Blog

March 22, 2017

2017 Canadian Federal Budget and its impact on non-profits and charities

The 2017 Canadian Federal Budget was released today.  Here is our article 2017 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector? 

March 19, 2017

OHA Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions

The Ontario Hospital Association is having a conference entitled "Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions".  I will be presenting on Charitable Giving, Transparency and Standards. There will be a number of other interesting presentations.  

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March 19, 2017

“Charity finances: trustee essentials” - great information on financial management of a charity

The Charity Commission has recently updated  their guidance "Charity finances: trustee essentials".  It provides helpful information on finances that Canadian directors and trustees, as well as staff, should be aware of.  Keep in mind that on certain points the law in Canada is different than in England and Wales.  Unfortunately the CRA provides far less guidance on financial management and governance to the charity sector than I would like.  

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March 18, 2017

Australian charity commission to crack down on inappropriate political activities by charities

This recent article in The Guardian entitled Charity regulator to crack down on political advocacy after complaints discusses how the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has cracked down on certain political activities by charities in Australia and how the ACNC is asking for less secrecy and more transparency in dealing with charity compliance issues.

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March 17, 2017

Lawsuit in BC over search and rescue charity’s allegedly deceptive fundraising.

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that North Shore Rescue is suing the Search and Rescue Society of B.C. over allegations that the latter groups has been using the name of the North Shore Rescue to raise money.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the lawsuit.  Here is the article "Charity denies wrongdoing in lawsuit over search-and-rescue fundraising".  There is also a CBC article entitled "SARBC 'extremely shocked' over North Shore Rescue fundraising lawsuit".

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March 17, 2017

CRA sending out notices on T3010 filings

Here is a redacted copy of a notice sent by the Charities Directorate of CRA reminding charities of their filing date and the consequences of not filing the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return within 6 months of the end of your fiscal year.  

March 16, 2017

FTC & NASCO Conference on Consumer Protection Issues and Charitable Solicitations - online/free

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are organizing a conference called "Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity" on Tuesday March 21, 2017.   It will be in Washington but it will be live streamed for free for those who are interested.  The live link will be available on the day of the conference.  

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March 15, 2017

Fed up with ONCA yet? Consider skipping it altogether and moving to the Federal CNCA

For Ontario non-profit corporations the next few years will be challenging from a corporate law point of view. Here is our article "Fed up with ONCA yet? Consider skipping it altogether and moving to the Federal CNCA".

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March 14, 2017

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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March 11, 2017

IRFAN Canada makes application to Federal Court to remove terrorist designation

A number of Canadian charities have been revoked by CRA for supporting terrorism in addition to other concerns.  One of those organizations was The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) or IRFAN Canada.  It lost its charitable status in 2011.   Subsequently in 2014 it was added to the list of terrorist organizations maintained under the Criminal Code.   Apparently a request had been made by IRFAN Canada to the Minister of Public Safety to de-list the applicant from the list of terrorist organizations. On December 22, 2016, the Minister of Public Safety denied the request.  Now IRFAN Canada has made an application to Federal Court for judicial review to set aside the denial.

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March 10, 2017

CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016

AFP recently published an article of mine on the CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016.  They noted "Statistics, while helpful, sometimes require interpretation to fully understand the context of the material being presented. Lawyer Mark Blumberg provides a summary of the key takeaways from the Canada Revenue Agency's 2015-2016 Report on the Charities Directorate and Sector."  Here is the article CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-2016.

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March 07, 2017

Government of Canada to combine all Federal government websites into Canada.ca

The consolidation of all Government of Canada websites into one domain at www.canada.ca has started.  In theory this is an opportunity to have a more streamlined, secure government website.  I have two concerns about how this will affect charities. 

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March 07, 2017

Can Canadian private foundations invest in limited partnerships?

There are many rules and restrictions on Canadian private foundations and their investments.   In 2015, the Federal government gave private foundations greater ability to invest in limited partnerships.   If certain conditions are met from a CRA Income Tax Act perspective a private foundation can invest in limited partnerships.  Keep in mind there are also corporate, trust law and fiduciary requirements that also need to be complied with.  

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March 04, 2017

Charity Commission concerned that “poor due diligence and monitoring put charity assets at risk”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently released an Inquiry Report on a UK charity that identified concerns with fundraising and foreign activities.  There were a number of concerns raised but perhaps most interesting is the discussion around due diligence and internal controls, and specifically "receipts, invoices or other documentation to support the project expenditure".   

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February 26, 2017

CRA updates information sheet for prescribed university applications

CRA recently updated their guidance with respect to becoming a prescribed university outside of Canada. There are about 600 foreign prescribed universities and they can issue official donation receipts similar to a Canadian registered charity.  The updated CRA publication (RC 191) includes some revisions to the information that CRA requires for applications for prescribed university status (eligibility criteria however has not changed). The main change is that CRA only asks for 5 years information on Canadian students at the foreign university and not 10 years as they had previously requested.  

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February 24, 2017

CRA has updated the T2050 form - Application to Register a Charity

The Canada Revenue Agency ('CRA') recently updated the T2050 form used by organizations when applying for charitable status with the Charities Directorate of the CRA. 

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February 13, 2017

Corporations Canada gives final final notice that non-profits must continue

A notice from Corporations Canada of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (formerly Industry Canada) entitled "Last chance for not-for-profits to transition" has been sent out reminding non-profits that if they are still under the old Canada Corporations Act that they need to transition to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act or they will be dissolved.  The final final deadline is July 31, 2017 to have completed the process.  

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February 12, 2017

More CRA guidance on cause-related marketing by Canadian registered charities

The CRA has added a page on cause-related marketing page to the receipting part of their website.  The CRA seems largely concerned that in some cases no official donation receipt should be issued when there is a cause related marketing arrangement between a Canadian charity and a for-profit company.

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February 10, 2017

CRA has new Checklist Tool for charities applying to be a registered charity

If you are into technology and like to click things and then see those clicks magically be reflected in a newly generated page then you are going to love CRA's new Checklist Tool for Canadian registered charity applications.  It allows for lots of clicking. It also provides some useful information. Perhaps this new technological solution/format will be good for those who are not interested in reading CRA's Guide T4063, Registering a Charity for Income Tax Purposes.  Perhaps more charity applications will be better prepared and therefore require a less detailed CRA response. Perhaps this will result in faster charity processing times which now can range from 2 months to 12 months. As we have noted about ten days ago most charity applications are not being accepted by CRA.

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February 10, 2017

Charity Commission case report on charity political activity AND funding non-charity

The Charity Commission has released a case report that deals with political activities of a UK charity and also its funding of a non-charity.  This case report is interesting from a Canadian perspective as there have been people in Canada advocating for changes to the rules relating to Canadian charities and political activities and also "direction and control" by Canadian charities when they are providing resources to non-qualified donees (such as foreign organizations).  This particular case report covers both of these types of issues.

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February 01, 2017

Today the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation merged

In October 2016 the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation announced that they were looking at a merger.  Today the CCS sent out an email announcing "On behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), I am thrilled to announce that effective today, we have officially merged operations with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF)."

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January 30, 2017

Terrorist attack at mosque in Quebec City claims 6 lives

On Sunday January 29, 2017 there was a terrible tragedy in Quebec City. A right-wing terrorist massacred six people praying at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec and injured almost 20 others.  This is the worst terrorist attack in Canada in over 25 years.

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January 29, 2017

What are the chances of your Canadian charity application succeeding?

In Canada, the Charities Directorate of CRA reviews carefully all registered charity applications.  Some of the latest statistics from the CRA show that most charities that apply for registration are not granted it.  It is not that these organizations are bad - but you have to meet all the criteria for a registered charity to be accepted by CRA. While 1670 were accepted in 2015-16 fiscal year, many more received unfavarouble decisions.  Unlike the US in which the 501c3 application process appears to have been stripped down to almost nothing - here in Canada there is still a vigorous process to protect the integrity of the registered charity system.

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January 22, 2017

The second best Canadian registered charity transparency tool has been improved

In August 2016 we launched a website to improve transparency on Canadian registered charities.  It is at www.charitydata.ca  We have just made a number of improvements to the website.

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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.

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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