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.
In the last week there has been a large number of articles in the Canadian media on Canadian charities and political activities. I would make a few preliminary points that sometimes get lost in the coverage.
In the 2012 Federal Budget the Conservative government announced that it was allocating $8 million for various initiatives related to charities and political activities. More recently papers have been describing a $13 million budget. I wondered about the difference and wrote to CRA to request a clarification. Here is what I heard back from CRA.
Finally. It took more than 3 years but CRA has identified that it has revoked a charity for in part having "ineligible individuals" controlling the organization. I was sure that I was going to die of old age before that ever happened! Amongst a number of grounds CRA notes "The audit also revealed that the board of directors of the Organization includes “ineligible individuals” as defined in the Act. In particular, two directors of the Organization were directors of The Heaven’s Gate Healing Ministry at a time when it engaged in conduct which constituted a serious breach of the requirements for registration under the Act, for which its registration was revoked in 2009."
In May, Cathy Hawara, the Director General of the Charities Directorate delivered a speech which touches on a number of important issues such as the constitutional framework for charities, political activities by registered charities, independence of the regulator, compliance approach and IT modernization. It is well worth reading.
The Canadian Charity Law Association is presenting some webinars. For more information see: www.charitylawassociation.ca or https://www.facebook.com/CanadianCharityLawAssociation
In October 2013 there were only 1800 continuances according to Industry Canada from the old CCA to the new CNCA. That number has now jumped to 4175 corporations by May 31, 2014 and is probably higher over the last 5 weeks. That being said there are about 19,000 Federal corporations and many clearly need to continue or face dissolution after October 17, 2014. For registered charities dissolution will also eventually result in loss of registered charity status.