News

December 16, 2017

Canadian Charity Foreign Activity Legal Checklist - Working with Foreign Charities or Intermediaries

Here is a new checklist from Blumbergs that will assist Canadian registered charities either interested or currently conducting foreign activities.  It is called Canadian Charity Foreign Activity Legal Checklist - Working with Foreign Charities or Intermediaries 2017

December 16, 2017

Checklist for Canadian registered charities and CRA legal compliance

Here is a Canadian Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg that some registered charities may find helpful.  

December 08, 2017

New online service to order documents filed under the CNCA

Starting December 12, 2017, Corporations Canada will allow copies of documents filed under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act  (CNCA) to be purchased online. Copies of the documents can be ordered using Corporations Canada’s Online Filing Centre and orders will be processed within one business day. This will allow those in Federal non-profit organizations that are registered under the Federal CNCA to obtain documents on their organizations even more easily and efficiently than has been the case.  It will also allow those interested in a particular Federal non-profit to obtain the same information.

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Topics: News

November 30, 2017

US changes to tax code could mean big problems for US charities

The US House and Senate are looking at major changes to the tax code that could have a significant impact on US donors and whether they receive any tax incentives for their donations.  Now, 1 in 3 US donors may get a tax incentive when they donate to charity; with the proposed changes, only 1 in 20 US donors will receive a tax incentive for their donations.  A number of US charity umbrella groups have been lobbying hard to prevent certain changes.  We will know shortly whether the charity sector will be blindsided or if last minute amendments will occur.  There are lots of lessons here for Canada.

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November 17, 2017

Upcoming Blumbergs’ Events for 2018 - Bootcamp, T3010 and Receipting

Understanding legal compliance for registered charities is not easy but Blumbergs is offering 3 exciting new upcoming events in 2018 that will help.   We will have our Canadian Charity Law Bootcamp in April which provides a full day overview of charity law regulation.  Then in June we will have a half-day Fundamentals of the T3010 and Transparency for Canadian charities.  In September we will have the half-day Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian charities.  Inaccurately completing the T3010 and improperly issuing receipts are the two most common compliance concerns for registered charities and these educational programs are designed to help charity directors, staff, and volunteers to tackle these challenges.  You can find out more information below.  Space is limited and these programs are not offered regularly - so if you think they could be of assistance to your charity then sign up now.   Learning about compliance requirements for charities through educational programs can save your charity lots of money on legal fees and avoid tremendous anxiety.   

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November 14, 2017

Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 (Bill 154) has passed and received Royal Assent today

As we have noted before the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 (Bill 154) has passed and today it received Royal Assent.  It will make a number of changes to the current Ontario Corporations Act and also the upcoming Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) which will come into force in a few years.  The Ontario Government position has not changed in that the Government has said that it would provide at least 2 years’ notice before ONCA is proclaimed. 

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November 14, 2017

Ontario Changes Affecting Membership of Ontario Non-Profit Organizations under the OCA

The Ontario government has recently passed new legislation making certain changes to the Ontario Corporations Act (OCA).   The changes received Royal Assent today.   One of the most important changes is with respect to membership. Now, the directors of Ontario corporations will no longer have to be members. This gives Ontario corporations much more flexibility to structure their membership in a way that is in the long-term best interest of the corporation.

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November 14, 2017

Class action lawsuit for $800 million over Global Learning Group Inc. (GLGI) donation program

Apparently a class action lawsuit has been launched relating to the GLGI scheme.  In a press release the lawyers for the plaintiffs note "the commencement of a proposed $800 million class action lawsuit against Global Learning Group Inc. (GLGI), and other individuals and entities involved in the development, structuring, creation, promotion and operation of the Global Learning Gifting Initiative Charitable Donation Program (the Gift Program), a complex leveraged charitable donation tax scheme that operated from 2004 to 2014."

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November 10, 2017

CRA Launches Charities Education Program

The CRA has recently announced the launch of a new program called the Charities Education Program.  The program is going to have CRA auditors visit charities but not in the normal audit capacity.   The CRA anticipates that about 500 of these visits will take place per year.  We will see how the program works out but there are going to be some reservations about this new initiative.   If this is an educational program are CRA auditors the best people to do the program? Will charities be confused by this program and the difference between this program and the regular audit program?  Could the resources being used for this program rather be used for responding to written correspondence and charity applications sooner, because they are both taking about a year right now?  Time will tell how the program works out.    

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November 08, 2017

Presentation to AFP GTA Congress 2017 on T3010 and Transparency in the Charitable Sector

On November 20, 2017 I am presenting to the AFP GTA Congress 2017 a breakout session "T3010 and Transparency in the Charitable Sector".

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November 03, 2017

Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 (Bill 154) has passed and awaiting Royal Assent

On November 1, 2017 the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 (Bill 154) passed.  It  still requires Royal Assent before coming into force.   Bill 154 made changes to ONCA (which will probably only come into force years from now) but made changes to the current Ontario Corporations Act as well.  As we noted earlier some of the changes to the Ontario Corporations Act will come into force immediately upon Royal Assent and others will be 60 days after Royal Assent.

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October 29, 2017

Changes to the Ontario Corporations Act that will affect Ontario non-profits before ONCA applies

As we noted earlier the Ontario government has been working since September 14, 2017 on passing legislation called The Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 that not only makes some changes to the new ONCA but also changes the old Ontario Corporations Act.  I was a little bit surprised to see the changes to the OCA and how extensive they were.  I worry that this could be an indication that ONCA is not coming in for a very long time.  On the other hand, most of the changes to the OCA will be beneficial.  For many Ontario non-profit corporations under the OCA moving to the new Federal Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act ("CNCA") makes a lot of sense and could save a lot of aggravation.  But for those who don't want to move to Federal you will stay under the OCA and later ONCA and these changes will be applicable.  

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October 28, 2017

Prescribed foreign universities can have their qualified donee status be revoked by the CRA

Canada has an unusually generous system in which foreign universities that have a couple of Canadian students studying there can obtain the equivalent of Canadian registered charity status with almost none of the obligations. Here is an article describing that process.  However, CRA can remove charities from the list if they don't continue to meet the requirements (for example to have the 2 students) or they don't respond to CRA requests every 5-10 years for confirmation of information. 

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October 28, 2017

Charity Commission releases guidance on “grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity”

The Charity Commission of England and Wales has released a guidance Grant funding an organisation that isn’t a charity. It sets certain standards when an English charity provides a grant to a group that is not a charity such as a non-profit or social enterprise, businesses or foreign groups that is not "or may not be" a charity.  In Canada when a Canadian registered charity gives funds to a "qualified donee" it is typically relatively straightforward and simple, however, when a Canadian charity transfer funds or resources to a non-qualified donee such as a foreign charity then these sort of rules apply.  In Canada it is called having a "structured arrangement" with direction and control. I will discuss the Canadian rules at the end.

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October 28, 2017

Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) releases 2016-17 Annual Report

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) has just released its 2016-17 Annual Report.  The report provides a very valuable look at the Australian non-profit and charity sector on the 5th anniversary of the ACNC.  It provides over 120 pages of information and great transparency of the regulation of charities in Australia.   

Topics: News

October 25, 2017

Third-party civil penalty disclosure from CRA - 164m in penalties from 2009 - 2016

CRA has provided information through ATIP on third-party civil penalties from 2009 to 2016.  The number of completed third-party penalty audits where it was determined that the penalty would be applied is 67.  The amount of the penalties was about $164 million.  Here is the disclosure.

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October 25, 2017

CRA presentation to Minister Lebouthillier on options in dealing with political activities

Here is a presentation from the Charities Directorate to Minister Lebouthillier about options for political activities.  It provides a good overview of the issues and some of the options.  It is provides a concise summary of some legislative and other changes. Some of the presentation is redacted.   

October 24, 2017

CRA’s Draft Guidance Advancement of religion and charitable registration is released through ATIP

There are approximately 32,000 registered charities in Canada that are religious charities. They account for approximately 40% of all the registered charities in Canada.  It is important that Canadian registered charities are aware of CRA‘s views on what is religion and when are activities of religious charities that are ostensibly religious not in fact “advancing religion”.  Or when are such activities providing undue private benefit.  We just obtained a copy of CRA's draft Guidance Advancement of religion and charitable registration and it is important that charities and others interested in this topic are aware of the guidance.

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October 17, 2017

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2015

October 16, 2017

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care issued a Directive on Hospital Naming

Today the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care issued a Directive on Hospital Naming.   Hospitals in Ontario will want to review the Directive carefully.  Also here is the Hospital Naming Approval Process.  Thanks to Ken Mayhew, Government Relations Liaison of AFP Canada for forwarding the documents.  

 

October 10, 2017

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars.  Registration is free but space is limited. 

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October 01, 2017

Letter from CRA rulings to the Charities Directorate on aboriginal bands

In July 2016 the Income Tax Rulings Directorate of CRA wrote to the Charities Directorate clarifying the procedure for reviewing whether aboriginal bands should be viewed as qualified donees.  Very importantly the CRA ITR Directorate concluded "it is our view that all bands created under the Indian Act meet the criteria to be considered municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada for the purpose of paragraph 149(1)(c) of the Act and are therefore exempt from income tax." 

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October 01, 2017

Cassan v. The Queen - Tax Court of Canada does not accept donation loan program

The Tax Court of Canada recently had a judgment in the matter of Cassan v. The Queen.  It dealt with the EquiGenesis 2009-II Preferred Investment Limited Partnership and Donation Program which was offered by EquiGenesis Corporation.  It is a lengthy and complicated decision.

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Topics: News

October 01, 2017

Federal government consulting on “Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy”

In a press release from ESDC entitled "Canadians are invited to share their ideas on the development of a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy", the Federal government is doing an online consultation on social innovation and social finance. 

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September 30, 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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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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