Ethics and Canadian Charities

November 25, 2015

CRA initiative “Protect yourself against fraud”

It is interesting to see that CRA used to refer to "abusive charity gifting tax schemes" and they appear to be lumping them in with fraud.  "Meet Mary & William. Mary and William are a married couple with kids. They have fallen victim to a donation tax shelter scheme. Find out more about Mary and William’s story and how you can protect yourself against fraud."

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November 25, 2015

Mattachione, V. et. al. v. The Queen (TCC)

The Tax Court of Canada recently released a decision where they dismissed the appeals of former spouses relating to reassessments under the Income Tax Act with respect to their alleged charitable donations made in 2003, 2004 and 2005. 

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November 02, 2015

Successful appeal by CRA in Canada v. Castro, 2015 FCA 225

We have previously blogged about the decision of the Tax Court of Canada in David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) (here and here). In this decision, the court allowed the appeals of the respondents relating to tax credits that had been previously disallowed by the Minister of National Revenue for gifts the respondents had made to CanAfrica International (CanAfrica), a registered charity, in 2006 (each of the respondents was issued an inflated tax receipt by CanAfrica).  

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November 01, 2015

Ontario Bar Association program “Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities” on Nov 9, 2015

On November 9, 2015 I will be presenting a program for the Ontario Bar Association, along with Nevena Urosevic, on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities.  It is available both in-person and by webcast.

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October 26, 2015

GLGI abusive charitable gifting tax scheme slammed in Tax Court of Canada

In the case Mariano v. The Queen 2015 TCC 244 the Honourable Justice F.J. Pizzitelli reviewed in great detail the Global Learning Trust (2004) and the Global Learning Gift Initiative (GLGI) program.  These programs are what CRA calls abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  For those interested in the regulation of charities and the definition of gift this is a must read case.  It discusses gifts and donative intent, fair market value and valuation reports.  Mr. Justice F.J. Pizzitelli goes into great detail and analyzes the various positions, their expert witnesses and the conduct of the promoter's advisors.

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October 18, 2015

Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013

We have prepared as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project this Snapshot on Political Activities in the Canadian Charity Sector 2013.

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October 09, 2015

Agenda for the Blumbergs’ Charity Law Institute 2015

October 09, 2015

CRA letters to Trinity Global Support Foundation on reasons for revocation

The Trinity Global Support Foundation was recently revoked.   It received some media attention because of the involvement of the former mayor of London, Ontario in the charity.  Here are the letters from CRA explaining the detailed reasons for revocation of Trinity Global Support Foundation.  We blogged on this charity before at "CRA revokes Trinity Global Support Foundation as a charity" and "FCA case on Trinity Global Support Foundation - CRA wins again"

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October 08, 2015

Recent CRA letters of revocation for Canadian registered charities

Here are the CRA letters from a number of recent Canadian registered charity revocations, annulments and penalties.  These letters from CRA cover many different grounds for de-registration or the imposition of penalties.   

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October 08, 2015

Canadian Charity Case Law

We are compiling a list of Canadian cases dealing with charities, gifting and related issues.  Let us know if you have any other suggestions:

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September 14, 2015

Humber Fundraising Management Course “Ethical and Legal Issues”

Mark Blumberg will be team teaching, with Valerie Campbell and Sharilyn Hale, the Humber Fundraising Management Course "Ethical and Legal Issues".  It was previously taught by Ken Wyman so we will have big shoes to fill.    

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August 22, 2015

CRA posts “Advisory on partisan political activities” as the 2015 Federal election continues

The CRA has posted an "Advisory on partisan political activities" as a reminder to Canadian registered charities that they must avoid all partisan political activities, although they are allowed to conduct certain political activities related to their objects and within in certain resource limitations.

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July 31, 2015

Guindon v. Canada - SCC upholds third party civil penalties under the ITA

In the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision Guindon v. Canada - 2015 SCC 41 the SCC has upheld the third party civil penalties provided under the Income Tax Act.

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July 20, 2015

CRA revokes the registration of the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children

The CRA has revoked the Canadian Friends of Pearl Children for involvement with what CRA would term an abusive charity gifting tax scheme.  

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July 17, 2015

Tax Court of Canada dismisses appeal in Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII)

In Duggan v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 175 (CanLII), the appellant appealed the Minister's previous assessments which denied charitable credits that the appellant claimed in their 2007 and 2008 taxation years, with respect to charitable donations that were allegedly made. 

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May 31, 2015

CRA presentation to Finance Committee on terrorism

On March 26, 2015, Rick Stewart, Assistant Commissioner, Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch, of the Canada Revenue Agency, made a presentation to the Finance Committee on terrorism.  

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May 23, 2015

Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015)

Here is an article entitled Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015). It will be of interest to Canadian charities that are, or considering, operating outside of Canada.

May 21, 2015

Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

Over 5000 Canadian registered charities operate outside of Canada and they cumulatively spend around $3 billion per year on foreign activities.  The Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities is a 1/2 day presentation with charity lawyer Mark Blumberg which discusses international activities by Canadian charities and related regulatory issues.  The first Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities will be held on Tuesday September 22, 2015 from 1PM-4PM. Some charities operating abroad are not aware of, or compliant with, their legal requirements and foreign activities has been an area that has been scrutinized by CRA in its audits and can result in revocation of charitable status if the rules are not followed.

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May 21, 2015

Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities

The involvement of charities in political activities has been a major story since 2012. The 2012 Federal Budget introduced new reporting requirements for charities for 2013 but does not fundamentally affect the ability of charities to engage in political activities. Significant resources have been provided to the Charities Directorate to audit charities who conduct political activities. On Tuesday September 22, 2015 we will conduct a 1/2 day program from 9AM-12PM entitled Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities.  

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April 28, 2015

Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities [SOLD OUT]

Properly issuing official donation receipts has been challenging for many registered charities.  According to the CRA, 89% of registered charities that are audited are not correctly issuing official donation receipts.  Issuing incorrect receipts can result in revocation or penalties. It is easier to do it right than fix problems later! Here is a new half-day program from Blumbergs entitled "Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities".

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April 27, 2015

Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits

Blumbergs will be holding a half-day seminar on May13, 2015, Fundamentals of Employment Law for Charities and Non-Profits from 9AM-12PM.  

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April 24, 2015

Political Activity Audits and the CRA Program Update 2015

We have blogged about the CRA Program Update 2015 separately but wanted to focus here on what the update provides in terms of information on the political activity audits of CRA's Charities Directorate.  CRA should be commended for publishing a program update.  I am certainly not aware of any regulatory requirement that they need to, but the program update does provide useful information for the charity sector.  In the program update you have to read pretty far into the 5000 word document to see the "Charities and Political Activities" update but it is important so we have created a separate blog post. 

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April 17, 2015

Largest Canadian Registered Charities by Employment Compensation

We prepared an article on the largest Canadian charity employers.  The article is entitled "Largest Canadian Registered Charities by Employment Compensation"

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March 05, 2015

CRTC Issues its First Fine under CASL and it does not relate to a non-profit or charity

The CRTC issued its first CASL violation to Compu-Finder for four alleged violations occurring between July 2, 2014 and September 16, 2014. A penalty of $1.1 million dollars was imposed by the CRTC and Compu-Finder will have 30 days to submit written representations to the CRTC or pay the penalty. The alleged violations relate to commercial electronic messages sent by Compu-Finder without a recipient’s consent and without properly functioning unsubscribe mechanisms. According to the Spam Reporting Centre, complaints against Compu-Finder accounted for 26% of all complaints submitted in its industry sector. 

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February 25, 2015

Arthur v. The Queen - another case in which the TCC rejects receipts and sides with CRA

In Arthur v. The Queen, 2015 TCC 43, Juliet Arthur was appealing a reassessment made by CRA relating to two receipts.   The case provides a good summary of the cases dealing with lack of appropriate documentation for donations - especially when they are either cash or gifts in kind. The TCC dismissed the appeal with "Considering the evidence as a whole, I conclude that the appellant has not shown on a balance of probabilities that she made a charitable donation in the total amount of $3,529 to Emilia in 2006, even though a receipt was provided which purported to show that she had done so."

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Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?


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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