Canadian Charity Law

February 25, 2009

OECD Report on Abuse of Charities for Money Laundering and Tax Evasion - Canada does very poorly

The OECD Report on Abuse of Charities for Money Laundering and Tax Evasion is well worth reading for anyone who cares about the Canadian charitable sector.  On my quick read of the report it seems that Canada has probably more charity tax evasion than any other country.  The complete report is at: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/30/20/42232037.pdf I will be writing an article on the ethics of professional advisors, especially charity lawyers, being involved with advising and defending charity tax evasion schemes.

February 23, 2009

T3010B - New CRA Canadian Charity Information Return for 2009

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency has revised their form T3010A with a new form called the T3010B, and it is supposed to be used by Canadian charities for fiscal years ending in 2009.

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February 21, 2009

Millennium Charitable Foundation Case - Federal Court (FCA) not impressed with charity tax shelters

The Millennium Charitable Foundation Case deals with abusive charitable gifting schemes.  The Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) sided with CRA in this matter.  It is well worth reading for anyone concerned with the charity sector.

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February 20, 2009

Scaremongering charities in a recession is not helpful - Canwest should improve coverage

In this article, I look at and criticize a sensationalist and inaccurate article in the Ottawa Citizen entitled “Downturn will sink 10,000 non-profits: think-tank:  ‘We’re just beginning to see blood in the pool,’ expert warns”.

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February 15, 2009

Canadian charities and pharmaceutical donations -some ethical issues

There are many legal and ethical issues with the donation of pharmaceuticals to developing countries.  In this note I will touch upon some of the ethical issues.

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February 13, 2009

Research Paper “Global Philanthropy and International Cooperation: A Guide to Trends and Issues”

Here is a research paper prepared by Betty Plewes for the CCIC entitled “Global Philanthropy and International Cooperation: A Guide to Trends and Issues. ” 
http://www.ccic.ca/e/docs/002_voluntary_2008-12_philanthropy_article.pdf

February 12, 2009

Workshop on Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies (MSEE), and Crises- by CIDA and STC

This CIDA and Save the Children Canada workshop sounds really interesting on “Understanding and Using the Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies (MSEE), Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction.”

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February 08, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate Update November 2009

This CRA Charities Directorate Update presented in November 2009 provides some interesting information and statistics on compliance issues for the sector.

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February 07, 2009

Canadian Charity Donation Tax Shelters Make No Financial Sense - or any other sense

February 04, 2009

Charities and the Do Not Call List - Yes Charities Must Register who telemarket

Since September 30, 2008 charities who telemarket must register.  The Federal government recently rejected an attempt by AFP and Imagine Canada to exempt charities from any registration requirement.  Here is my article on the Do Not Call List (DNCL) and Canadian charities.

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February 01, 2009

Political Activities and Canadian Charities -Some CRA Policies and letters on political activities

Most of CRA’s view on political activities by Canadian charities can be found in Policy Statement CPS-022 Political Activities. (see Political Activities (CPS - 022) located at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cps/cps-022-eng.html   I highly recommend that any charity considering conducting any activity that could be construed as political, review in detail the CPS-022 Policy Statement on Political Activities.

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February 01, 2009

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List - January 2009 - the Budget, CRA Audits, Political Activities

January 29, 2009

CRA helps Ontario charities reduce paperwork and filing requirements in 2009

Ontario charities incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act can save time and energy by filing one new directors and officer form instead of two, beginning when the Ontario corporation has a fiscal year end in 2009.

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January 27, 2009

CRA calls an apple an apple - Project Trident

CRA has launched a new initiative called “Project Trident” in which they are targeting the “Triple Threat Tax Fraud” namely “identity theft, charities?related fraud, and tax preparer fraud.”

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January 27, 2009

2009 Canadian Federal Budget and Charities

The 2009 Canadian Federal Budget released by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on January 27 2009 includes nothing specific for charities.

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January 27, 2009

Canadian Charities and Political Activities - OCIC presentation

In order for Canadian charities to effectively achieve their objects or mandate they often need to engage in some “political” activities, especially when the objects or mandate require the assistance and support of government.  It is important for Canadian charities to understand the types of activities that are allowed and those that are prohibited.  This presentation will discusses:  *the importance of political activities conducted by charities, especially in the context of international development; *expenditure limitations on political activities for registered Canadian charities under the Income Tax Act (“10% rule”) and CRA rules; *effect of political activities on disbursement quota; *the difference between allowable political, charitable, and prohibited activity and examples of each; *the difference between public awareness, educational activities, and political activities; *use of non-profits to increase political expenditures and activities; *lobbyist registration requirements for Canadian non-profits and charities interacting with the federal government.

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January 19, 2009

Draft of new T3010B Registered Charity Information Return released

Here is part of a draft of the new T3010B which was included in a recent Bulletin of the CCCC.  This part relates to the T3010B questions on foreign activities by Canadian charities with some of my comments in red.
New_T3010_Questions_on_foreign_activities_from_Blumbergs.pdf

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January 19, 2009

NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening is Useful for NGOs in health area

There has been a dramatic increase in interest amongst North American NGOs in health issues in the developing world.  Often well intentioned actions create more problems than they solve.  According to those responsible for creating the NGO Code of Conduct for Health Systems Strengthening “It is now becoming clearer that NGOs, if not careful and vigilant, can undermine the public sector and even the health system as a whole, by diverting health workers, managers and leaders into privatized operations that create parallel structures to government and that tend to worsen the isolation of communities from formal health systems.”

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January 16, 2009

Recent case on Canadian registered charity and business activities -Hostelling International Canada

This article deals with the recent Canadian Federal Court of Appeal case Hostelling International Canada – Ontario East Region in which the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the CRA decision to revoke their charitable registration.  Under the Canadian Income Tax Act, charitable organizations and public foundations can carry on “related business” that promote their charitable objects. An example would be a hospital cafeteria - providing food to patients and visitors. They can also carry on other unrelated business activities if “substantially all” (CRA says at least 90%) of the people involved in these activities are volunteers.  Here is my article on
Canadian Charities and Business Activities and a copy of the decision in the federal court of appeal Hostelling International Canada – Ontario East Region

January 03, 2009

Importance and Size of Canadian Charitable Sector

Here are some statistics from the CRA dealing with the 83,000 registered charities in Canada as of the end of 2007.

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December 22, 2008

Globalphilanthropy.ca gets global attention

December 20, 2008

Goods and Service Tax (GST) and Canadian Charities

The CRA has recently posted a useful checklist entitled “Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) checklist for charities”

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December 17, 2008

CRA will post revised fundraising guidelines in early 2009

December 16, 2008

New CRA Application for Registered Charity Status (T2050) and Guide (T4063)  finally arrived

December 11, 2008

CRA improves functionality for search of Canadian registered charities database

The Charities Directorate has vastly improved its section of the CRA website over the last year, although it still has a way to go!.  In the past they have improved the quality and accessibility of information placed on the site.  CRA has recently improved the ability of Canadians to search their database of charities as we discuss in more detail.  If you have not viewed the Charity Directorates website recently it is well worth visiting.

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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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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