January 26, 2013
The Charities Directorate has released a new T3010 (13) Registered Charity Information Return for Canadian registered charities with fiscal year ends after January 1, 2013. The changes on the T3010 (13) are basically more questions about the political activities of Canadian charities as a result of the 2012 Federal Budget. Canadian charities will need to answer more questions on political activities in Section C5; and fill out a new Schedule 7, Political Activities. If your fiscal year end is in 2012 then use the old T3010-1 - otherwise, for those with fiscal year ends after January 1, 2013 use the new T3010 (13). As pointed out to me by Steven Ayer of Common Good Strategies there are also an additional question on receipted foreign funds, more country codes and other small changes.
January 16, 2013
Here is what promises to be a great workshop being organized by the The Carleton Centre for Community Innovation and the School of Public Policy and Administration on public policy advocacy. It is led by Sean Moore and is available for free.
January 13, 2013
CRA’s Guidance on political activities was updated in December 2012. There are some minor changes to reflect changes to the disbursement quota and recent budgets including the 2012 Federal Budget dealing with political activities and Canadian charities. The CRA had noted at the Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law Institute on November 28, 2012 that CPS-022 was in the process of revision. These revisions took place on December 11, 2012. It is not clear whether there will be further revisions although it appears that there is nothing immediately on the horizon in terms of changes to CPS-022.
January 12, 2013
The Canadian Department of Finance has released through Freedom of Information a Q&A on Budget 2012 and Canadian charities and political activities.
January 12, 2013
The Canadian Department of Finance has released a memo on “Reaction to Budget 2012 Charitable Sector Proposals”
January 10, 2013
Here is a copy of a memo marked “Secret” and attachments from the Department of Finance on Finance released under Freedom of Information dealing with “Registered Charities - Political Activities, Foreign Funding and Transparency”.
December 20, 2012
On February 12, 2013 I will be making a presentation as part of Maytree’s Five Good Ideas series on “Five Good Ideas about Registered Charities and Political Activities”
December 04, 2012
We recently reviewed the T3010 information for 2011. The database was prepared by the Charities Directorate of CRA in September 2012 and covers about 81,000 charities (94% of Canadian registered charities) and their 2011 T3010 returns.
Canadian registered charities are currently required to disclose on the T3010 “Did the Charity Carry on Political Activities During the Fiscal Year?” (line 2400) and “Enter the Total Amount spent by the Charity on these activities” (line 5000)
Please review my caveats at the end about the reliability and usage of T3010 information.
November 30, 2012
This last week I was involved with 2 events in which members of the Charities Directorate spoke on the subject of political activities. First, on Wednesday, Linda Desrochers, Director of the Determinations Section of the Charities Directorate, spoke on recent developments including political activities and the 2012 budget at the Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute on November 28, 2012. Secondly, on Thursday November 29, 2012 I spoke at the Canadian Council for Refugees’ Fall Consultation in Toronto on a panel with Zachary Euler of the Common Law Policy and Public Education Section of the Charities Directorate.
November 21, 2012
On November 28, 2012 we will be having the Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute in Toronto. It will be a full day of practical legal and ethical compliance information geared toward charities, professional advisors and those interested in regulatory issues affecting charities.
Delighted to have 120 registrants so far for the program.
Some of the highlights include:
•head of the Determinations Division of the Charities Directorate of CRA, which determines whether charitable applications will be accepted, will talk about issues with applying for charitable status;
•lawyers from the Ontario government will discuss progress and issues with the new Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act (ONCA);
•a representative of Corporations Canada of Industry Canada will provide a short primer on the Canada Not-for-profit Corporation Act (CNCA) and transition requirements as well as deficiencies with the applications that Industry Canada is receiving and common questions asked by practitioners.
•a top corporate lawyer will focus on lessons learned, issues and challenges with the CNCA and what to expect with the ONCA;
•hearing directly from CRA about changes relating to political activities of Canadian charities, other policy developments and upcoming guidances;
•discussion of major challenges with receipting and unacceptable donor restrictions;
•recent changes in transparency and availability of charity information from a transparency expert;
•update from Mark Blumberg on the charity sector, recent developments and the ongoing political processes in Ottawa affecting charities and donors;
•and much more.
Here is a link to the information and registration page: http://charitylaw.eventbrite.com
November 17, 2012
I will be delivering a free presentation in Calgary entitled “Advocacy and Political Activities for Canadian Registered Charities: Some Legal and Ethical Perspectives”.
November 11, 2012
Bloomberg News has done a story on how a PR firm has been using charities to promote the interests of various clients and whether this violates certain US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.
September 08, 2012
I will be delivering for the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation a full day workshop entitled “Charity Law Boot Camp: compliance and standards issues for Canadian Charities”. It will be on October 12 at Carleton University.
July 19, 2012
Here is a copy of a letter from the Charities Directorate to the Hindu Temple Society of Canada. It is interesting for a number of reasons in that it discusses penalties for making gifts to non-qualified donees and the imposition of both a compliance agreement and a penalty. Furthermore, the letters discuss funding by the Hindu Temple Society of Canada of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and the issue of the involvement of Canadian charities in political activities such as Tamil independence in Sri Lanka.
July 05, 2012
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Ross McMillan, President & CEO of Tides Canada, at the Economic Club on June 27, 2012. He spoke eloquently on the role of environmental charities and the current debate around Canadian charites involved with political activities. Here is a copy of the speech on the Tides Canada website that he delivered.
June 27, 2012
According to the Globe and Mail “An environmental charity at the centre of controversy surrounding political activism and foreign donations is taking the rare step of releasing a detailed account of grant recipients and international donors in an effort to stem attacks by Conservative politicians.” It will be interesting to see how much this disclosure adds to the disclosure that TIDES US has already made which I discussed in March.
June 12, 2012
Canadian registered charities are not allowed to make donations to political parties. The Calgary Herald in an article entitled “U of C documents point to political donations that may have contravened election law” states “Thousands of dollars in “indirect contributions” apparently flowed from the University of Calgary to the Alberta Progressive Conservative party, according to documents obtained by the Herald on Friday through freedom of information laws.” The matter is being investigated by the chief electoral officer and none of the allegations have been proven.
June 09, 2012
Here is a short article that I wrote entitled “Focus on Canadian Charities and Political Activities” for the Canadian Donor’s Guide in May 2012.
June 09, 2012
The Ontario Council for International Cooperation will be having its 2012 AGM and Conference. There will be a number of interesting discussions on international development and humanitarian assistance.
June 04, 2012
There have been a number of articles dealing with Canadian charities and political activities over the last few weeks. Here are some of them:
June 02, 2012
A few weeks ago CRA revoked the charitable status of an environmental group for involvement in an abusive gifting tax scheme. Sorry to disappoint some but no political activities here.
June 01, 2012
The Standing Committee on Finance dealt with the charity provisions in the 2012 Federal Budget on May 28, 2012 from approximately 7 p.m. to 9 pm. The subject matter was “Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures”. Despite the title the meeting was interesting - no I don’t mean interesting for me from a charity geek perspective but actually could be interesting for any regular citizen. There was some heated discussion about the role of charities. You had Ethical Oil, the west coast blogger Vivian Krause, the CEO of Imagine Canada, Dennis Howlett from Canadians for Tax Fairness, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and myself. (Also on non-charity matters, not admitting that such a thing exists, there were reps from PDAC which represents mining companies and the Grain Growers of Canada).
May 18, 2012
Here is an excerpt from a speech by Cathy Hawara, Director General of the Charities Directorate of the CRA on the issue of Canadian charities and political activities.