Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - October 2010
1) Upcoming Charity Law Seminars across Canada with Mark Blumberg or CLIP
It is important that Canadian charities understand their legal responsibilities. Here are some of the upcoming charity law seminars I will be presenting across Canada through the Charity Law Information Program (CLIP). The seminars will cover top legal issues, fundraising regulation and appropriate/inappropriate receipting practices. A full day session is only $40 - great value for charities, their staff and members of the board of directors who want to understand compliance obligations and the upcoming seminars will be in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Kingston, Regina, and Saskatoon.
2) AFP Note on Workshop Series: Understanding the Canada Revenue Agency’s Fundraising Guidance
Here is a note from Ken Mayhew, AFP Canadian Government Relations Committee Chair, on some upcoming workshops put on by the Charity Law Information Project (CLIP).
3) Some praise for Mark Blumberg’s workshops on Canadian charity law issues
Here are some comments from attendees to my recent presentations on receipting and fundraising. Honestly, I did not make this stuff up!
4) Toronto Star article “Charity boss hires own firm to fundraise” raises fundraising ethical issues
Here is an interesting article by Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star entitled “Charity boss hires own firm to fundraise” in which he describes some of the dealings at the Oshawa Hospital Foundation. There is also a response by the Oshawa Hospital Foundation to the article and my comments on the story.
5) CBC reports that “Charities paid $762M to private fundraisers”
Here is an article on CBC today entitled “Charities paid $762M to private fundraisers”. It looks at third party paid fundraising costs and I have many comments on the coverage.
6) 4th Annual Risk Mitigation & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Africa and Emerging Markets
For-profit businesses are increasingly interested in corporate social responsibility and often working with charities is an avenue in achieving a business’s CSR goals. I will be presenting at the 4th Annual Risk Mitigation & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Africa and Emerging Markets conference in Toronto. My topic will be “Selecting and Working with Canadian Charities as CSR Partners”.
7) William J. Clinton Foundation has been added as a Canadian qualified donee in IC84-3R
The “William J. Clinton Foundation” has been added as a qualified donee in the “Attachment to IC84-3R, Gifts to Certain Charitable Organizations Outside Canada”.
8) Submission “Canadians demand more transparency in non-profit and charitable sector”
Here is a Pre-Budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance entitled “Canadians demand more transparency in non-profit and charitable sector” that I prepared for Blumberg Segal LLP. Parliament through Bill C-470 is looking at some very misguided disclosure initiatives - perhaps they should rather tackle a few easy big problems that will not cost anything.
9) Debunking Charity Salary Myths - Canadian charities and compensation
Here is an excerpt from an article entitled “Debunking Charity Salary Myths” from the American Institute of Philanthropy. This article is particularly relevant to the discussions in Canada about what is appropriate compensation for non-profit employees and Bill C-470. The American Institute of Philanthropy is a tough US charity watchdog. Also I have placed an excerpt from an Imagine Canada document dealing with upcoming human resource issues in the voluntary sector.
10) CICA Criticizes Bill 470 on salary caps for Canadian registered charities
The Not-for-Profit Organizations Task Force of the Risk Oversight and Governance Board of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants has released a submission on Bill C-470. Here is the full submission http://www.rogb.ca/npo/npo-directors-series/columns-and-commentaries/item43514.pdf and also below are the summary and conclusion. The moral of the story I think is that there is nothing redeeming about this flawed piece of legislation. Can someone please show me one organization that knows anything about the charitable sector who supports this nonsense.
11) Lang & O’Leary Exchange deals with charity tax shelters - interview with Mark Blumberg
On September 15, 2010 I appeared on the Lang & O’Leary Exchange to discuss charity gifting tax shelters and the ongoing CRA crackdown with ‘dragon’ Kevin O’Leary and Amanda Lang. Here is a link to the CBC site with the interview.
12) Article in Winnipeg Free Press “Make sure tax shelter doesn’t break CRA rules” by David Christianson
If you are a bit greedy and thinking of investing in charity gifting tax shelters here is a good article in the Winnipeg Free Press by David Christianson that is worth reading entitled “Make sure tax shelter doesn’t break CRA rules”.
13) Paul Waldie’s article “Gifting tax audits ensnare 170,000 Canadians” is most read story on ROB
Here is a very good article by Paul Waldie entitled “Gifting tax audits ensnare 170,000 Canadians”. The week it came out it was that week’s most read story at reportonbusiness.com. It is well worth reading. The comments afterward are the normal i.e. everything from interesting to outrageous. This article has certainly put some light on the issue of abusive charity tax shelters.
14) Edmonton Journal article on charity tax shelter Fight Aids Save Taxes (FAST) -“sketchy scheme”
An article appeared in the Edmonton Journal October 4, 2010 entitled “Charity tax-avoidance scheme entices many: Those trying to save money with such shelters are ‘damn fools’: lawyer”. The article refers to “slick” promoters “Participants are lured by the prospect of saving money and helping AIDS-stricken people in Third World countries.” He notes that details of the charitable activities are “sketchy”. One participant “concedes he is participating in the tax shelter against the advice of his accountant.” Not a great article but one charity lawyer describes any investor in these schemes as “damn fools” - hard to argue with that but let us not forget that some of the people setting up these schemes, preparing opinion letters for them, defending them in court, marketing and referring people to them
etc. are in many cases lawyers, accountants, financial advisors who are taking advantage of people, manipulating them, and relying on the fact that there will always be some people who “damn fools”.
15) Toronto tax preparer pleads guilty in tax fraud scheme involving false donation receipts
Here is a CRA press release on a Toronto tax preparer who has pled guilty in a tax fraud scheme involving false donation receipts.
16) Canada cracks down on unreported offshore account holders -major problem for HSBC
Here is a press release from the CRA entitled “Canada cracks down on unreported offshore account holders”. You might wonder ‘what does this have to do with charities?’ Well we all know that offshore accounts in some tax havens (“secrecy jurisdictions”) are used for tax evasion purposes. This is a problem for Canada. But in fact it is a far bigger problem for developing countries. Some wealthy people and corporations operating in developing countries use tax havens to avoid paying taxes and the developing countries do not have the same well resourced taxing authorities like we have in Canada or the US in the IRS. Western countries think they are generous by giving foreign aid - but in fact did you know that about 7 times more money leaves developing countries than the total of all foreign aid? In other words if we crack down on the tax havens it
could be far more helpful to developing countries than foreign aid.
17) Papers from Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation on CIDA
Those interested in CIDA may find these 4 papers from the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation interesting.
18) Understanding CIDA’s Matching Funds for Pakistan Flood Relief Fund - an article by Mark Blumberg
The recent floods in Pakistan have resulted in CIDA setting up a matching fund and here is my article entitled Understanding CIDA’s Matching Funds for Pakistan Flood Relief Fund.
19) CIDA’s advice on ensuring that your donation to flood relief in Pakistan is spent well
In CIDA’s Frequently Asked Questions on the Pakistan flooding here is the CIDA advice on picking a good charity to donate to. Also, CIDA correctly discourages in kind gifts in favour of cash.
20) CIDA releases Report to Parliament on Canada’s Official Development Assistance 2009-2010
Here is CIDA’s “Report to Parliament on the Government of Canada’s Official Development Assistance 2009-2010”. It is 47 pages long and provides some details on Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) or “foreign aid” activities. This is the second report under the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act.
21) New Federal Lobbying Act rules will affect Canadian charities who lobby Canadian government
Recently, the Canadian government announced changes to the Canadian Federal Lobbying Act to include “all members of Parliament, senators and senior staff in the offices of the Leader of the Opposition, both in the House of Commons and the Senate” as designated public office holders (DPOHs). Charities that are registered and have contact with such DPOHs will need to report such contact in their monthly returns.
22) AHP confirms that situation in US and Canada very different for hospital fundraising
“Charitable Giving for U.S. Health Care Plunged 11 Percent in 2009, While Canadian Charitable Giving Rose 5.2 Percent, Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Reports”. Nice to see that someone recognizes that sometimes things are a little different in Canada! We are not a US state and you cannot do analysis by just looking at the US and dividing by 10.
23) Imagine Canada Provincial Forum in Toronto - October 29, 2010
Here is a note from Imagine Canada on its upcoming Forum with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The event costs $85. Here is the agenda. http://www.imaginecanada.ca/files/www/en/publicpolicy/participants_agenda_ontario.pdf
24) Charities Directorate releases “Charities Connection No. 4 – September 2010” - great stats, etc.
The Charities Directorate released “Charities Connection No. 4 – September 2010”. In addition to having some very interesting statistics on the Charities Directorate it also covers educational programs for charities and donor as well as new pages on revocation. Here is the link:
25) Registered Charities in Canada presentation by Cathy Hawara to the ABA Section of Taxation 2010
Here is a copy of a PowerPoint slide presentation from the Acting Director General of the Charities Directorate, Cathy Hawara, on Registered Charities in Canada.
26) How to effectively donate to a Canadian charity - some suggestions from a charity lawyer
The charity sector provides vital services and support in communities all over Canada. Here are a few tips to consider when donating to a Canadian registered charity. Hopefully this is helpful - but there is no science to donating - and I expect that not everyone will agree with the thoughts and this is a work in progress.
27) HST for Ontario and British Columbia – Questions and Answers for Public Service Bodies
CRA just released a 22-page notice entitled “Harmonized Sales Tax for Ontario and British Columbia –Questions and Answers for Public Service Bodies”. The notice is at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gi/notice253/README.html
28) CRA adds new topic to Applying for registration section: Charitable activities outside Canada
CRA has added another page to the Applying for registration section of their website dealing with registered charities applying for registration who will be conducting foreign activities. This page gives a good summary of the rules surrounding foreign activities by Canadian charities but any charity or proposed charity contemplating foreign activities should also look at the links especially CRA’s new guidance on foreign activities.
29) US 2010 NAAG/NASCO Conferences -Nonprofit Regulatory Challenges During Tough Times
The US National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) and the US National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) will be having a conference in October on the subject of “Charities and Regulators: Doing More With Less During Hard Economic Times”.
30) RC317-e CRA guideline on Reporting expenditures by Registered Charities
If you have ever been confused about which expenses are charitable and which administration/management or fundraising when you complete the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return you may find this document helpful: RC317-e CRA guideline on Reporting expenditures by Registered Charities.
31) Finance Explanatory Notes on Charity provisions in Income Tax Act
Finance has released “Explanatory Notes in Respect of Legislative Proposals Relating to the Income Tax Act and Related Acts and Regulations”. Beginning on page 189 it has information on changes relating to charities which are reproduced here.
Here are my upcoming Charity Law Seminars across Canada with CLIP.
I am going to be involved with a number of informal “Charity Chats” over the next few months. For more information see: www.globalphilanthropy.ca
Here are two workshops in Ottawa that I will be presenting on 1) Top CRA Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charities and their Directors and 2) Foreign Activities by Canadian Charities: CRA’s new Guidance on Activities Outside of Canada for Canadian Registered Charitieshttp://www.volunteerottawa.ca/vo-clean/index.php?/eng/membership_services/workshops_training/legal_workshop_double_header
I will be doing a number of programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) including on Top Compliance Issues - Registered Charities, Directors, CAs; Charity Fundraising and Receipting Rules and Recent Legal Developments Affecting Registered Charities.
Here are Mark’s programs for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in Fall 2010.
Here is information on some upcoming presentations I am doing with the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario on Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Registered Charities and their Directors in the GTA including Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, in London, and in Ottawa.
At the upcoming 2010 AFP Greater Toronto Congress I will be involved with 2 presentations http://www.afptoronto.org/index.php/congress
1) “Top 20 Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian Fundraisers”
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 9:00AM - 12:30PM
Speaker - Mark Blumberg
2) The Great Debate: Charity Ratios and Ranking Thursday, December 2, 2010 9:00AM - 11:45AM
Speakers - Dan Pallotta, Author/ Founder of Pallotta Teamworks, Mark Blumberg, Blumberg Segal LLP, Ken Mayhew, Chief Development Officer, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Susan Storey CFRE, Vice President, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)
The last month has been very busy - in one week did lecturing in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. Provided 8 workshops and 30 hours of lecturing in a week - will not do that again!
Gave 2 presentations to the OCIC Global Citizens Forum in Toronto Oct 14 and 15, 2010.
Delivered a number of Workshops on Foreign Activities by Canadian charities in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg
Conducted a “Charity Chat” with Ken Mayhew, Chief Development Officer, MS Society of Canada, and Chair, Association of Fundraising Professionals Government Relations Committee, on “Media Coverage of Charities and Fundraising Rules” on October 22, 2010.
I delivered a presentation at the Due Diligence or Die: Investment Committee Governance - A Foundation Investment Forum (London) October 19, 2010. My presentation was on “Charity Gifting Tax Shelters: From Tax Avoidance to Tax Evasion and Fraud”.
I hope that you found the above material helpful and please feel free to forward the e-mail newsletter to anyone you think may be interested. They can also sign up for the BLUMBERGS non-profit and charities law newsletter at http://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/index.php/pages/subscribe/
For further information on legal resources for Canadian Non-Profits and Charities please visit www.canadiancharitylaw.ca or www.globalphilanthropy.ca
If you are on Twitter you might want to follow me at: http://twitter.com/canadiancharity Surprisingly I now have about 436 followers on Twitter.
If you want general information on registered charities in Canada you might find the archived webinars that were prepared for the Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) of Capacity Builders helpful http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/comments/webinars_on_canadian_charity_law_-_charity_law_information_program_clip_by_/
Mark Blumberg, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., TEP
Blumberg Segal LLP
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