRA has been extended to December 14, 2016.

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November 24, 2016

Submissions being accepted for Canada’s Volunteer Awards

Employment and Social Development Canada is running the Canada’s Volunteer Awards program, to recognize the outstanding contributions of individual volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and businesses in Canada that are helping communities. 

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November 24, 2016

CRA providing electronic version of Form T2081

CRA recently announced that the mailing of a printed copy of the Form T2081, Excess Corporate Holdings Worksheet for Private Foundations will no longer be sent out to affected charities. However, this form will be accessible to affected charities on the CRA website.  

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November 24, 2016

Deadline for CRA consultation submissions on political activities extended

CRA recently announced that the deadline for online submissions for its political activities consultation has been extended to December 14th, 2016.  The CRA is looking for feedback on the rules and CRA's guidance relating to political activities. You can email your submissions to CRA at consultation-policy-politique@cra-arc.gc.ca.

November 23, 2016

Recent changes to Corporations Canada CNCA documents

Corporations Canada recently implemented changes to a number of its forms on its website under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act ('CNCA'), the Canada Business Corporations Act, and the Special Act of Parliament.

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November 21, 2016

Liberal MP Alexandra Mendès has put forward a Private Members’ Motion to study charity sector

Liberal MP Alexandra Mendès has put forward a Private Members' Motion on November 16, 2016 that requests that the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities will study the non-profit and charity sector.  

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Topics: News

November 10, 2016

Some thoughts on the Trump victory and its impact on Canadian nonprofits and charities

Topics: News | Global Giving

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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.

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