Political Activities and Canadian charities

November 24, 2016

Recording available for CCLA webinar by Mark Blumberg on CRA’s political activities consultation

Mark Blumberg recently presented a webinar for the Canadian Charity Law Association (CCLA) to discuss CRA’s consultation on political activities and the importance of Canadian charities conducting political activities.   The deadline for submissions to CRA has been extended to December 14, 2016.

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November 24, 2016

Deadline for CRA consultation submissions on political activities extended

CRA recently announced that the deadline for online submissions for its political activities consultation has been extended to December 14th, 2016.  The CRA is looking for feedback on the rules and CRA's guidance relating to political activities. You can email your submissions to CRA at consultation-policy-politique@cra-arc.gc.ca.

November 09, 2016

Some basic questions charities should ask if they are considering political activities

If your charity is considering conducting political activities here are some basic questions you might want to ask:

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November 03, 2016

Mark Blumberg’s article “CRA consultation on political activities – to submit or not to submit?”

I recently wrote an article for Hilborn entitled "CRA consultation on political activities – to submit or not to submit?"  Here is the text of the article:

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November 02, 2016

An ICN Webinar – CRA Regulations and the Political Activities of Charities

I am pleased to be co-presenting to the ICN a webinar on "CRA Regulations and the Political Activities of Charities".

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October 29, 2016

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014 - focus on Ontario registered charities

We are proud to present the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014.  The data subset used is the CRA's 2014 T3010 data but only for registered charities based in Ontario.   

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October 26, 2016

CCLA Webinar to discuss the CRA’s new consultation on political activities with Mark Blumberg

As many know the CRA has launched a consultation on political activities by Canadian charities.  The Canadian Charity Law Association will be having Mark Blumberg present a webinar on the consultation and various ways of responding or not responding to it. The webinar will be on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12:00PM EST.  You can register here for the webinar.  It is free but there is limited space.  

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October 22, 2016

Charities Directorate Political Activities Education and Information Plan

As part of the CRA focus on political activities the CRA did some educational activities and awareness raising about the rules for Canadian charities conducting political activities.  Here is a copy of the Charities Directorate Political Activities Education and Information Plan.

October 15, 2016

CRA Q&A on Charity Sector regulation and political activities

Here is a CRA Questions and Answers on Charity Sector regulation and political activities from 2012 that was obtained through access to information.  It discusses the Charities Directorate's role, strategic priorities, how charities will be selected for audit, and other matters.

October 08, 2016

Draft CRA Communications Strategy in January 2013 on charities and political activities

Here is the Draft CRA Communications Strategy from January 2013 on charities and political activities. The comms strategy discusses CRA's response to the 2012 Federal Budget changes affecting Canadian charities and political activities.    

October 04, 2016

Imagine Canada’s Sector Monitor on Political Activities by Canadian charities 2016

Imagine Canada has put out a very interesting report on a survey of Canadian charities and their answers relating to political activities.  The Sector Monitor report is prepared by David Lasby of Imagine Canada and is well worth reading.  One of the conclusions was "Likelihood of reporting negative effects increased with intensity of engagement in public policy. However, while negative effects are common, this does not appear to have resulted in decreased engagement in public policy."

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October 01, 2016

CRA critical path, process + performance measurement framework for charity political activity audits

Here is a copy of a few documents from the Charities Directorate dealing with the political activities audit conducted by the CRA.   CRA released under access to information, their critical path, process and performance measurement framework for charity political activity audits.  If you want more information about charities and political activities see our web directory Political Activities and Canadian charities.

September 27, 2016

CRA launches consultation on political activities by Canadian registered charities

The CRA today launched its political activity consultation.  It reinforces the importance of charities being engaged in the political process. The CRA is looking for feedback on the rules and CRA's guidance.  People or organizations have until November 25, 2016 to provide comments.   We have provided a large amount of documents and analysis on the issue of charities and political activities in our political activities and Canadian charities directory.  

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September 26, 2016

CRA to launch consultation on charities and political activities

The CRA has issued a media advisory that the "Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, will launch public consultations to clarify the rules regarding the involvement of registered charities in political activities."  She will make the announcement tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27, 2016 in Ottawa. This consultation will give the public an opportunity to express their views on charities and political activities.  

We have provided a large amount of documents and analysis on the issue of charities and political activities in our political activity directory.  We will be helping various organizations with their discussions and submissions on this important topic.  

September 24, 2016

CRA analysis of charities that disclosed on T3010 they did political activities

We recently obtained a copy of the CRA analysis of charities that disclosed on the T3010 they did political activities.  In a note from Bryan McLean, Director of Policy, Planning and Legislation Division of CRA to Cathy Hawara the then current Director General of the Charities Directorate, Mr. McLean includes a summary of the percentage of Canadian charities that identified on the T3010 that they conducted political activities and also the names of those charities.  

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September 17, 2016

CRA Assessment of Political Activities Audit Program against Oct 2012 Compliance Framework

Last week we posted the CRA Compliance Framework for Files with Identified Political Activities. Now here is the draft CRA Assessment of Charities Directorate Political Activities Audit Program against Oct 2012 Compliance Framework.  It was prepared by the Charities Directorate of the CRA around September 17, 2014 to review how the Charities Directorate was doing in relation to the October 2012 compliance framework.  

September 15, 2016

Modernizing charity law in Canada is for now a Pandora’s box

The Liberal Government has made some noises about modernizing charity law.  Who could be opposed to modernization?  As there is no idea as to what "modernization" means, it has opened up all sorts of calls for changes to charity law in Canada - many of the ideas would be expensive, counterproductive, stifling, or ultimately destroy the positive reputation of the charity sector.  Wikipedia defines a Pandora's box as "a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something."  Although only time will tell, it appears that "modernizing charity law" has a small upside and a very large downside.  

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September 10, 2016

CRA Compliance Framework for Files with Identified Political Activities

Here is a copy of the CRA Compliance Framework for Files with Identified Political Activities from the Charities Directorate of the CRA.   It is dated October 9, 2012.  It provides some answers to some of the questions around how were charities identified for audit.  Next week we will post a follow up document namely the "Assessment of Charities Directorate Political Activities Audit Program against October 2012 Compliance Framework".

September 07, 2016

CRA presentation on the Regulation of Charities - Overview September 2014

Here is a copy of a CRA Powerpoint presentation slide deck on the Regulation of Charities - Overview - September 2014.  It provides some useful information including the CRA's audit plan.  For example, the audit plan shows that CRA planned on auditing in 2014/15 32 registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (RCAAAs).  That is a pretty large number as there are only 119 RCAAAs in total.   Political activity audits in that same period only accounted for 2% of CRA audits.  Only 4% of charities audited resulted in CRA issuing an notice of intention to revoke.  

September 06, 2016

Canada Without Poverty charter challenge to political activity rules of Canadian charities

A Canadian charity has launched a charter challenge against the restrictions on registered charities in carrying out political activities. They argue that it violates freedom of speech and assembly amongst other things.  The CBC covered it in an article entitled "Anti-poverty group launches challenge of political-activity limits".

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September 04, 2016

Copy of the CRA Ministerial Transition Briefing Binder from November 2015 - labelled “secret”

We have uploaded a copy of the "secret" CRA Ministerial Transition Briefing Binder provided to the new Minister of Revenue Diane Lebouthillier in November 2015.  It was obtained pursuant to access to information.  It covers the mundane matters such as roles and responsibilities and an introduction/overview to the CRA and goes on to discuss top issues that the CRA has to deal with including the "tax gap", FACTA, BC and Ontario housing market, charities and political activities, international collaboration on tax avoidance  etc.  The document as a whole provides a good civics lesson and context from the CRA perspective as to the role and responsibilities the CRA which is an important agency within the Federal government.  It is searchable if you are looking for something in particular. Over the next couple of months I will try to release every Saturday another CRA document on our website.     

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June 18, 2016

“Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund” - The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast has a rather extensive article on Donald Trump's use of the Trump Foundation entitled Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund.  It is well worth reading.  I have criticized the Clinton Foundation for some lapses when it came to transparency and especially the lame excuses they gave in response to questions.  Nothing that the Clinton's have done with their foundation seems to be even close to the seriousness of the allegations leveled against the Trump Foundation.

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May 27, 2016

AFP Toronto Fundraising Day:  The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities

I am pleased to be on a panel for AFP GTA Fundraising Day with Caroline Riseboro, Bruce MacDonald, Hilary Pearson, and Stewart Wong.  The topic of the panel will be "The Time is Now: Government Relations for Canadian Charities".

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April 14, 2016

Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2014

We have just released the Blumbergs' Snapshot of the Canadian Charity Sector 2014 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project.  This is the fifth snapshot provided by Blumbergs of the Canadian charity sector. The database covers about 84,500 of the 86,000 registered charities in Canada that had filed their T3010 for the 2014 year and were processed into CRA’s Charity Listing database by February 2016. 

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March 15, 2016

AFP GTA Fundraising Day 2016

I look forward to the AFP GTA Fundraising Day 2016 which will be held on June 9, 2016.  There will be various speakers and panels.  I  will be on a panel with Bruce MacDonald (Imagine Canada), Hilary Pearson (PFC), Caroline Riseboro (Plan International), Stewart Wong (Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital) dealing with the importance of government relations.

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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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