Canadian Charities Operating Abroad

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Global Philanthropy is Growing in Canada as World Shrinks

Here is a copy of my recent article Global Philanthropy Growing as World Shrinks which appeared in the CAGP Toronto 2008 Supplement Your Guide To Giving Back. 

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Global Philanthropy is growing in Canada, but remittances and investment rule

In this article I discuss the importance of remittances by Canadian residents to foreign countries. Canada is the third largest country in terms of remittances at $6.3 billion, after the US at $61B and the UK at $6.6B. The impact of these flows of funds can be substantial and the charitable sector should consider encouraging those who remit to donate to charities instead so that the funds can have a broad public purpose and be efficiently spent on long-term goals such as education.

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Imagine Canada’s new Ethics Code: Imagining a more ethical sector

Imagine has revised its Code of Ethics (or Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code) and in this article I review the changes and provide a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the Imagine Canada’s Code of Ethics.

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Informal Legal Audits of Canadian Charities and their Foreign Operations

The Globe & Mail article I referred to above on Canadian disaster relief charities not complying with the rules provides one of many illustrations of the importance of Canadian charities understanding and complying with CRA guidelines on Canadian charities operating outside of Canada. If you make it through this giving season with your fingers crossed and without any scrutiny then consider in the new year having a informal legal audit of your foreign activities. It is the best gift you can give to your charitable loved one!

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Legal Issues for Canadian Charities Conducting Foreign Activities and International Development

Here is a copy of a presentation I recently delivered to a number of Canadian charities in Ottawa entitled Legal Issues for Canadian Charities Conducting Foreign Activities and International Development

List of Foreign Countries and the Canadian Charities that operate in those countries (2005)

In these files we list every country and the individual Canadian charities that operate in those countries according to the 2005 T3010 information.  By providing this information charities and donors will be aware of which organizations operate in each country.  This will assist charities interested in beginning a new operation to identify a source of information on a particular country or perhaps to partner with that Canadian charity instead of going it alone.  Although the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) has a good map on its website (http://www.ccic.ca/) with information on which countries each of its members operate in, the map only covers their 100 or so members and not the 12,000 or so other organizations that operate outside of Canada.

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List of Foreign Countries and the Number of Canadian Charities that operate in each country (2004)

This brief article looks at how many Canadian Charities operate in each foreign country. The Top Five countries of operation are the United States (964), Mexico (423), India (356), Haiti (285) and the Philippines (191). It is no surprise that the US is number 1 as many charities are involved with US charitable activities or use US agents, although some of the other rankings are interesting.

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Lobbying and Canadian Non-Profits and Charities: To register or not to register

On July 2, 2008 the Lobbying Act came into force and many non-profits and charities are completely unaware of its existence or its effect on their activities.  Lobbying is defined broadly under s. 7 of the Lobbying Act and includes the development of any legislative proposal by the Federal Government, or lobbying on the passage, defeat or amendment of any bill or resolution, advocating for amendments to any regulation, “the development or amendment of any policy or program of the Government of Canada”, or “the awarding of any grant, contribution or other financial benefit by or on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada”. Canadian non-profits and charities that do political advocacy or lobbying with the federal government need to consider whether their activities fall within the requirement to register under the Lobbying Act.  This article may be helpful in understanding whether a charity or non-profit must register.

Lobbying and Canadian Charities: To register or not to register

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Model Contractor Agreement for a Canadian Registered Charity Carrying Out Foreign Activities

Here is a sample contractor agreement for a Canadian registered charity conducting foreign activities I prepared it for the Capacity Builders Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) in order to assist charities with understanding what such an agreement could look like.

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New Guidance for Canadian Registered Charities Carrying out Foreign Activities

CRA has just released a new guidance called “Canadian Registered Charities Carrying out Activities Outside Canada”.    Although the name indicates “foreign activities” this document deals with a lot more than foreign activities.  It covers the relationship between a Canadian charity and any non-qualified donee, whether in Canada or abroad.  If a Canadian charity has dealing with, for example, a non-profit that does not have charitable status then the same rules apply as a Canadian charity dealing with a foreign entity.  Essentially, almost all organizations outside of Canada are non-qualified donees.  If you are going to transfer resources to them you need to maintain “direction and control” over those resources.  This document helps a Canadian charity understand what is required for direction and control. Failure to maintain direction and control can result in a 105% penalty of the amount transferred and/or revocation of charitable status.

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Planned Giving in a Global World - CAGP Annual Conference April 2008

Planned Giving in a Global World is my presentation at the CAGP national convention about Planned Giving by Canadian charities for projects outside of Canada. The description of the presentation was “In this session, we will discuss basic information that a planned giving officer needs to know to allow for planned gifts in support of charitable activities outside of Canada. Topics will include the legal requirements and restrictions for Canadian charities operating abroad; examples of charities losing their status for non-compliance with CRA requirements; different organizational models for charities operating abroad; common mistakes and concerns with charities operating outside of Canada; and an overview of recent developments and flexibility in charities operating abroad.”

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Planned Giving Internationally in “Your Guide to Charitable Giving and Estate Planning”.

This article discusses a Canadian legal perspective on Planned Giving Internationally. It was written by Mark Blumberg and recently appeared in “Your Guide to Charitable Giving and Estate Planning”, a supplement that appeared in the Globe and Mail on Friday May 11, 2007 and was produced by the Greater Toronto Area Roundtable of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners.

Requirements for Canadian Federal Non-profit Corporations that do NOT have charitable status

Canadian non-profits that do NOT have charitable status have their own legal requirements, which are different from those of registered charities.  Such non-profits generally have greater flexibility in terms of activities, however, they do not have some of the advantages of registered charity status, such as the ability to issue tax receipts.

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Structured Arrangement versus Conduit for Canadian Charities and Foreign Activities

This article discusses the difference between an acceptable intermediary relationship between a Canadian charity and a foreign charity or NGO (a structured arrangement) and an unacceptable arrangement such as a conduit.

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T3010 - Canadian Charities - Please File your T3010 on time!

This article discusses the T3010 and the importance of filing it accurately and on time.

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Ten Most Useful Features of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate Website

The title is self-explanatory.  CRA’s website is a valuable resource for anyone involved with charities.  As a charity lawyer I am at the website daily and encourage others to make use of the material and information. Here are my thoughts on the Ten Most Useful Features of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Charities Directorate Website

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Top Canadian Charities Operating Outside of Canada (2005) - Another dramatic increase

12,320 Canadian registered charities spent over $2.1 billion outside of Canada in 2005.  The details are provided.

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Top Ten Canadian Charity Law Issues by Mark Blumberg

So much is written about legal issues relating to charities in Canada. In this article I try to distill the ten most important things you need to know about charity law in Canada.

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Updated Canadian Registered Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg

Here is an updated version of the Canadian Charity Legal Checklist.  For those who are interested in reviewing legal compliance for their registered charity they may find the checklist helpful.  

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Which Canadian charities spent money on foreign activities and how much did they spend?

We recently reviewed the T3010 information for 2011 relating to foreign activities. The database was prepared by the Charities Directorate of CRA in September 2012 and covers about 81,000 charities (94% of Canadian registered charities) and their 2011 T3010 returns. We reviewed the Canadian charities that identified they did foreign activities through funding projects abroad (approximately 5200 charities identified spending funds abroad and only about 3550 spent over $10,000. We also list which identified they received CIDA funding and how much was spent on those arrangements. Finally, we list the amount of gift in kinds that charities issued receipts for which they may or may not have shipped abroad

Why Canadian donors have low levels of trust for Canadian international development charities?

An Ipsos Reid poll suggests that Canadian donors have low levels of trust of “international development” charities.  This article will attempt to explain why and suggest how to increase levels of trust.

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

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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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