Global Giving

March 18, 2017

Australian charity commission to crack down on inappropriate political activities by charities

This recent article in The Guardian entitled Charity regulator to crack down on political advocacy after complaints discusses how the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has cracked down on certain political activities by charities in Australia and how the ACNC is asking for less secrecy and more transparency in dealing with charity compliance issues.

read more

March 16, 2017

FTC & NASCO Conference on Consumer Protection Issues and Charitable Solicitations - online/free

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are organizing a conference called "Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity" on Tuesday March 21, 2017.   It will be in Washington but it will be live streamed for free for those who are interested.  The live link will be available on the day of the conference.  

read more

March 11, 2017

IRFAN Canada makes application to Federal Court to remove terrorist designation

A number of Canadian charities have been revoked by CRA for supporting terrorism in addition to other concerns.  One of those organizations was The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) or IRFAN Canada.  It lost its charitable status in 2011.   Subsequently in 2014 it was added to the list of terrorist organizations maintained under the Criminal Code.   Apparently a request had been made by IRFAN Canada to the Minister of Public Safety to de-list the applicant from the list of terrorist organizations. On December 22, 2016, the Minister of Public Safety denied the request.  Now IRFAN Canada has made an application to Federal Court for judicial review to set aside the denial.

read more

March 04, 2017

Charity Commission concerned that “poor due diligence and monitoring put charity assets at risk”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently released an Inquiry Report on a UK charity that identified concerns with fundraising and foreign activities.  There were a number of concerns raised but perhaps most interesting is the discussion around due diligence and internal controls, and specifically "receipts, invoices or other documentation to support the project expenditure".   

read more

February 26, 2017

CRA updates information sheet for prescribed university applications

CRA recently updated their guidance with respect to becoming a prescribed university outside of Canada. There are about 600 foreign prescribed universities and they can issue official donation receipts similar to a Canadian registered charity.  The updated CRA publication (RC 191) includes some revisions to the information that CRA requires for applications for prescribed university status (eligibility criteria however has not changed). The main change is that CRA only asks for 5 years information on Canadian students at the foreign university and not 10 years as they had previously requested.  

read more

February 10, 2017

Charity Commission case report on charity political activity AND funding non-charity

The Charity Commission has released a case report that deals with political activities of a UK charity and also its funding of a non-charity.  This case report is interesting from a Canadian perspective as there have been people in Canada advocating for changes to the rules relating to Canadian charities and political activities and also "direction and control" by Canadian charities when they are providing resources to non-qualified donees (such as foreign organizations).  This particular case report covers both of these types of issues.

read more

January 30, 2017

Terrorist attack at mosque in Quebec City claims 6 lives

On Sunday January 29, 2017 there was a terrible tragedy in Quebec City. A right-wing terrorist massacred six people praying at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec and injured almost 20 others.  This is the worst terrorist attack in Canada in over 25 years.

read more

January 22, 2017

The second best Canadian registered charity transparency tool has been improved

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.

read more

January 16, 2017

Guidance for Professional Athletes considering Philanthropy in Canada

Kate Robertson and Mark Blumberg recently prepared an article, "Some thoughts on Professional Athletes and Philanthropy in Canada: Part 1" which provides helpful information and guidance for professional athletes and their trusted advisors who are exploring philanthropic options in Canada.  Part 2 of this article series will provide suggestions and tips for professional athletes on operating a successful Canadian registered charity.

December 28, 2016

Ignorance isn’t bliss for large registered charities anymore as CRA focuses audits on them

CRA uses a risk based approach to deciding which charities are to be audited. CRA a few months ago announced they are adjusting their audit strategy to focus more on larger Canadian registered charities. I guess someone in the past might had thought that smaller organizations, many without any staff, might be less legally compliant and they should be focused on. I guess someone now at the Charities Directorate has worked out that larger organizations have a large amount of resources, generally a lot more complexity and are more likely to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Income Tax Act and such non-compliance could affect much larger amounts of resources.

read more

December 27, 2016

What is a “development project” and how can this add further flexibility to foreign activities

CRA's Guidance CG-002, Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada discusses a "development project".  The guidance provides Canadian registered charities greater leeway in certain instances when conducting a "development project" to be able to hand over capital assets and immovable assets to a foreign non-qualified donee.  I have always thought that a development project would be carried out in what is referred to as the Global South/Third World/Developing Countries (the "South") and would be trying to reduce poverty, promote education, improve the environment, or improve access to health care to provide some examples.

read more

December 27, 2016

Charity Commission report into a former charity named REDAID -lots of lessons for Canadian charities

The Charity Commission of England and Wales recently published an Inquiry Report into a former charity named REDAID.  It is well worth reading.  In Canada, directors of registered charities sometimes focus too much on the Income Tax Act requirements of a charity and ignore or are unaware of their fiduciary obligations.  Directors of registered charities have fiduciary duties that in some cases can be at a much higher standard than that which is provided under the Income Tax Act.  

read more

December 26, 2016

Tides Canada closing international donation matching system with Tides US Foundation

Tides Canada quietly announced earlier this year that their international donation matching system between the Tides US and Tides Canada is being shutdown as of the end of this 2016 year.  The Tides mechanism was essentially a matching mechanism between Tides US foundation and the Tides Canada foundation.

read more

Topics: News | Global Giving

December 18, 2016

The Rodney Dangerfield of Canadian tax incentives

There is an amazing tax incentive available to Canadians.  Few people who are knowledgeable about charities want to discuss it. It just does not get any respect! I am referring to the ability of Canadians to donate to "foreign prescribed universities".  For a foreign university to be eligible to be on the list that university needs to be a university that typically has Canadian students studying there. Then once the university is on the list, the Canadian donor obtains the same tax benefits as if they donated to a Canadian university or registered charity even if they have never visited the university or even the country it is located in.

read more

November 10, 2016

Some thoughts on the Trump victory and its impact on Canadian nonprofits and charities

Topics: News | Global Giving

November 02, 2016

An ICN Webinar – CRA Regulations and the Political Activities of Charities

I am pleased to be co-presenting to the ICN a webinar on "CRA Regulations and the Political Activities of Charities".

read more

October 29, 2016

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014 - focus on Ontario registered 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.   

read more

September 30, 2016

List of foreign charities that have received a gift from Canada and are qualified donees

Currently there are only two organizations on the "List of foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".   They are the Aga Khan Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, both of which were off the list and now are on again.  No rhyme or reason why these groups are picked out of millions of foreign ngos.  Meanwhile Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, The Rhodes Trust, and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation are no longer on the list. Seriously this list needs a rethink and greater transparency.  

read more

September 15, 2016

Modernizing charity law in Canada is for now a Pandora’s box

The Liberal Government has made some noises about modernizing charity law.  Who could be opposed to modernization?  As there is no idea as to what "modernization" means, it has opened up all sorts of calls for changes to charity law in Canada - many of the ideas would be expensive, counterproductive, stifling, or ultimately destroy the positive reputation of the charity sector.  Wikipedia defines a Pandora's box as "a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something."  Although only time will tell, it appears that "modernizing charity law" has a small upside and a very large downside.  

read more

September 12, 2016

CRA media response on Canadian charities and funding or supporting terrorism

Here is a CRA document provided under access to information rules which includes their media response on Canadian charities and funding or supporting terrorism.  Not surprisingly because of the very limited scope for CRA to divulge information under the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada) there is little information divulged.  

read more

August 25, 2016

CharityVillage: “A national charity census: Mark Blumberg’s Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector”

August 12, 2016

Draft Guidance from the Charity Commission on “Grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has recently released a draft guidance on the types of controls English charities should be using when providing grants to non-English charities. 

read more

August 12, 2016

Bond article on increasing funding for local CSOs

Recently at the BOND website there was a good article on importance of funding local civil society organizations (CSOs) and how the mindset of some funders needs to change.   The Article is entitled "From rhetoric to reality – how do we move beyond intentions when it comes to funding local CSOs directly?"

read more

July 27, 2016

“Regulation of nonprofits in Israel”? with Ophir Katz in Toronto on September 6, 2016

In an invitation only event Blumbergs will have one of Israel’s top non-profit lawyers, Ophir Katz, of Ophir Katz & Co. Law offices, talking about the Israeli non-profit sector and the regulation of non-profits in Israel. Non-profits play a very important role in Israel. Canadian charities spend approximately $275 million in grants and programming in Israel and it is important that they understand the regulatory climate in Israel and the constraints and flexibility placed on various types of non-profits established and operating in Israel.

read more

Topics: News | Global Giving

June 28, 2016

New FATF Recommendations on non-profits avoiding terrorism and money laundering

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has updated The FATF Recommendations International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation.  The FATF is "an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The FATF Recommendations are recognised as the global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standard."  There were concerns about the non-profit recommendations and especially that Non-profit organisations are "particularly" vulnerable to abuse for the financing of terrorism. The phrase "particularly" has been removed.  The FATF changes that will probably be positively greeted by non-profit sector around the world. 

read more

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

Contact

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
Download vCard

Connect

Locate

Blumberg Segal LLP
Barristers & Solicitors
#1202 - 390 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2Y2 Canada

Charity Law List

Join Blumbergs' non-profit and charities newsletter
View recent issue: February 2017