CRA has just released its “Consultation on proposed guidance for The Promotion of Animal Welfare and Charitable Registration”. It is being released as part of a consultation and they are asking for comments by March 31, 2011. There are over 700 Canadian registered charities dealing with animal welfare in Canada.
The Consultation on proposed guidance for The Promotion of Animal Welfare and Charitable Registration can be found at:
Here is the summary from the document:
1. Promoting the welfare of animals can be a charitable purpose. When it is charitable, promoting the welfare of animals normally falls under one or both of the following heads, or categories, of charitable purposes:
•the advancement of education (the second head)
•other purposes beneficial to the community that are considered charitable at law (the fourth head):
?promoting the moral or ethical development of the community
?upholding the administration and enforcement of the law
?protecting the environment
2. Under common law, an activity or purpose is only charitable when it provides a benefit to humans. For some purposes and activities, including those relieving the suffering of animals, the courts have decided that the benefit is the promotion of the moral or ethical development of the community. As far back as the 19th century, the courts have stated that promoting the welfare of animals “has for its object, not merely the protection of the animals themselves, but the advancement of morals and education among [people].” [Footnote 1]
3. To be charitable, the benefit to humans must always take precedence over any benefit to animals. If a purpose or activity that promotes the welfare of animals harms humans, or has a real potential to cause significant harm to humans, it is likely not charitable.
4. Organizations with one or more political purposes, as well as those with political activities that exceed the legal restrictions, are not eligible for charitable registration. [Footnote 2]
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
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.