We assist Canadian charities, their staff and boards of directors, to understand their legal and ethical obligations when operating a Canadian registered charity and provide insights and information to non-Canadian charities interested in operating or fundraising in Canada.
The charitable sector in Canada has become more challenging. It is highly competitive with over 86,000 Canadian registered charities. As well donors, regulators, media, the public as well as other stakeholders, have increasingly high expectations of charities and how they operate. We assist charities in Canada grapple with these important legal and standards issues.
Here is an article entitled Canadian Charities Conducting International Activities (2015). It will be of interest to Canadian charities that are, or considering, operating outside of Canada.
Over 5000 Canadian registered charities operate outside of Canada and they cumulatively spend around $3 billion per year on foreign activities. The Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities is a 1/2 day presentation with charity lawyer Mark Blumberg which discusses international activities by Canadian charities and related regulatory issues. The first Fundamentals of International Activities by Canadian Registered Charities will be held on Tuesday September 22, 2015 from 1PM-4PM. Some charities operating abroad are not aware of, or compliant with, their legal requirements and foreign activities has been an area that has been scrutinized by CRA in its audits and can result in revocation of charitable status if the rules are not followed.
The involvement of charities in political activities has been a major story since 2012. The 2012 Federal Budget introduced new reporting requirements for charities for 2013 but does not fundamentally affect the ability of charities to engage in political activities. Significant resources have been provided to the Charities Directorate to audit charities who conduct political activities. On Tuesday September 22, 2015 we will conduct a 1/2 day program from 9AM-12PM entitled Fundamentals of Political Activities by Canadian Registered Charities.
I was delighted to present as part of a panel at the Université de Montréal Charity Law Conference 2015 on May 8, 2015. The panel was entitled The Modern Charities Regulator and my presentation was entitled "Overview of the Regulatory Environment in Canada for Registered Charities".
In a decision on April 9, 2015 in the Federal court The Honourable Madam Justice Mactavish dealt with an issue of whether The International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) ("IRFAN") could use funds to pay past and future legal costs. IRFAN used to be a registered charity and then lost its charitable status and finally was in April 2014 added as a listed terrorist entity. Such listing effectively freezes the assets of IRFAN. IRFAN was alleged to have provided resources to Hamas, which is a listed terrorist organization.