Not all public appeals are from registered charities. Sometimes these appeals are spontaneous in response to a disaster or tragedy. The Uniform Law Commission of Canada has circulated a consultation paper on the topic and the ULCC tries to encourage more uniform and better legislation across the country. Here is a copy of the consultation paper.
I received the following note in mid-July:
Re: Uniform Law Consultation- Informal Public Appeals
Accompanying this message is a Consultation Paper concerning informal public appeals—appeals for money that arise spontaneously when misfortune strikes an individual, a family or a community.
Despite the fact that those who spearhead such appeals and those who respond with donations do so with the best of motives, legal problems can emerge when events take an unforeseen turn. An example which arises frequently is when the appeal generates a surplus that can not be used or is not needed for its original purpose. How is the surplus to be dealt with?
The terms of the appeal may make provision for such events. But all too often they are poorly (if at all) documented. In that case, the appeal is governed by an anomalous and uncertain body of law that applies in default. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada proposes the creation of a rational legal framework to define a more appropriate default position. This is set out in the draft uniform legislation that forms part of the attached Consultation Paper.
Your comments and response are welcome. Please feel free to share the Paper with any other person or organization you think may be interested.
Arthur L. Close, Q.C.
Past President, ULCC
Here is some information on the ULCC: http://www.ulcc.ca/en/home/
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.