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.
The US House and Senate are looking at major changes to the tax code that could have a significant impact on US donors and whether they receive any tax incentives for their donations. Now, 1 in 3 US donors may get a tax incentive when they donate to charity; with the proposed changes, only 1 in 20 US donors will receive a tax incentive for their donations. A number of US charity umbrella groups have been lobbying hard to prevent certain changes. We will know shortly whether the charity sector will be blindsided or if last minute amendments will occur. There are lots of lessons here for Canada.
Understanding legal compliance for registered charities is not easy but Blumbergs is offering 3 exciting new upcoming events in 2018 that will help. We will have our Canadian Charity Law Bootcamp in April which provides a full day overview of charity law regulation. Then in June we will have a half-day Fundamentals of the T3010 and Transparency for Canadian charities. In September we will have the half-day Fundamentals of Receipting by Canadian charities. Inaccurately completing the T3010 and improperly issuing receipts are the two most common compliance concerns for registered charities and these educational programs are designed to help charity directors, staff, and volunteers to tackle these challenges. You can find out more information below. Space is limited and these programs are not offered regularly - so if you think they could be of assistance to your charity then sign up now. Learning about compliance requirements for charities through educational programs can save your charity lots of money on legal fees and avoid tremendous anxiety.
As we have noted before the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 (Bill 154) has passed and today it received Royal Assent. It will make a number of changes to the current Ontario Corporations Act and also the upcoming Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) which will come into force in a few years. The Ontario Government position has not changed in that the Government has said that it would provide at least 2 years’ notice before ONCA is proclaimed.
The Ontario government has recently passed new legislation making certain changes to the Ontario Corporations Act (OCA). The changes received Royal Assent today. One of the most important changes is with respect to membership. Now, the directors of Ontario corporations will no longer have to be members. This gives Ontario corporations much more flexibility to structure their membership in a way that is in the long-term best interest of the corporation.
Apparently a class action lawsuit has been launched relating to the GLGI scheme. In a press release the lawyers for the plaintiffs note "the commencement of a proposed $800 million class action lawsuit against Global Learning Group Inc. (GLGI), and other individuals and entities involved in the development, structuring, creation, promotion and operation of the Global Learning Gifting Initiative Charitable Donation Program (the Gift Program), a complex leveraged charitable donation tax scheme that operated from 2004 to 2014."
The CRA has recently announced the launch of a new program called the Charities Education Program. The program is going to have CRA auditors visit charities but not in the normal audit capacity. The CRA anticipates that about 500 of these visits will take place per year. We will see how the program works out but there are going to be some reservations about this new initiative. If this is an educational program are CRA auditors the best people to do the program? Will charities be confused by this program and the difference between this program and the regular audit program? Could the resources being used for this program rather be used for responding to written correspondence and charity applications sooner, because they are both taking about a year right now? Time will tell how the program works out.