Global Giving

November 24, 2014

CRA adds another US charity to list of qualified donees that received gift from Canada

As we have noted before the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada" had lost all of its charities.  Then the "Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation" was added and now the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars has been added.  Both were previously on the list.  

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November 18, 2014

DFATD Call for proposals for $370 million in funding for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Groups interested in international development and humanitarian assistance may want to review the new call for proposals from the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).  

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Topics: News | Global Giving | CIDA

October 28, 2014

Blumbergs’ Ontario Charity Sector Snapshot 2012

Here is the Blumbergs' Ontario Charity Sector Snapshot 2012.   For those who are interested in the size and scope of the Ontario registered charity sector you may find it interesting.   We have taken a subset of the 2012 T3010 data to look at only registered charities based in Ontario.

October 24, 2014

CRA adds “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation” to list of Canadian qualified donees

Recently the Globe and Mail had a story entitled  “Canada Revenue Agency delists foreign charities”.   CRA has recently added the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  So we have gone from no foreign charities on the list to one foreign charity on the list.   The qualified donee status is effective from 2013-11-07 to 2015-11-07.  Canadian donors can gift funds to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and receive an official donation receipt.  Furthermore, Canadian charities can make gifts to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.    

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October 08, 2014

Taxpayers’ Ombudsman releases major report “Donor Beware” on charity gifting tax shelter schemes

I was delighted to read a publication "Donor Beware: Investigation into the sufficiency of the Canada Revenue Agency's warnings about questionable tax shelter schemes".  The special report was prepared in December 2013 by J. Paul Dubé, the Taxpayers' Ombudsman.  The 39 page report rips into charitable gifting tax shelters.  Although it is generally very positive about the work of CRA in trying to educate taxpayers and denying the tax credits it does make some recommendations for CRA to increase educational efforts to donors on the dangers of these schemes.  I was quite pleasantly surprised that there were a number of references to articles I have written or websites that I edit.

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September 17, 2014

Webinar “Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities”

I will be delivering a webinar for the Canadian Charity Law Association entitled "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".  It is free but you need to register.

Here is a link to the registration page for "Foreign Activities 101: Introduction to Canadian charities carrying out foreign activities".

For other Canadian Charity Law Association webinars see:  http://ow.ly/BCWG0 

September 12, 2014

Imoh v. The Queen - another false receipting case

Did Mr. Imoh give charitable donations of 45,000, in cash, to Revival Time Ministries International over 3 years? Did Mr. Bello give $15,000 to the same charity?   This is the crux of the case.  You can read about Revival Time Ministries International's revocation by CRA here.  (As an aside and outside the scope of charity law you can read about allegations of sexual assault here.)   Far from having poor records or no records the charity produced some Canadian bank statements which the charity seemed to prepare for itself.  I did not know that you can prepare your own bank statements but I learn a new thing everyday!  This case really enhanced my understanding of charity law in Canada!

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August 19, 2014

Globe and Mail “Canada Revenue Agency delists foreign charities”

Jeff Gray recently wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail on a quirky category of foreign charities who are given qualified donee status by virtue of being on the "List of registered foreign charitable organizations that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  I have been getting calls from Canadian charities that conduct foreign activities and professional advisors wondering whether this has any impact on them.   The short answer is no.  

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July 01, 2014

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2012

We have just released the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2012.  The Canadian charity sector has grown again.   The Canadian charity sector is a vital part of Canadian society and economy with revenue of over $223 billion and expenditures of about $218 billion.

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June 21, 2014

Understanding remittances from Canada - the US$24 billion question

Remittances from Canada are important.   Remittances are defined by Wikipedia as "A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in his or her home country."   Some of those countries are developing world countries and these remittances are important in helping families and friends with the cost of living, education etc.   

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Topics: News | Global Giving

April 30, 2014

IRFAN - Canada court documents shed light on different positions

Here are some documents from the Federal Court of Appeal file dealing with IRFAN- Canada.   These documents were filed prior to IRFAN-Canada being placed on the Canadian government's list of "listed entities".

April 29, 2014

IRFAN added to Canadian governments list of “listed entities”

The Globe and Mail this morning had an article on the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy – Canada which is also known as IRFAN – Canada.  CRA had revoked the charitable status of IRFAN - Canada.   IRFAN - Canada is appealing that decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.  Today the Canadian government in the Canada Gazette added IRFAN - Canada as a "listed entity".   We have posted material on IRFAN - Canada before including the letters to IRFAN - Canada from the CRA with respect to the CRA's concerns.   It will be interesting to see how this story develops and the status of the appeal.

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April 26, 2014

World Giving Index ranks Canada #2

The Charities Aid Foundation in the UK has been publishing a World Giving Index for a number of years.   It compares donations, volunteering and helping strangers in about 130 countries.   Overall Canada comes in 2nd.   Although such an endeavour is quite subjective, it is certainly better than trying to equate donations on a tax form with "generosity".  

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Topics: News | Global Giving

March 24, 2014

Finance releases Legislative Proposals Notice of Ways and Means for February 11, 2014 budget

The Department of Finance has released the "Notice of Ways and Means Motion to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and other measures and Explanatory Notes". Some of the provisions were announced in the Budget such as changes to ecological gifts, cultural property, charity parking, gifts from the Iranian and Syrian government (and agents). 

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March 15, 2014

Some historical CRA letters when revocation of charity status

For a number of years we have been providing the public with copies of CRA revocation letters.  These letters set out the CRA reasons for revocation of charitable status when CRA is alleging cause.  We recently requested from CRA some of the older revocation letters and we have posted them below.  It is interesting to see the difference between the current reasons for revocation and those from quite a few years ago. 

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February 24, 2014

Charity Commission alert warning charities about Syrian aid convoys and terrorism

The Charity Commission of England and Wales notes that “There is genuine and desperate need for humanitarian assistance to help people affected by the conflict in Syria. UK charities and their partners are playing an important role in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria and neighbouring countries.”  However, they discuss how the use of aid convoys has and can be used to facilitate the travel of “foreign fighters” and the resources of the charity can be missapplied to non-charitable purposes.  The Charity Commission provides a number of suggestions which could also be relevant to Canadian charities.  Canadian charities might also find helpful the CRA’s checklist on avoiding involvement with terrorism.

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February 10, 2014

2014 Federal Budget and its Impact on Canadian Charities

Today Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the Canadian Federal Budget 2014.  The budget had a large number of provisions dealing with non-profits and charities. Here are some excerpts from the Federal Budget in one PDF document.    Overall I was very pleased with the provisions of the budget dealing with charities.

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February 07, 2014

G&M “Budget will include measures to expose links between charities and crime, Flaherty says”

In a Globe and Mail article entitled “Budget will include measures to expose links between charities and crime, Flaherty says” there is a discussion of potential items affecting charities in the 2014 Federal Budget set to be delivered on February 11, 2014.

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December 19, 2013

CRA requests “Donate wisely this holiday season!”

CRA is putting out better notices on donating wisely.  I particularly like this advice “Get to know the charity.” Start by visiting the charity’s website to learn about its activities and how it’s managed. You can also review its financial information and activities by looking at its information returns using the CRA’s Charity Quick View at www.cra.gc.ca/charitylists. One of the best ways to learn about a charity is to volunteer.”

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November 12, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan - Canadian charities respond to humanitarian crisis

The Humanitarian Coalition has launched an appeal for Typhoon Haiyan which has killed many people in the Philippines and left many homeless.  “The Humanitarian Coalition is a joint appeal mechanism. It is comprised of CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada and Save the Children. With a combined presence in more than 120 countries, we bring together Canada’s leading aid agencies to finance relief efforts in times of international humanitarian crises. We work together to eliminate unnecessary competition, reduce the duplication of fundraising costs, and inform the public on humanitarian needs.” DFATD has announced a matching fund for donations for Typhoon Haiyan.  There are approximately 620,000 Canadians of Filipino descent in Canada.  Many of them regularly send funds back to family and friends as remittances.  Many will also respond to this typhoon by sending funds home.  While remittances are not a charitable donation and do not receive any tax support from the Canadian government, they can be tremendously beneficial.  In fact all Canadian international philanthropy is $3 billion per year, while remittances to developing countries are around $15 billion per year. I will discuss further below.

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November 10, 2013

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2011

We recently reviewed the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return database for 2011 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project.  We provided an overview of the whole charity sector in the Blumbergs’ Charity Sector Snapshot 2011.  We have taken a subset of the 2011 T3010 data to look at only registered charities based in Ontario.  This article provides a snapshot of the registered charity sector in Ontario based on the 2011 T3010 filings.  Here is a PDF of the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2011.

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October 23, 2013

Canadian Charities and CSR in the New DFATD World

Here is a presentation that I delivered to the Canada Southern Africa Chamber of Business’ 11th Risk Mitigation and & CSR Seminar entitled Canadian Charities and CSR in the New DFATD World

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October 11, 2013

Class Action Lawsuit Against CEAF and OACSS over tax receipting program for Christian schools

The Hamilton law firm Scarfone Hawkins has just filed another charity class action lawsuit.  The case is Terry Emms vs.  Christian Economic Assistance Foundation and Ontario Alliance of Christian School Societies.  The case essentially deals with the Christian Economic Assistance Foundation (CEAF) School Support Program (SSP).  CEAF was a registered charity that was recently revoked by CRA.  A large number of Christian schools had apparently participated in the program.

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October 10, 2013

Hall v. The Queen - donation to Scientology does not result in tax deduction in Canada

Scientology is not considered a registered charity in Canada.  If an individual donates to Scientology they will not receive an official donation receipt in Canada.  In Hall v. The Queen, Mr. Hall donated money to the International Association of Scientologists (“IAS”) and argued that the fact that he did not get a tax benefit is a violation of his Charter rights.  Justice Pizzitelli of the Tax Court of Canada dismissed Mr. Hall’s appeal.  It is interesting that in the decision it notes “... IAS is not a registered Charity in Canada nor apparently even applied to be.”  Apparently Scientology has in the past tried to obtain registered charity status but CRA declined their application.

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October 05, 2013

Federal Court of Appeal deals with motion by IRFAN

International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) (“IRFAN”) was revoked for cause in 2011.  Previously we had provided copies of the CRA letters outlining in quite a large amount of detail the concerns CRA had with IRFAN.  A few months ago IRFAN appealed the revocation and over the summer there was a procedural motion brought before the FCA.  The FCA notes “In its appeal, the appellant alleges that the Minister abused her discretion and acted unreasonably, in a procedurally unfair manner, and with a closed mind. The appellant also alleges that the Minister’s decision violates sections 2 and 15 of the Charter by violating its “associational rights with partner organizations abroad and charitable contributing communities and individuals in Canada” and its equality rights.”  IRFAN asked that certain allegedly “fresh” evidence should be allowed in the appeal and the FCA rejected that demand.

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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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