What is the definition of a political activity for Canadian charities?

January 15, 2012 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA

Canadian charities often do not understand what is “political activities”.  Many think that political activities is either partisan activities or abusive mud slinging.  In fact many charities don’t understand the broad scope of political activities as understood by CRA and the Courts.

Here is an excerpt from CRA Guidance on Political Activities - CPS-022


“We presume an activity to be political if a charity:
1. explicitly communicates a call to political action (i.e., encourages the public to contact an elected representative or public official and urges them to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country);
2. explicitly communicates to the public that the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country should be retained (if the retention of the law, policy or decision is being reconsidered by a government), opposed, or changed; or
3. explicitly indicates in its materials (whether internal or external) that the intention of the activity is to incite, or organize to put pressure on, an elected representative or public official to retain, oppose, or change the law, policy, or decision of any level of government in Canada or a foreign country.”


Here is a link to CRA Guidance on Political Activities - CPS-022 http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-022-eng.html

As well here is a copy in PDF of the CRA Policy Statement on Political Activities by Canadian Charities CPS-022 - September 2, 2003 so that you can download it easily to your computer.

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

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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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