Ethics and Canadian Charities

September 15, 2017

CRA increasingly focused on and auditing internal controls of registered charities

Although the CRA has little guidance on internal controls, they are increasingly focusing on internal controls, or the lack thereof, in charities.  Internal controls are "a procedure or policy put in place by management to safeguard assets, promote accountability, increase efficiency, and stop fraudulent behavior."  A simple example is having two people sign cheques or having two people count cash.  I am hoping that one day CRA will provide greater guidance on their expectations surrounding internal controls but for now here are some thoughts and suggestions.  

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August 30, 2017

Australian national risk assessment into the NP sector discusses terrorist financing and AML

An interesting new report from The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) as well as the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) published on August 28, 2017 looked at "the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing in the not-for-profit sector, key vulnerabilities and risk indicators of high-risk organisations, groups of high-risk organisations that will benefit from targeted outreach and support, vulnerabilities that could be exploited to support terrorism, and a strategy to counter these vulnerabilities".

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August 29, 2017

Ontario Government Proposal to Allow Compensation of Directors of Charities Without Court Order

Here is Blumbergs' comments on the Ontario Government Proposal to Allow Compensation of Directors of Charities Without Court Order that were submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General today. 

July 31, 2017

Blumbergs’ Receipting Kit 2017 by Mark Blumberg

We have just released our updated Blumbergs' Receipting Kit 2017. The Blumbergs' Receipting Kit 2017 is for Canadian registered charities and other qualified donees who wish to issue official donation receipts under the Income Tax Act (Canada), which are sometimes referred to as "tax receipts".  It has a general description of how receipting should be conducted and then copies of documents and resources from the CRA and elsewhere that relate to receipting.

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July 12, 2017

Ontario government consulting on compensation of charity directors without court order

The Ontario Government is looking at adding a regulation to the Charities Accounting Act that would allow in certain circumstances compensation for directors without specific legislation or court order.  "The regulation would authorize incorporated charities to pay their directors and persons related to them, for goods, services, or facilities, without obtaining a court order, provided specific conditions are met."   I have some concerns with the proposal and will blog in the future about that.  The proposal was posted on July 10, 2017 and comments are due by August 29, 2017.

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June 28, 2017

CASL - no private right of action but changes to implied consent rules

There were supposed to be 2 important changes taking place on July 1, 2017 with Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL).

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June 18, 2017

Charities, Regulation and Donors - some international perspectives from the CCLA

The Canadian Charity Law Association (CCLA) is pleased to present: Charities, Regulation and Donors - some international perspectives on June 22, 2017 at 8:30AM in Toronto.  The 1/2 day program will cover 4 thought provoking topics (see bios below) and have two excellent international guests.  The room can only hold 33 people so if you are interested book quickly.

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June 17, 2017

Some of the Canadian charities that spend the most on political activities?

In this article Some of the Canadian charities that spend the most on political activities? I have not only listed some of the Canadian charities that spent the most on political activities but also showed readers how they can find and sort the information themselves.  There is more to charities than just political activities and you can do your own searches depending on what information you need.  

June 11, 2017

Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2015

Here is an article entitled Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2015 which lists the Canadian charities that received the largest contributions from outside of Canada.  

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June 09, 2017

Canada suspends part of CASL relating to “private rights of action” but rest applies to charities

The Government of Canada announced on June 7, 2017 that it is "suspending the implementation of certain provisions in Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) in response to broad-based concerns raised by businesses, charities and the not-for-profit sector."  These provisions were not yet in force but would have come in on July 1, 2017.   They would have allowed an individual who received a commercial electronic message that was in contravention of CASL to sue the organization and its directors, officers and agents that sent the non-compliant email.  The statutory damages could be quite large.   

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May 29, 2017

CRA to make automated calls to Canadian registered charities to file their T3010

The CRA has announced that it will make automated calls to Canadian registered charities to remind them to file their T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.  That is a positive step in using technology to remind charities of their filing obligations.  

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May 28, 2017

Ploughman v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 64

The recent decision of Ploughman v. The Queen, 2017 TCC 64 deals with a "third-party civil penalty" against Mr. Ploughman for his involvement in what CRA refers to as "abusive charity gifting tax shelter" but this decision refers to as a "donation program".  The court dealt with an appeal of the assessment of the third-party civil penalty and rejected Mr. Ploughman's appeal.

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May 28, 2017

CharityVillage webinar Charitable Receipting: Do’s and don’ts for Canadian registered charities

I recently delivered a webinar to CharityVillage on Charitable Receipting: Do’s and don’ts for Canadian registered charities.  If you are interested in seeing the slides or listening to the webinar you can do so at Charitable Receipting: Do’s and don’ts for Canadian registered charities

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May 28, 2017

Some recent blogs on charities and political activities by Mark Blumberg

Here is a note I prepared called Some recent blogs on charities and political activities by Mark Blumberg.  Yes I know the title is very original.  I came up with it myself.    

May 27, 2017

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2017 - save the date!

We are pleased to announce the Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Institute 2017 will be on Monday October 16, 2017. Further details will follow.  Registration and early bird information is here.  

May 22, 2017

CRA welcomes the Panel Report on the public consultations on charities and political activities

In a press release entitled "Minister Lebouthillier welcomes the Panel Report on the public consultations on charities and political activities" CRA noted the receipt of a report on charities and political activities.  That report was reflective of the vast majority of the "nearly 20,000" submissions received as part of the consultation.   

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May 19, 2017

Charitable Receipting: Do’s and don’ts for Canadian registered charities with CharityVillage

On May 25, 2017, I will be doing a free webinar for CharityVillage on Charitable Receipting Do's and Don'ts which will discuss receipting by Canadian registered charities.

May 09, 2017

Presentation on community foundations and political activities in Ottawa - May 13, 2017

Mark Blumberg will be co-presenting on "How community foundations can lead and engage in small ‘a’ advocacy" in Ottawa at the Community Foundations of Canada 2017 Conference on Saturday May 13, 2017.

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May 08, 2017

“Second Thoughts: Why I Changed My Mind About Philanthropy and Public Policy” by David Callahan

David Callahan, is the editor of Inside Philanthropy, and he is one the top progressive experts on philanthropy in the US.  His article "Second Thoughts: Why I Changed My Mind About Philanthropy and Public Policy" has nothing to do with Canada - but it has everything to do with the dilemma that the Liberal government is going to be dealing with over the next year or two as to how much "political activities" is too much for charities.  I would argue that the current rules give lots and lots of room to charities to conduct political activities - but yes not enough for maybe 50-100 groups.   At what point do we prioritize the sector over those groups?  

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April 07, 2017

Wallace Global Fund charity fires lawyers for being inconsistent with their values

Here is an interesting article from the NPQ entitled "Wallace Global Fund Fires Law Firm for Aiding Trump’s “Ethical Carnage”. It discusses how a large US charity has decided to sever a long term relationship with a major US law firm because they represent Donald Trump and blessed the highly questionable trust arrangement that Donald Trump is using to ostensibly avoid conflicts of interest while he is President of the US.

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March 22, 2017

2017 Canadian Federal Budget and its impact on non-profits and charities

The 2017 Canadian Federal Budget was released today.  Here is our article 2017 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector? 

March 19, 2017

OHA Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions

The Ontario Hospital Association is having a conference entitled "Strengthening Foundation Governance: Current Issues, Challenges and Solutions".  I will be presenting on Charitable Giving, Transparency and Standards. There will be a number of other interesting presentations.  

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March 19, 2017

“Charity finances: trustee essentials” - great information on financial management of a charity

The Charity Commission has recently updated  their guidance "Charity finances: trustee essentials".  It provides helpful information on finances that Canadian directors and trustees, as well as staff, should be aware of.  Keep in mind that on certain points the law in Canada is different than in England and Wales.  Unfortunately the CRA provides far less guidance on financial management and governance to the charity sector than I would like.  

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March 17, 2017

CRA sending out notices on T3010 filings

Here is a redacted copy of a notice sent by the Charities Directorate of CRA reminding charities of their filing date and the consequences of not filing the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return within 6 months of the end of your fiscal year.  

March 16, 2017

FTC & NASCO Conference on Consumer Protection Issues and Charitable Solicitations - online/free

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are organizing a conference called "Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity" on Tuesday March 21, 2017.   It will be in Washington but it will be live streamed for free for those who are interested.  The live link will be available on the day of the conference.  

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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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