News

July 13, 2014

CRA revokes Jesus of Bethlehem Worship Centre as a charity - cites ineligible individuals

Finally.  It took more than 3 years but CRA has identified that it has revoked a charity for in part having "ineligible individuals" controlling the organization.  I was sure that I was going to die of old age before that ever happened!  Amongst a number of grounds CRA notes "The audit also revealed that the board of directors of the Organization includes “ineligible individuals” as defined in the Act. In particular, two directors of the Organization were directors of The Heaven’s Gate Healing Ministry at a time when it engaged in conduct which constituted a serious breach of the requirements for registration under the Act, for which its registration was revoked in 2009."

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July 11, 2014

Cathy Hawara’s speech on constitutional framework, political activities, compliance and IT

In May, Cathy Hawara, the Director General of the Charities Directorate delivered a speech which touches on a number of important issues such as the constitutional framework for charities, political activities by registered charities, independence of the regulator, compliance approach and IT modernization. It is well worth reading.  

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July 10, 2014

Canadian Charity Law Association webinars

The Canadian Charity Law Association is presenting some webinars.  For more information see: www.charitylawassociation.ca or https://www.facebook.com/CanadianCharityLawAssociation

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July 06, 2014

Number of continuances from the Canada Corporations Act to the CNCA

In October 2013 there were only 1800 continuances according to Industry Canada from the old CCA to the new CNCA.  That number has now jumped to  4175 corporations by May 31, 2014 and is probably higher over the last 5 weeks.   That being said there are about 19,000 Federal corporations and many clearly need to continue or face dissolution after October 17, 2014.  For registered charities dissolution will also eventually result in loss of registered charity status.   

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July 05, 2014

CRTC adds to CASL FAQ discussion of meaning of “primary purpose” to raise funds for reg. charities

The CRTC recently updated their FAQs to include a discussion of an exemption related to Canadian registered charities.   If a commercial electronic message (CEM) sent by a Canadian registered charity has the "primary purpose" of raising funds for the charity then that message will be exempt.  The CRTC definition of "primary purpose" is consistent with the ordinary meaning of "primary purpose" and not some other meanings that have been suggested by some.   The CRTC notes in their FAQ "The “primary purpose” of a CEM means the main reason or main purpose of the CEM. There could be a secondary or additional purpose to the message, but the principal purpose of the CEM must be to raise funds for the charity."  Some of the brief examples provided by the CRTC are not that clear.   

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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 27, 2014

CRTC releases “Guidelines to help businesses develop corporate compliance programs” for CASL

CRTC has recently released its "Guidelines to help businesses develop corporate compliance programs".  The CRTC is quite tentative in their Guidelines.   This we know.  The Guidelines are not legal advice, they are guidance and they "may" help facilitate legal compliance.  Each organization is different.  It is general guidance, not prescriptive and it is not exhaustive.  Reading all the caveats is exhausting.   The Guidelines provide some good 'motherhood and apple pie' type advice dealing with compliance issues such as CASL.  Although not geared for charities and non-profit much of the guidelines is equally helpful to charities and non-profits.  

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June 27, 2014

CRA letter on taxable benefits to employees and opting to forego a non-cash gift

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether an employee will realize a taxable benefit if the employee opts to forego a non-cash gift valued over $500 that he or she is otherwise entitled to and directs the employer to make a cash gift of a specified amount to a specified registered charity.

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June 27, 2014

CRA Letter on donations of fossils

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether the transfer of the custody of a fossil to a qualified donee can be considered a charitable gift. CRA concluded that this would be a question of both fact and law but there would need to be a transfer of property present.

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June 27, 2014

CRA letter on donations of ecogifts

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether the donation of a conservation easement by a landowner would be considered a gift for tax purposes. 

CRA provided general comments on ecological gifts. 

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June 26, 2014

Now Magazine “Men’s rights group used feminists’ names on charity application”

I never thought I would live to see the day.   Yes a popular magazine has a story that revolves around the T2050 - Application to Register a Charity Under the Income Tax Act.   Now Magazine has an article entitled "Men’s rights group used feminists’ names on charity application" in which it alleges that a registered charity may have put in a deceptive charity application to the Charities Directorate.  

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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

June 16, 2014

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and its impact on charities and non-profit organizations

On July 1, 2014 Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into force.   Here is a brief article describing some of the key points of CASL and how it will impact Canadian charities.

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June 11, 2014

Standing Committee on Finance invites Canadians to provide pre-budget submissions


The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has released a press release encouraging Canadian to share pre-budget proposals on six key themes.  

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June 09, 2014

Toronto Star article on national charity causes media focus today on charity sector

With the Toronto Star covering the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada there has been a media focus on the issue of overhead and how to select good charities.

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Topics: News

June 06, 2014

Ontario Ministry confirms delay of ONCA until 2016

The Ontario Ministry has provided an update on their website with respect to the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 ("ONCA") under 'ONCA: Frequently Asked Questions" which indicates that the ONCA is not expected to come into force before 2016. Initially there were discussions that the ONCA may come into force in 2015 but it appears that this is no longer the case.

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June 05, 2014

Narul Hassan vs. The Queen -fraudulent receipting and fraud upon the public

In Narul Hassan vs. The Queen it is another false receipting case.   "It appears almost certain that this program involved a fraud on the Canadian tax system, and therefore on the Canadian public. It is not clear to me whether Mr. Hassan was complicit or merely duped."

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June 05, 2014

UK government to bring in more protections for charities

In The Queen's Speech 2014 it notes the introduction of a bill to protect charities.

Here is a quote from The Queen's Speech 2014:

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June 04, 2014

David, R. et al. v. the Queen (TCC) - CRA files appeal

CRA has appealed the decision of David, R. et al. v. The Queen (TCC) to the Federal Court of Appeal. This case involved six separate appeals with respect to the disallowance of a tax credit by CRA for a purported charitable gift to CanAfrica International Foundation. The judge waived penalties and allowed the cash contribution of the individuals.

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May 30, 2014

SCC denies leave to appeal in Neville v. National Foundation for Christian Leadership

On May 29, 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in Neville v. National Foundation for Christian Leadership.   It was an application for leave to appeal the decision of the BCCA in January 2014.  

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May 30, 2014

Societies Act in Alberta is amended to allow continuances to/from other jurisdictions

On May 14, 2014, Alberta's Bill 12 - Statutes Amendment Act, 2014 received Royal Assent (it has not yet come into force). The Alberta Societies Act  which governs many not-for-profit corporations in Alberta is one of the statutes that was amended as a result of the Bill. There has been a significant amendment to the Societies Act which allows for not-for-profit organizations incorporated in Alberta to continue to other jurisdictions (such as the Federal Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA)) and allows for those not-for-profit organizations incorporated in other jurisdictions to continue in Alberta.

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May 27, 2014

CRA letter on Prescribed Prizes for Olympic Athletes

CRA recently released a letter which discusses whether cash prizes awarded to Olympic athletes should be taxed. CRA stated that a cash prize does not qualify as a prescribed prize and provided the following comments:

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May 23, 2014

Save the Date - October 15, 2014 - Blumbergs’ Charity Law Institute

On October 15, 2014 the Blumbergs Charity Law Institute will be held in Toronto.   

May 16, 2014

Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen - leave to appeal dismissed with costs by SCC on May 15

The Kathryn Kossow v. Her Majesty The Queen application for leave to appeal was dismissed with costs by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) on May 15, 2014.   The Federal Court of Appeal released its adverse decision against the taxpayers in December 2013. The taxpayers filed Leave to Appeal against this decision at the Supreme Court of Canada on March 7, 2014. Leave to Appeal was dismissed with costs on May 15, 2014.  Marechaux and Kossow are the two big decisions that the SCC has denied leave to appeal dealing with abusive charity gifting tax schemes.  

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May 10, 2014

Is CRA making registered charity applications harder?

Anecdotally, it feels like the charity application process has become harder.  We have before published stats on the registrations of Canadian registered charities by the Determinations section of the Charity Directorate and so I thought I would crunch some numbers. I compared 2008 to 2012.  In 2008 59% of applicants were registered compared to only 46% in 2012.   That is quite a big difference. Is this good or bad?

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Topics: News

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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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