Blog

January 24, 2010

Article in Embassy “Post-traumatic stress real threat to aid workers, diplomats”

This article by Laura Payton is particularly timely.

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January 22, 2010

Haiti Earthquake - Québec Announces That Donations Made by Feb 28, 2010 Will Be Deductible in 2009

Earthquake in Haiti:  Québec Announces That Donations Made by February 28, 2010 Will Be Deductible in 2009

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January 21, 2010

Donating to a Canadian charity in a disaster - suggestions to ensure funds gets to the most needy

Here are some suggestions for donating to a Canadian charity in a disaster such as we recently saw in Haiti.

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January 21, 2010

Court Certifies Class Action Lawsuit over Banyan Tree Leveraged Charitable Donation Program

Here is a press release from the law firm Scarfone Hawkins LLP on this case.  The defendants are Rochester Financial Limited, Promittere Capital Group Inc., Promittere Asset Management Ltd., Banyan Tree Foundation and national law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.  Here is the Scarfone Hawkins LLP press release dated Jan 21 2010.  Here is a copy of the Reasons for Decision of Justice Lax dated January 19 2010

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January 19, 2010

CRA to work weekends to help public with Haiti relief

To help with Haiti Relief the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily be working on weekends “Note: As a temporary measure, the Charities Directorate is providing additional telephone service for donors and charities who want information about donations toward earthquake relief in Haiti. The telephone service is now extended to weekends, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.”  This is an excellent idea and will be helpful to many Canadians.  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html

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January 19, 2010

Section 168 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) - revoking registration of a registered charity or RCAAA

Here is copy of Section 168 of the Canadian Income Tax Act which deals with revoking registration of a registered charity or RCAAA.  Registration can be revoked for a number of differrent reasons.

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January 19, 2010

Canadian charities and embezzlement - when the river runs dry, the jagged rocks are revealed

Recently a US Report on major embezzlements by Marquet International was released.  The report covers only one type of fraud namely embezzlement or the misappropriation of resources by an employee or agent of an organization for his or her own purposes.  What is interesting is first the high number of non-profits who suffer from embezzlements.  “Non-profit and religious organizations accounted for more than 11 percent of all the incidents, consistent with our 2008 findings.”

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January 18, 2010

Why donate cash rather than goods in a crisis -some good thoughts from DFAIT

Here is some useful information from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs on why it is better to donate cash rather than goods during a disaster.

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January 16, 2010

Haiti Earthquake highlights difficulties for Canadian charities conducting international operations

The Haiti Earthquake shows quite vividly how difficult and complicated international charitable activities can be.  From logistical issues to security, careful planning, preparation and having the requisite experience and people on the ground are important.  At an upcoming conference in Toronto called Being Good at Doing Good (http://www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip/conference/index.php), supported by the Canada Revenue Agency, there will be extensive discussion of how charities must be careful to maximize their organization’s effectiveness and prevent your resources from being misused both locally and internationally.  There will be a number of excellent speakers and topics on the difficulties and requirements for international operations and some of them will incorporate updates and lessons learned from Haiti.

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January 16, 2010

Outpouring of support for Haiti by Canadians so great that charity servers are crashing!!

Keep the lines and internet sites busy.  Donate to reputable, experienced, knowledgeable Canadian aid organizations that already have operations in Haiti such as the members of the Humanitarian Coalition (http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/) or Doctors Without Borders Canada (http://www.msf.ca/)  Here is an article on the outpouring of support by Canadian donors.

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January 16, 2010

Donating to Haitian Earthquake Relief - beware of charity scams taking advantage of the situation

Here is a CBC article on how scammers and cyber criminals are trying to exploit the generosity of people. Save yourself the disappointment and embarrassment and if you are interested in helping people in Haiti donate to an experienced Canadian aid organization that has operations in Haiti such as the members of the Humanitarian Coalition (http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/)  or Doctors Without Borders Canada (http://www.msf.ca/)

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January 15, 2010

CIDA’s Key Facts about the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund -are your charity’s donations being matched

Here is some information from CIDA with respect to their Haiti donation matching program
http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/JOS-114172324-U9P

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January 15, 2010

BC Society Act review in 2010 - comments requested by April 2010

Here is a link to a PDF document from the BC Ministry of Finance on the BC Society Act Review http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/society_act_review.pdf The document raises a number of important policy issues with non-profit corporate law that may be of interest to even those outside of BC.

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January 13, 2010

CRA puts out two releases related to Haiti Earthquake - be an informed donor

One release is a caution encouraging Canadians to be an informed donor and see part of the CRA website on being an informed donor.  The other is a reminder that in a disaster the urge by some to set up a new organization may not be the best course of action may be to donate or help “existing qualified donees (e.g., other registered charities) that have the experience, resources, and infrastructures already in place to respond rapidly and effectively in such locations.”  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html I very much agree with such advice.

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January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake - How you can help - It does not help to wait!

There are many different ways that you can help.  One way is to make a donation to the Humanitarian Coalition.  The Humanitarian Coalition is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec and Save the Children Canada.  These four agencies are working together to address the devastation caused by the earthquake.  http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/

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January 12, 2010

CRA issues Tax Alert on Voluntary Disclosure Program - “Come to us, before we go to you”

The CRA put out a Tax Alert today - they identified that in the last fiscal year (2008-2009) they had “reassessed over 20,000 individuals who had participated in at least 1 of 20 unacceptable tax shelter gifting arrangements.”  Also they noted in the Tax Alert that when they prosecuted for fraud or tax evasion “Convictions were obtained in 98% of the cases prosecuted.”  If you have been bamboozled by a charity gifting tax shelter promoter consider making a voluntary disclosure under the VDP.

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January 12, 2010

7th Annual Foundation, Endowment & Not For Profit Investment Summit - I will be speaking

I will be speaking on “Ensuring Good Board Governance and Basic Legal Compliance for a Canadian Foundation” at the 7th Annual Foundation, Endowment & Not For Profit Investment Summit organized by the Strategy Institute http://www.strategyinstitute.com/021710_feni7/Foundation_2010.pdf

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January 07, 2010

The secret location of the old T3010A form!

As of 2009 Canadian charities need to file the T3010B form for year ends after January 1, 2009.  For almost all charities they have no more use for the T3010A.  CRA has removed the old T3010A form because so many charities were mistakenly filing the t3010A when in fact they should be filing the T3010B Anyway there are reasons that one may want to look at a T3010A including if you are making application for reregistration and you are required to complete the T3010A or you are wondering about the CRA database and what number aligns with what question.  Anyway CRA has done a good job hiding the form to keep it away from you those who might mistakenly use it.  Here is a copy of the T3010A if you require http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/formspubs/prioryear/t3010a/README.html

January 07, 2010

Being Good at Doing Good:  Safeguarding Yourself and your Charity in a Complex World - see schedule

The preliminary schedule for Being Good at Doing Good:  Safeguarding Yourself and your Charity in a Complex World was released today http://www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip/conference/documents/PreliminarySchedule.pdf Check out the topics and speakers and register while you can for this CLIP conference.

January 06, 2010

CRA requests general feedback on charity policies

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency has put an open call for people to comment on existing policies and guidance of the Charities Directorate.  For a number of years the CRA engaged in extensive consultation with the sector and this is a continuation of that effort.

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January 06, 2010

Webinars on Legal Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities -accessible and affordable charity law

Through the Charity Law Information Program I will be delivering over 30 online webinars over the next two months. They are priced at $25 per webinar. The webinars are listed at www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip   Here is a coupon code xq42k that allows you to register for free for any webinar as long as the registration takes place before February 1, 2010.  http://www.capacitybuilders.ca/clip/clip.php

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January 06, 2010

Charities Directorate updates guide P113 Gifts and Income Tax

The CRA has updated its guide P113 Gifts and Income Tax for 2009.  For the document see http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/p113/README.html This document will be of interest to donors, their professional advisors and charities.

January 03, 2010

Canadian Charity on Twitter - the only and therefore best source of charity law info on Twitter!

My CanadianCharity channel on Twitter is growing rapidly.  I have 117 people following me (and most are not even family)  You can access it at http://twitter.com/canadiancharity It covers legal, ethical and practical issues with charities in Canada.  A great way to keep up to date if you have a Twitter account.  Some other ways of keeping up to date are to join CRA’s mailing list at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/esrvc-srvce/mllst/sbscrbchrts-eng.html (it takes exactly 4.5 seconds).  You can also join the Blumbergs Charity Law mailing list at http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/pages/subscribe/  for monthly updates.  It takes about 10 seconds to sign up - well worth the investment of time! [I now have 145 followers on Twitter as Jan 18, 2010]

December 29, 2009

Safety of Canadian Humanitarian Workers - important for people, reputation and funders

In 2009 I attended the Interaction Forum held in Washington, D.C.  The Interaction Forum is the largest gathering of US and international NGOS involved with international development.  I met some very interesting people and learned quite a lot.  One of the important themes of the conference is that security is increasingly important concern for charities doing international operations – security for your employees, expat workers, national staff and beneficiaries.  To summarize, for those who do not want to read more than one paragraph - aid organizations who don’t not take security seriously probably should be getting out of the humanitarian aid area.  Your employees will not want to work for you, funders will not want to fund you and you may be unnecessarily endangering the lives of national staff and beneficiaries.  I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed a large CIDA draft contribution agreement - what was interesting was that in project conducted in a moderately dangerous country about 1/4 of the contribution agreement related to security and safety.

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December 28, 2009

Tax shelter gifting arrangement revocations

In Newsletter 33, CRA identified various registered charities that have had their registered charity status revoked for involvement in tax shelter gifting arrangements.

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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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