Canadian Charity Law

March 02, 2019

SNC-Lavalin Affair and the Charity Sector

The SNC-Lavalin affair has been in the news for a while. Here is an article on how this SNC-Lavalin scandal relates to the charity sector.

February 27, 2019

BC Bodner Estate Case - yes an estate can give to a list of charities and non-profits

An interesting little case in BC called Bodner Estate.   Irene Bodna died and left about 8m to 24 different registered charities and non-profits that are all interested in animal welfare and the environment.  A small amount was as an outright gift and the rest was a perpetual fund paying out the net income.  

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February 27, 2019

T3010 and political activities - changes are coming

The CRA recently posted on their T3010 page that "In December 2018, the rules governing the political activities of registered charities changed as a result of new legislation that permits charities to carry on unlimited public policy dialogue and development activities in furtherance of a stated charitable purpose. Under the new rules, the reporting requirements related to a charity’s spending on political activities are no longer relevant. The Canada Revenue Agency is revising Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, and will publish instructions on its webpages soon."

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February 27, 2019

CRA letter on rebate donation program

Here is the text of a recent CRA letter on a rebate donation program and whether donors can claim a tax deduction.  Not surprisingly CRA was not prepared to confirm that a donation receipt can be issued and these sorts of matters very much depend on all the facts that are relevant.   That being said CRA does lay out some of the matters to consider.   

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February 27, 2019

Kaul v. The Queen - Tax Court of Canada and appraisal of FMV when gifting scheme

In the Tax Court of Canada case Kaul v. The Queen, CRA denied certain claims for tax credits relating to an art donation scheme.  The taxpayers appealed and the Tax Court of Canada sided with CRA.  There is lots of discussion around valuation reports, fair market value and art work. 

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February 27, 2019

CRA releases Q&A on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities

The CRA recently released a question and answer document on the December 2018 political activity changes and the new guidance on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities.  Here is the Q&A

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February 27, 2019

Revised P113 - Gifts and Income Tax 2018 - deals with tax benefits of donating to charities

The CRA document P113 - Gifts and Income Tax 2018 is a helpful guide to the tax consequences of donations to registered charities and qualified donees.  It has been recently updated.    

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January 30, 2019

CRA revokes charity that spent almost 200m on foreign activities over last 5 years

Global News journalist Stewart Bell recently wrote an article "Government revokes charity status of Canadian Jewish group that supported ‘foreign armed forces’".  The articles discusses the recent revocation of the Canadian registered charity Beth Oloth Charitable Organization.  You can see detailed information on Beth Oloth at www.CharityData.ca.  It is quite clear from this Charitydata webpage that this organization went from having very little revenue to spending in the last few years over $200 million and apparently spending over 193m outside of Canada.

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January 27, 2019

When is the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) coming into force?

I recently wondered with this new Ontario government whether there was any change relating to the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA).  It is supposed to come into force at the beginning of 2020.  So I wrote to the Ontario government on January 10, 2019 and they replied on January 25, 2019 with the following:

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January 21, 2019

CRA releases draft guidance “Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities”

The CRA today released its draft guidance "Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities".   This guidance will replace CRA's Guidance CPS-022, Political activities.  The CRA is asking for feedback on this draft administrative guidance and providing until April 23, 2019 for that feedback.  Here is a PDF of the draft guidance and here is a link to the draft guidance on the CRA website.  We will be providing further information on this draft to our clients and on our blog.  

January 16, 2019

CharityData.ca T3010 Data Update

We are pleased to announce that we have recently updated our CharityData.ca website to include nearly all T3010 2017 data and some of the 2018 data.

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January 14, 2019

Course - Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?

We have created a course entitled "Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?".   The course is $149 and you can register at https://charity-law.teachable.com/   Here is an overview of the course:

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January 13, 2019

Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 - an article on the many myths about private foundations

The compliance requirements and restrictions on private foundations in Canada are frequently misunderstood, even by those who run large private foundations.   Here is our article Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 that might be helpful in dispelling these myths. 

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January 10, 2019

“Impossible to Justify” A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy - David Callahan review

David Callahan recently reviewed Rob Reich's new book "Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better." in an article "Impossible to Justify" A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy".  The review and the book are a further wake-up call that there are concerns in the public about philanthropy.    We can wait for people to become more cynical of the charity sector or we can act now to prevent that.   It is definitely worth reading David Callahan's review.  

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January 08, 2019

Addition to “Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada”

The Swiss Aga Khan Foundation has been added to the list of "Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada".  They have not been on the list for a number of years.  We have discussed this category previously.   There are only 3 groups at the moment on the list

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January 02, 2019

Safeguarding and preventing abuse of vulnerable and other individuals by charities

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has significant material to help charities understand the importance of putting in place systems and implementing them to safeguard charity beneficiaries, as well as staff and volunteers.   Sometimes the issue is framed in terms of "vulnerable" beneficiaries such as children or the elderly but similar principals apply to employees, volunteers, suppliers etc.  The issue has been covered recently in the media and for Canadian charities, there is little guidance on the topic from the CRA.

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December 14, 2018

Bill C-86 Receives Royal Assent

On Thursday December 13, 2018, Bill C-86 received Royal Assent. Within this Bill, there are several changes to the Income Tax Act related to charities, especially with regards to political activities.  The change allows Canadian registered charities to conduct public policy dialogue and development activities (PPADA) connected to the legal purpose of the charity as long as they are not directly or indirectly partisan.   We are awaiting guidance from CRA on how they will interpret the new provisions on political activities.  Also the CWP decision will probably one day end up in the Supreme Court of Canada and perhaps they will have a thing or two to say about political activities and how purposes and activities relate to registered charity status.  

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December 13, 2018

CRA announces the end of the T3010 charity annual return barcode stickers

As of November 14, 2018, CRA will no longer send out the peel and stick barcode labels with the T3010 annual information return package. These stickers were on the back of Form TF725, Registered Charity Basic Information Sheet. Charities will continue to receive Form TF725, on which they will be able to verify and make changes to their telephone number, fax number, email, website address and/or mailing address.

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December 04, 2018

Charities Directorate releases Report on the Charities Program 2016 to 2018

The CRA released today their Report on the Charities Program 2016 to 2018.  They note: "We made the report shorter by reducing the amount of text and added more visuals. The report is now easier to understand and has a more modern look."  There is far less information in this report than previously provided which is unfortunate.   Although with all the crazy changes Finance is coming up with on political activities I am surprised that CRA had the time to prepare this report at all. 

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November 29, 2018

Standing Senate Committee on Finance and their review of Political Activities - November 28, 2018

On Wednesday November 28, 2018 I presented to the Senate Committee on Finance in Ottawa. My presentation dealt with Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, and specifically the proposed changes to the rules and regulations on political activities carried out by charities within the Bill. 

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November 24, 2018

Informal Risk Reviews are Excellent Value for Money for Registered Charities

November 24, 2018

Statistics Canada is collecting data to reassess MBM, Canada’s Official Poverty Line

The Government of Canada recently announced that it will now be using the Market Basket Measure (“MBM”) to measure Canada’s poverty line. Previously, Canada did not have an official measure of poverty; rather MBM was used along with Low Income Cut-Off (‘LICO’) and low income measure (‘LIM’). With Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy, announced in August 2018, the Federal Government needed an official poverty measure to guide this new strategy.

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November 24, 2018

Special Senate Committee on the Charity Sector and Mark Blumberg’s testimony November 19, 2018

On Monday November 19, 2018 I presented to the Special Senate Committee on the Charity Sector in Ottawa.  My presentation dealt with a number of areas especially transparency of non-profits and registered charities, good charity regulation, and political activities by charities.

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November 21, 2018

Finance 2018 Fall Economic Statement - its Impact on Canadian Charities, Journalism, Social Finance

November 18, 2018

St. Michael’s College School group sex assault scandal and broader thoughts on the charity sector

There have been a number of articles in the media on a Catholic school in Toronto called St. Michael’s College School over the last week and a number of recent incidents involving sexual assault and what the National Post describes as "Broomstick sexual assault".  St. Michael's College School is a registered charity.  Here is information on our Charitydata.ca website on St. Michael's College School. 

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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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