On September 12, 2015, the Canadian Government announced the Syria Emergency Relief Fund. Depending on certain donations made between September 12 and December 31 this fund could reach potentially $100 million. As with previous "matching" funds the charity that raises funds may receive no match. The matching funds are placed in a Syria Emergency Relief Fund.
The Syria Emergency Relief Fund will be used to support "experienced international and Canadian humanitarian organizations using established Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) channels and procedures." The government notes "The Syria Emergency Relief Fund is separate from the funds raised by charities and is administered separately by the Government of Canada. This means that a charity does not receive a matching dollar from the Government of Canada." Only time will tell how large and what impact this fund will have. This whole formula of matching funds has numerous problems but in this case I am concerned about when such funds would actually be spent. The Federal government notes: "Registered charities declaring eligible donations must complete the Syria Emergency Relief Fund Declaration Form (PDF; 191 KB)Footnote*, which must be received by DFATD on or before January 15, 2016, for its donations to be counted toward the relief fund." One could say that allowing such a long period increases the amount that would go into that fund. On the other hand does this mean that the Fund will only be determined after January 15, 2016 and funds will flow at some point thereafter? Does not seem like a very quick response to an urgent situation.
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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.