Ethics and Canadian Charities

June 28, 2019

Online Charity Law Courses from Blumbergs - 24/7 compliance education for registered charities

We have created two new online courses for those outside of Toronto who are not able to easily attend our programs.  They might also be helpful to those in Toronto who cannot wait for our next session as they sometimes only occur annually.  Online course are never going to be the same as in-person courses but for many they are far easier to access and more convenient.  You can do an online course at your pace and redo sections if you wish.

The first course is "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/ 

The second course is "Receipting for Canadian Registered Charities".  The course is $225 and you can register at https://charity-law.teachable.com/ 

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May 24, 2019

Dramatic changes to the CRA Charities Listing

CRA has recently updated its Charities Listing and the most notable change is the fact that they have reduced the amount of information available on each Canadian registered charity. The Charities Listing used to have up to 15 years of data for each charity, but now that has been reduced to only the last 5 years of data for each charity. There are concerns that this change reduces transparency and accountability within the charitable sector. While the information is still technically publicly available, now anyone who would like to review older data must first submit a request form to CRA and wait a few weeks instead of that information being instantly available.

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April 30, 2019

Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities

Properly issuing official donation receipts has been challenging for many registered charities.  According to the CRA, 89% of registered charities that are audited by CRA are not correctly issuing official donation receipts.  Issuing incorrect receipts can result in revocation or penalties. It is easier to do it right than fix problems later! We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a 3-hour event Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian Charities on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 8:30 am. Click here for more information and to register for this event.

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April 30, 2019

Fundamentals of the T3010 and Transparency for Canadian Charities

Every year Canadian registered charities must file the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return with the Charities Directorate of CRA. In June 2019 Canadian registered charities will be able to file the T3010 online which will make the process easier and quicker. If charities do not file the form, they can be revoked by CRA for non-filing. If the T3010 is not filed accurately it can be cause for suspension of a charity's receipting privileges. On June 10, 2019 at 1pm, we will be hosting the Fundamentals of the T3010 and Transparency for Canadian charities, a 3-hour workshop on legal and practical issues relating to the T3010 filing and transparency for charities.  Register here

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April 22, 2019

CFA Society of Toronto 2019 Wealth Conference

I will be speaking at the CFA Society of Toronto 2019 Wealth Conference on May 1, 2019 dealing with the topic ​"Professional Advisors and Philanthropy: Helping clients and yourself navigate philanthropy".  You can register for the program here

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March 25, 2019

Blumbergs’ International Philanthropy Conference 2019 (SOLD OUT)

We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a full-day event on international philanthropy on April 12, 2019: Blumbergs' International Philanthropy Conference 2019. See below for more details and we hope to see you there.

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March 25, 2019

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2019 (SOLD OUT)

The Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp will be held again on Monday April 8, 2019. This is a one-day boot camp on compliance and standards issues for Canadian registered charities. You can register for the program here

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March 19, 2019

Canadian Federal Budget 2019 and its impact on non-profits and charities

Finance Minister Morneau delivered the 2019 Federal Budget today.  Here is our article "2019 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector?"

Finance has already released a Fall Economic Statement that did contain a number of initiatives relating to the charity sector and you can see our article "Finance 2018 Fall Economic Statement and its Impact on Canadian Charities, Journalism and Social Finance".   

March 03, 2019

Registered Charities and CRA Charity Audits

The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate is the de facto regulator of Registered Charities in Canada and they audit between 600 and 800 charities per year.   This article Registered Charities and CRA Charity Audits will help you understand the process for dealing with a CRA charity audit and the likely outcomes.   

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.

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 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 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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November 24, 2018

Informal Risk Reviews are Excellent Value for Money for Registered Charities

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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November 05, 2018

New Canadian Registered Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg

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

October 31, 2018

CBC article “Pro sports charities hoarding cash, overspending on fundraising, watchdog says”

The CBC today covered the issue of Canadian pro sports teams and their fundraising charities in "Pro sports charities hoarding cash, overspending on fundraising, watchdog says".   This is a follow on to the coverage by the Toronto Star from 2010. 

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September 17, 2018

Finance to Consult on Draft Legislative Proposals re Political Activities of Canadian Charities

Finance has put out a press release that it will be consulting on the new political activity proposals that were released on Friday.

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September 15, 2018

Finance releases legislative proposals on charities and political activities

On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5:01PM the Department of Finance released the "Legislative Proposals Notice of Ways and Means Motions" and also the "Explanatory Notes" on their website.   We will be commenting on these changes to the Income Tax Act over the next few weeks.  

September 15, 2018

Ontario rules change for compensation of certain directors of charitable corporations

August 18, 2018

Althia Raj’s article “Super PACs In Canada?” on CWP decision on charities and political activities

Althia Raj's article "Super PACs In Canada? Liberals Wrestle With Politically-Active Charities After Court Ruling" covers the fallout from the Canada Without Poverty case and provides some important updates. 

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August 15, 2018

Finance and CRA promise to clarify rules on political activities and CRA appeals CWP decision

The CRA announced today that they are appealing the CWB decision.  This is not surprising as we noted in our blog on July 30, 2018 "Canada Without Poverty vs. AG – a pyrrhic victory for CWP and a disaster for the charity sector".  The CRA and Finance press release noted that "the Government of Canada identified significant errors of law and has served notice that it will be appealing the decision to address the uncertainty created by it, and to seek clarification on important issues of constitutional and charity law."  As well, the government has said that they will be introducing legislation in the spring and then responding to the report of the Consultation Panel. 

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August 04, 2018

Blumbergs’ Pre-Budget Brief to the Finance Committee

Here is a copy of our Submission to the Federal Finance Committee dated August 1, 2018 for the 2019 Federal Budget.  The submission covers transparency of non-profits and registered charities, as well as a number other recommendations to improve the regulation of registered charities.  

July 30, 2018

Canada Without Poverty vs. AG – a pyrrhic victory for CWP and a disaster for the charity sector

Here is my article on the recent CWP v. AG case entitled Canada Without Poverty vs. Attorney General of Canada – a pyrrhic victory for CWP and a disaster for the charity sector.  In short, I think it is a bad decision that is long term going to have very negative repercussions for the charity sector and our society as a whole.  

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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