Global Affairs Canada (GAC) formerly CIDA

August 23, 2010

CIDA Announces Pakistan Flood Relief matching program for Canadian charities

CIDA has announced that it will have a matching fund for donations raised by Canadian charities for the Pakistan relief from August 2 to September 12.  The Pakistan Floods Relief Fund will not be given to each charity that raised funds but instead there will be an application process in which charities can apply for the funds and they will have to demonstrate that they have the capacity to do the work effectively.  This is similar to the Haiti earthquake fund a few months ago.

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August 20, 2010

CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch (PWCB)- August 2010

For those who could not attend the CIDA presentation today in Toronto here is a copy of the CIDA presentation and material on Partnership with Canadians Branch- August 2010.  There are some questions posed in this document that CIDA is looking for input by Wednesday August 25.  Here is a cleaner copy of the CIDA presentation from the OCIC, without the questions.

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July 29, 2010

Minister Oda announces next step to CIDA’s Aid Effectiveness

Here is a press release in which CIDA Minister Bev Oda announces further steps to achieve aid effectiveness. There is also a backgrounder.  This document is a must read for any organization receiving CIDA funds or hoping to one day.  There is a lot in this document and it will be interesting to see if practically this makes any real difference at CIDA.

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July 08, 2010

CRA’s New Guidance for Canadian Registered Charities Carrying out Activities Outside Canada

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 documents 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 transfered and/or revocation of charitable status.

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May 11, 2010

Conference in Toronto on “What’s Next?” for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century

This conference on June 11, 2010 may be of interest

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May 07, 2010

Government of Canada Response to Natural Disasters Abroad - presentation from Foreign Affairs

Here is a copy of a presentation by the Government of Canada entitled “Response to Natural Disasters Abroad”.  It was delivered May 5 to Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC) by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.  This presentation will give one an idea of the process and thinking of the Canadian government in dealing with disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti.

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April 13, 2010

Conflicts of interest, or perceived conflicts of interest, can be very costly for Canadian charities

The New York Times has reported that “The Gates Foundation has withdrawn a $5.2 million grant to a Canadian research center for planned tobacco control work in Africa, after learning that the chairwoman of the center’s board was also a board member for a unit of one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.”  What is unusual about this story is how public it has gotten with press releases etc.  Canadian charities should take the issue of conflicts of interest seriously and should have conflict of interest policies and they should follow them.  It is easier and better to avoid problems such as this one rather than having to deal with them.

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March 05, 2010

Federal Government Budget increases foreign aid by 8% this year

The March 4, 2010 Federal budget increased Canada’s foreign aid or “International Assistance Envelope” by 8% for the 2010/2011 year.  The government has said that it will review thereafter whether there is any increase.  In light of the difficult financial circumstances in Canada this is a good news story.  Hopefully the government will continue in future years to increase the budget as Canada is a wealthy nation and we are still far below the 0.7 gross national income target.  There will also hopefully be greater transparency at CIDA and in the aid process so that Canadians and others can understand how their money is being spent and how decisions are arrived at to spend that money.

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February 06, 2010

Webinar: Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities responding to the earthquake

[the archived recording of the webinar Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities is now available at (It is approx 1h and 10 min)]  We are also beta testing some other webinars at:

OCIC, myself and Capacity Builders will be organizing a free one hour webinar entitled “Haiti - Legal and Ethical Issues for Canadian charities responding to the earthquake”  As we are all aware with the earthquake in Haiti, Canadians have responded quickly and donated generously.  Canadian charities have received record contributions to help with the disaster in Haiti.  Many of the charities raising funds for Haiti have never operated in Haiti and/or been involved in disaster assistance. We have learned from past disaster responses in post-conflict areas that good intentions and money are not enough.  Join charity lawyer Mark Blumberg (editor of as he highlights some of the top legal and ethical challenges facing Canadian registered charities operating in Haiti.  From Income Tax Act rules to ethical dilemmas it is important that charities are aware of these and other issues.  For all Capacity Builder Webinars you can see

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January 24, 2010

Article in Embassy “Post-traumatic stress real threat to aid workers, diplomats”

This article by Laura Payton is particularly timely.

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January 16, 2010

Outpouring of support for Haiti by Canadians so great that charity servers are crashing!!

Keep the lines and internet sites busy.  Donate to reputable, experienced, knowledgeable Canadian aid organizations that already have operations in Haiti such as the members of the Humanitarian Coalition ( or Doctors Without Borders Canada (  Here is an article on the outpouring of support by Canadian donors.

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January 15, 2010

CIDA’s Key Facts about the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund -are your charity’s donations being matched

Here is some information from CIDA with respect to their Haiti donation matching program

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December 29, 2009

Safety of Canadian Humanitarian Workers - important for people, reputation and funders

In 2009 I attended the Interaction Forum held in Washington, D.C.  The Interaction Forum is the largest gathering of US and international NGOS involved with international development.  I met some very interesting people and learned quite a lot.  One of the important themes of the conference is that security is increasingly important concern for charities doing international operations – security for your employees, expat workers, national staff and beneficiaries.  To summarize, for those who do not want to read more than one paragraph - aid organizations who don’t not take security seriously probably should be getting out of the humanitarian aid area.  Your employees will not want to work for you, funders will not want to fund you and you may be unnecessarily endangering the lives of national staff and beneficiaries.  I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed a large CIDA draft contribution agreement - what was interesting was that in project conducted in a moderately dangerous country about 1/4 of the contribution agreement related to security and safety.

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November 19, 2009

CIDA press release on food security

Here is a CIDA press release on food security

November 11, 2009

Article by Lee Berthiaume on CIDA, Auditor General’s Report, Government Response and future of CIDA

Here is an interesting article by Lee Berthiaume in Embassy on CIDA

November 04, 2009

Auditor General Report on the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) out

October 22, 2009

Bill C-300 Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act

The purpose of the proposed “Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act” is to “ensure that corporations engaged in mining, oil or gas activities and receiving support from the Government of Canada act in a manner consistent with international environmental best practices and with Canada’s commitments to international human rights standards.” Read the text of the proposed act

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October 19, 2009

Risk Mitigation and Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa Seminar

I will be making a presentation on Legal Structures for Canadian Companies Carrying out CSR Abroad at the Risk Mitigation and CSR in Africa Seminar which will be held in Toronto on Thursday October 22, 2009.  This full-day seminar is geared towards people doing business, or thinking of doing business, in Africa. The program is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, HATCH, MineAfrica, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. 

For more information please see Risk_Mitigation_and_Corporate_Social_Responsibility_in_Africa_Seminar.pdf

September 21, 2009

Famine in Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa

A number of NGOs have tried to spotlight the famine in Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa and CIDA has just committed further funds to the problem.  Here is an article by Kevin McCort of CARE Canada “We must make famine in Africa personal”.  The Humanitarian Coalition has described it as a “perfect storm” at 

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September 09, 2009

CRA provides commentary on Gifts to Certain Charitable Organizations Outside Canada and IC84-3R5

CRA has provided some more detail on how organizations are included in Attachment to IC84-3R5, Gifts to Certain Charitable Organizations Outside Canada.  There are only about 5 organizations left on the list and perhaps this policy commentary will encourage the Canadian government, and especially CIDA and DFAIT, to consider adding a few more foreign charities to the list.

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August 04, 2009

MANGO to deliver training in Ottawa in October for international development finance trainers

Mango (Management Accounting for Non Governmental Organizations) is a UK registered charity that works to strengthen the financial management of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). It has a very good reputation for providing training and resources to international development organizations.  They are offering a 4 day course in Ottawa from Monday October 19, 2009 till Thu October 22, 2009 entitled Training for Finance Trainers: How to Take the Fear Out of Finance.  They identify that it will be most useful for “Qualified / experienced finance professionals whose work includes training others in finance”.

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July 29, 2009

CIDA Issues Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and extractive sector (mining, oil)

Here is a CIDA Issues Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and extractive sector (mining, oil).  Well worth reviewing for those interested in international development and the importance of natural resources.

May 28, 2009

CRA Releases Registered Charity Newsletter 32 - discusses new applications, T3010B, webinars,

Here is the latest CRA Registered Charity Newsletter # 32.  It includes an extensive discussion on applications for charity status and how to improve your application and avoid unnecessary delays.  It sets out the procedures that CRA will follow upon receiving a charity application.

May 28, 2009

CIDA to initiate consultations in near future, according to Minister Bev Oda

In an article in Embassy Magazine CIDA Minister Bev Oda say that “she plans to hold extensive consultations over the coming months on how to make the agency work better.” 

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May 20, 2009

Canada Announces “New Effective Approach to its International Assistance”

CIDA Minister Bev Oda announced today “A New Effective Approach to Canadian Aid”.  Here is the press release and below it is the speaking notes.  CIDA will be focusing on increasing food security, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and securing the future of children and youth.

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


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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