Osama Bin Laden is dead - how will this affect Canadian charities and avoiding terrorist abuse?

May 02, 2011 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law, Global Giving, Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

President Obama announced on TV tonight that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  With the death of the most high-profile terrorist it could result in a further decline in Al Qaeda’s fortunes or it could result in a resurgence of retaliatory attacks.  What impact will this have on Canadian charities, if any?  Well coincidentally about two weeks ago the CRA busted what appears to be probably the biggest Canadian charity funding a listed terrorist organization from Canada. Here is more information on that deregistration http://ow.ly/4KUol Canadian charities need to be vigilant, not obsessive, complacent or complicit.  Canadian charities should review CRA’s brief checklist on avoiding terrorist abuse.

CRA’s “Checklist for Charities on Avoiding Terrorist Abuse” can be found at:

Here are some other resources that may be helpful.

Canadian Charities and Terrorism: Preventing Abuse of Your Favourite Canadian Charity

Here is a free archived webinar entitled “Avoiding Extreme Misuse of Charitable Assets: Fraud, Money Laundering, and Terrorism” that I prepared as part of the Charity Law Information Program and supported in part by the Charities Partnership Outreach Program of the CRA: https://ocsa.webex.com/ocsa/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=TC&rID=440632&rKey=dabdc720d228c0e6&act=pb

As an aside Canadian charities wanting to comply with the rules and conduct charitable activities abroad in a legally compliant manner should see CRA new guidance on foreign activities at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/plcy/cgd/tsd-cnd-eng.html

Suspected links to terrorism should be reported to the RCMP’s National Security Information Line at 1-800-420-5805 or the National Security Information Network on the web. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cont/nisn-risn-eng.htm

Also let CRA know at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/chrts/cntct/cmplnts-eng.html or call 1-800-267-2384

Canadian charities should look carefully at their internal controls and how they are ensuring that funds and resources sent abroad are spent only on charitable activities.

Unless there are dramatic events following Bin Laden’s death it is likely that his death will have little impact on Canadian charities operating abroad.  But Bin Laden’s death and the revocation of IRFAN are a reminder that charities need to be aware of the possibility of them being exploited by terrorists and that relatively straightforward measures can reduce substantially the risk of the charity being abused.

Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?


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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