We have just released our Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015. Lots of interesting statistics and information on the Canadian charity sector. As well if you want information on individual charities or want to sort charities based on about 20 criteria checkout our charity data site at www.charitydata.ca.
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.
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.
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."
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:
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.
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.
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.
Recently we noticed that CRA is now including a T3010 reminder notice in the Notification of Registration letters being issued to new Canadian registered charities. The reminder notice relates to the due date of the charity's annual information return with CRA.
I am pleased to be co-presenting to the ICN a webinar on "CRA Regulations and the Political Activities of Charities".
We are proud to present the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014. The data subset used is the CRA's 2014 T3010 data but only for registered charities based in Ontario.
As many know the CRA has launched a consultation on political activities by Canadian charities. The Canadian Charity Law Association will be having Mark Blumberg present a webinar on the consultation and various ways of responding or not responding to it. The webinar will be on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12:00PM EST. You can register here for the webinar. It is free but there is limited space.
On October 28, 2016 at the Blumbergs' Charity Law Institute we will be presenting the results of the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014 including how the numbers have changed between 2011 and 2014.
The House of Commons Finance Committee (FINA) has posted the pre-budget submissions that it received. There are 420 briefs including our brief Increasing the productivity of the charity and non-profit sector through greater transparency and accountability. If anyone notices any other briefs discussing greater transparency in the non-profit and charitable sector please do let me know.
The work that charities do is extremely important to our society, so it is vital that various stakeholders, such as the public, the media, the government, donors, employees, boards, donors and others. have access to key information on what the charity is doing and how it is doing it. In general transparency will ultimately increase public trust and confidence in the sector by making the public more informed about the work of charities and making it more difficult for people to misuse charities. However, from a legal perspective registered charities have few requirements in terms of transparency. Registered charities must file a T3010 Registered Charity Information Return with a financial statement and various schedules with the CRA every year.
Here is a copy of a CRA Powerpoint presentation slide deck on the Regulation of Charities - Overview - September 2014. It provides some useful information including the CRA's audit plan. For example, the audit plan shows that CRA planned on auditing in 2014/15 32 registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs). That is a pretty large number as there are only 119 RCAAAs in total. Political activity audits in that same period only accounted for 2% of CRA audits. Only 4% of charities audited resulted in CRA issuing an notice of intention to revoke.
Here is a recent CharityVillage article entitled "A national charity census: Mark Blumberg's Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector" which highlights the recent Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2014.
Blumbergs has just released a new website with over 10 years T3010 information for each Canadian registered charity. The site is a beta being tested but if you are interested you can visit the website at www.charitydata.ca It is free and hopefully useful. If you have any feedback just let us know.
As a result of the 2016 Quebec Budget, Canadian registered charities are no longer required to complete a separate charitable registration in Quebec in order to be able to issue tax receipts to donors in Quebec.
CRA recently released two new online registered charity information request forms which have been created to simplify the process when requesting certain types of information from CRA. Previously this information was typically requested by sending a letter/fax to CRA. Now it can be done online. This is a giant step forward in making it easier for Canadians to be able to access public information from the CRA's Charities Directorate on Canadian registered charities.
We have just released the Blumbergs' Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2014 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project. This is the fifth snapshot provided by Blumbergs of the Canadian charity sector. The database covers about 84,500 of the 86,000 registered charities in Canada that had filed their T3010 for the 2014 year and were processed into CRA’s Charity Listing database by February 2016.
We recently contacted Corporations Canada regarding the updated statistics on continuances and dissolutions under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act ('CNCA'). Apparently in March there has been an increasing number of entities that have transitioned to the CNCA. Here are the current figures:
The CRA provides numerous reminders to charities to file the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return. There used to be 2000 Canadian charities that did not file their T3010 and were revoked for non-filing. As a result of the vigilant system CRA has reduced the typical number of charities not filing their T3010 to approximately 600 per year.
[Update - if you are interested in T3010 information on Canadian registered charities check out www.charitydata.ca]
Imagine Canada has recently noted that their website www.charityfocus.ca will be shut down. Here is the short notice "As of April 8, 2016, Imagine Canada will retire Charity Focus and the T3010 QuickPrep. Information regarding the decision to retire these tools and what to do if you have an existing account or profile is available on the Imagine Canada website:http://www.imaginecanada.ca/resources-and-tools/charity-focus".
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
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.