The Toronto Star has written about a Canadian charity named HEDAC in an article entitled “Toronto charity goes from zero to $60M in a year”
Toronto charity goes from zero to $60M in a year
November 16, 2011 10:11:00
Raveena Aulakh and Amy Dempsey
A Toronto charity that went from receiving zero donor dollars one year to $60 million the next raised “serious red flags” for an independent agency that evaluates Canadian charities.
Help Eliminate Disease and Addiction Canada, or Hedac, came under scrutiny when directors did not respond to repeated requests for its audited financial statements, said Greg Thomson, director of research at Charity Intelligence Canada.
Charity Intelligence, which requested the information as part of its study of the country’s 100 richest charities, eventually obtained Hedac’s full financial statements by making a special request with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Charity Intelligence found that Hedac, with offices on Bathurst St. in Vaughan, took in no donor dollars in 2007 and a whopping $60.7 million a year later. And it made that jump with a staff of zero, its records indicate.
“Something strange is happening there,” Thomson said. “You’ve got big players bringing in a lot less than that with hundreds of staff.”
Charity Intelligence found a similar surge — from thousands one year to $120 million the next — in its analysis of Toronto’s Malvern Rouge Valley Youth Services, which was stripped of its charitable status on Friday after auditors found that it participated in a $112 million donation scheme.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Stephen Bloom, who is listed as Hedac’s co-director on documents filed with the CRA, said he is only a volunteer. He said an organization called the Relief Lending Group was behind the zero to $60 million jump and refused to provide further detail.
Relief Lending Group, formerly the Canadian Institute of International Philanthropy, is a known tax shelter — a scheme that allows donors to minimize tax payments by giving to charity.
Hedac’s website says its mission is to help victims and families of addiction in Canada and to give “pharmaceutical assistance to the impoverished worldwide.”
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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.