Blog

August 22, 2010

CanadaHelps Free Training Seminars for Charities Announced

CanadaHelps is offering a number of free training seminars for charities.  They look very interesting and here are the details:

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Topics: News

August 22, 2010

Assessing the Contribution of Faith-Based Organisations in Development - CIVICUS 2010

Here is a copy of a powerpoint from a workshop at the CIVICUS World Assembly entitled “Assessing the Contribution of Faith-Based Organisations in Development: Mythical or Real?”.

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August 22, 2010

CIVICUS World Assembly 2010 in Montreal, Canada - some personal observations.

Here are some of my notes on my learnings at the CIVICUS World Assembly 2010 that I am attending in Montreal.

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Topics: News | Global Giving

August 20, 2010

CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch (PWCB)- August 2010

For those who could not attend the CIDA presentation today in Toronto here is a copy of the CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch- August 2010.  There are some questions posed in this document that CIDA is looking for input by Wednesday August 25.  Here is a cleaner copy of the CIDA presentation from the OCIC, without the questions.

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

August 18, 2010

Canadian Charities that Operate Abroad listed by Country and Region based on 2008 T3010 information

This document contains a list of countries and regions in which Canadian charities are conducting foreign activities.  The information comes from the 2008 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return and specifically Question C5:  “For programs the charity managed directly, outside of Canada, list the countries or regions where programs were carried on. Do not include countries or regions where programs were managed by a qualified donee.”

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August 17, 2010

Update from Kevin McCort of Humanitarian Coalition on Pakistan flooding and response

Here is a request from the Humanitarian Coalition with respect to Pakistan http://thehumanitariancoalitionenglish.cmail4.com/t/y/e/miritl/biljdktji/  Here are some blogs and pictures from Pakistan http://www.thehumanitariancoalition.ca/index.php/site/newsRoomArticle/blogs_and_info_from_pakistan/  The Humanitarian Coalition is made up of Care Canada, Oxfam Quebec, Oxfam Canada and Save the Children.  They fundraise and work together in major international disasters to be more efficient, effective, and coordinated.

August 16, 2010

10 Principles of Good Practice for the Intelligent Funder - from SCVO and CIVICUS

Here is an interesting guide for those involved with funding NGOs around the world.  Don’t be put off by the title -  you may still be intelligent even if you don’t follow all the principles!

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August 15, 2010

Philanthropic Foundations Canada - program Global Giving - Possibilities and Pitfalls

I will be one of the presenters at an upcoming PFC program called Global Giving - Possibilities and Pitfalls.

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August 11, 2010

N.Y. passes new law limiting tax deductions for people earning over $10 million

Here is an article on the Chronicle of Philanthropy about New York State’s new law limiting deductions for donors who earn over 10 million http://philanthropy.com/article/NY-Governor-Signs/123863/  It is thought that other states as well as the Federal government may follow this example.  There are some that argue the the more the merrier when it comes to tax incentives for people giving to charity.  However, as New York is seeing the greater the tax incentives for general charitable giving the greater foregone revenue needed to run basic government services.  This may be a ‘luxury’ they cannot afford.  Also while some donors are fixated on tax rates, according to a number of surveys tax barely figures in the equation. Will Canada follow NY’s example?  We will see.

Topics: News

August 11, 2010

ArtezInterAction 2010 - 4th annual conference on social media and online fundraising

The 4th annual Artez InterAction one day conference is coming up on September 28, 2010 at the Mars centre in Toronto.  There are lots of good speakers but make sure you catch Claire Kerr - she is a very funny lady!  For more information see: http://www.artez.com/news_and_events/conferences/artezinteraction_north_america/conference_sessions

Topics: News

August 10, 2010

Canadian charity employment numbers - statistics from 2008 data - how many people work for charities

Did you know that there are a number of Canadian charities with over 10,000 employees?  These statistics are according to the 2008 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return numbers from the Canada Revenue Agency.  There are 241 who have over a thousand employees.  There are 1277 who have over a hundred employees.  There are 7456 who have over 10 employees.  There are 36,836 charities have one or more employees.

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August 09, 2010

Pakistan flooding - be careful of which disaster appeal you respond to

Tomorrow, the Humanitarian Coalition will launch an appeal for flooded Pakistan. Here is a link to their website http://tiny.cc/rr9x7 For those who have not heard of the Humanitarian Coalition it is “a network of Canadian NGOs determined to unite in cases of humanitarian crises. Four of Canada’s leading aid organizations have founded the Humanitarian Coalition: CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec and Save the Children Canada.”

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August 09, 2010

Mark Blumberg on Global TV discussing how to decide if a Canadian charity is worthy of support

Here is the segment (2.5 minutes) with Sean O’Shea, a consumer reporter for Global TV.  Mark Blumberg, moi, is being interviewed along with much more serious, important, and influential characters such as Marcel Lauzière of Imagine Canada

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August 08, 2010

Christopher Paterson v. MNR - person loses right to EFILE after filing inflated donation receipts

The case involves the CRA denial of EFILING privileges to Mr. Christopher Paterson, an individual who prepares clients’ returns because he assisted them with a “scheme” in which the applicant “accepted money from taxpayers who wished to “donate” to these charitable organizations in exchange for an “enhanced receipt” for tax purposes (the scheme). The receipt provided to the taxpayer would reflect a much larger sum of money than was actually paid and would then be used in the preparation of the client’s tax return to provide the client with sizeable deductions from their taxable income.”  Mr. Paterson had objected to the CRA determination and the Federal Court upheld the CRA decision.  The CRA Chief of Appeals had noted “[The applicant’s] conduct was disreputable in nature because of [his] involvement in selling charitable donation receipts to [his] clients for gain. Further, [he] knowingly prepared returns using these donations receipts from which there were no actual contributions to the registered charities. As a result, [the CRA] find[s] that [his] conduct in this matter does not reflect positively on the integrity of the EFILE program…”  The court noted “While the applicant may not have had any reason to question the authenticity of the receipts his clients were being supplied, he most definitely knew that the amounts paid by his clients were not equal to the amounts they were given credit for when he was completing their income tax returns. There was evidently some sort of wilful blindness on the part of the applicant. The mere fact that the applicant did not believe this to be fraudulent does not detract from his admission that he participated in a scheme whereby taxpayers were making claims for the deduction of sums of money they never paid to these charitable organizations. As it is often said, ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

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August 08, 2010

Taliban Gunmen Kill Medical Aid Workers in Afghanistan

The New York Times reported that “Returning home from a three-week trek on foot to deliver free medical care to the remotest regions of the country, the aid workers — six Americans, a Briton, a German and four Afghans — had just finished eating when they were accosted by gunmen with long dyed-red beards, the police said. The gunmen marched them into the forest, stood them in a line and shot 10 of them one by one.”  ...“The attack, the largest massacre in years of aid workers in Afghanistan, offered chilling evidence of the increasing insecurity in the northern part of the country and added to fears that the insurgency has turned even more vicious in recent months.”

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Topics: News | Global Giving

August 04, 2010

Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society v. The Queen - employee vs. independent contractor

The Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society v. The Queen case illustrates quite well that even if a non-profit and a staff person agree that the staff person is an independent contractor, there is an independent contractor agreement, and the staff person has considerable latitude in carrying out the tasks, the staff person can be found to be an employee. It is vital that non-profits and charities properly categorize staff. Failure to consider someone an employee when they really are an employee, and failure to withhold EI, CPP and income tax amounts, can result in considerable liability for a non-profit or charity. As well, directors of the non-profit or charity can be on the hook for the outstanding amount and this is probably the most common reason that the directors of a non-profit or charity would ever have personal liability.

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August 03, 2010

Canada Revenue Agency deregistering or revoking record number of questionable Canadian charities

Here is a list with the 2008 -  2011 deregistrations with scanned copies of the actual letters sent by CRA to the charities outlining their reasons for revoking or annulling their charitable status.  In some cases there are links to CRA press releases.

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August 02, 2010

CRA’s Registered Canadian Charity Audit Pre-Audit List + Charities Directorate Audit Questionnaire

Here is a copy of a sample Canadian Charity Audit Pre-Audit List and Charities Directorate Audit Questionnaire for a general audit by CRA.  The list gives an indication of the documents and questions that CRA may cover or ask on an audit of a registered charity.  If you are being audited by CRA and you are concerned it may be beneficial to obtain legal advice from a charity lawyer.  If you are not being audited you may to read the list and think about whether you could respond to the checklist if you were being audited.

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August 02, 2010

CRA’s new Guidance on foreign activities by Canadian charities

CRA has recently released a new guidance called “Canadian Registered Charities Carrying out Activities Outside Canada”. http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cgd/tsd-cnd-eng.html Although the name suggests “foreign activities” this document deals with a lot more than foreign activities. It covers the relationship between a Canadian charity and any non-qualified donee, whether in Canada or abroad. If a Canadian charity has dealing with, for example, a non-profit that does not have Canadian registered charity status then the same rules apply as to a Canadian registered charity dealing with a foreign entity. Essentially, almost all organizations outside of Canada are non-qualified donees. If you are going to transfer resources to them you need to maintain “direction and control” over those resources. This document helps a Canadian charity understand what is required for direction and control. Failure to maintain direction and control can result in a 105% penalty of the amount transferred and/or revocation of charitable status.

 

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August 01, 2010

Mission Trips and receipting by Canadian registered charities for volunteers travel expenses/costs

A lot can be written on mission trips and the appropriateness of issuing receipts. CRA has been auditing charities that are innapropriately issuing receipts with certain types of trips or travel.  It is very dependent on the exact facts of the situation. While in some cases it may be appropriate to issue such receipts, in many cases it is not.  Organizations issuing receipts should ensure that they are appropriate and obtain legal advice if necessary.  I could probably write a chapter on it but here is some information on the subject.

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August 01, 2010

What is fair market value for Canadian cultural property valuation by the CCPERB?

Too many people think that fair market value is the “highest price” you can get for something.  In fact that is not correct and the “highest price” is not fair market value - it is the “highest price”.  Here is some interesting discussion from the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board on what is FMV that may be helpful to charities in general when they are thinking about fair market value.

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August 01, 2010

Alberta Fundraising Registration, Rules and Standards of Practice

Alberta requires some charities to register under its Charitable Fund-raising Act including those who raise $25,000 or more per year, or use a fundraising business to fundraise for the charity.  There are exclusions if your charity only fundraises from family or members, you only ask for in-kind goods (rather than cash) or you only do gaming such as bingo under the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.  If you meet the registration requirements, and do not fit within one of the exceptions, then your charity must register with the Alberta government, even if you are registered with the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency.

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July 29, 2010

Minister Oda announces next step to CIDA’s Aid Effectiveness

Here is a press release in which CIDA Minister Bev Oda announces further steps to achieve aid effectiveness. http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/CEC-722111726-KXG There is also a backgrounder.  This document is a must read for any organization receiving CIDA funds or hoping to one day.  There is a lot in this document and it will be interesting to see if practically this makes any real difference at CIDA.

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July 29, 2010

NEW T3010B Registered Charity Information Return RELEASED

With the recent changes in the 2010 Federal budget including the elimination of the 80/20 expenditure rule it became necessary for CRA to revise the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.

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July 27, 2010

Advocacy and Political Activities for Canadian International Development Charities

Here is a copy of my presentation to the Ontario Council For International Cooperation (OCIC) on “Advocacy and Political Activities for Canadian International Development Charities: Some Legal and Ethical Perspectives”.

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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.

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