Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities
Here is a Charities Directorate reminder to Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service dated July 23, 2012 about political activities. Canadian Mennonite has been complaining that CRA is trying to create a chill on charity political activities.
Apparently here are some articles that may have been of concern to CRA according to the Canadian Mennonite:
Various Canadian Mennonite articles dealing with political activities
I was interviewed today on CBC Radio about the Canadian Mennonite letter from CRA.
Here were some of the points that I made:
• The letter is a “reminder letter” - a warning from CRA
• Some of the editorials and articles according to CRA “appear” to promote opposition to a political party or to candidates for public office.
• Not questioning amount of political activity and not questioning vast majority of the political activity undertaken by Canadian Mennonite
• CRA questioning a few editorials and articles – personal attacks on certain candidates or encouragement to vote for one political party or another.
• Charity saying that it is not “endorsing candidates” or telling you how to vote – but glowing article on NDP and profiles on political volunteers – “NDPs values are most in line with her own”
• Consistent with CRA view that charities can do a lot of political activities. – but there are limits (type and percentage of resources and need to be non-partisan)
• Charities can carry on allowable political activities – related to objects, non-partisan and 10% or less of resources
• Establish non-profit rather than charity if feeling compelled to do partisan political activities or more than 10%.
• Politics – way currently practiced can be disgusting – don’t need to taint the charity sector with partisan bickering and expenditures
Here are some resources that may be helpful in terms of understanding how much a religious organization can do in terms of political activities:
CRA’s Draft Consultation on Proposed Guidance on Advancement of Religion as a Charitable Purpose
CRA’s Guidance on Political Activities
My blog on political activities and Canadian charities
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.