Canadian Charities Operating Abroad - Presentation to the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto

November 22, 2007 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: Charity Law In Canada, Canadian Charities Operating Abroad

In this presentation I provide an overview of issues for Canadian charities operating abroad especially Jewish charities interested in operating in Israel, the US and the rest of the world.  I specifically discuss certain issues with respect to Israel and I also provide a list of all Canadian charities that identify themselves as operating in Israel or the Middle East.  The presentation also includes a list of “Jewish/Israeli” charities that operate outside of Canada ordered by the amount of the contributions over that they spend outside of Canada.

Here is my presentation Canadian Charities Operating Abroad - Presentation to the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto on December 11, 2007 along with two attachments on Canadian charities operating in Israel and the Middle East and Jewish/Israeli oriented charities operating outside of Canada.

Limitations and Caveats

This information on which countries Canadian charities are conducting projects comes from the 2004 T3010 Registered Charity Information Return and specifically Q. C5 “For programs the charity managed directly, outside of Canada, list the countries or regions where programs were carried on. Do not include countries or regions where programs were managed by a qualified donee.”

There are a number of problems in dealing with the information from the T3010A.

1) It is based on the 2004 T3010 information filings. So it is not up-to-date.

2) Although an important legal document, the T3010 is often filled out by volunteers or others who have little understanding of the nuances of the Income Tax Act, may have limited language skills, in some cases, may not have easy access to the correct information and are often in a hurry to file the form to avoid deregistration.

3) In question C5 dealing with the list of countries or regions where programs were carried out the form provides only ten boxes. Clearly some charities conduct operation in more than 10 countries or regions.

4) The fact that a charity is allowed to list regions, in addition to or instead of specific countries, will always undercut the accuracy of the statistics on countries.

5) If one carefully reads the list of regions and countries one will find that there are all sorts of inaccuracies either on the T3010 that was filed or on CRA’s inputting of the information.

6) The list that I was provided by CRA is in both French and English and I have translated it into English in order to better aggregate the information.

With respect to the Jewish/Israeli organization listed in the presentation I looked at all Canadian charities that self identified that they operate outside of Canada and that spent over $10,000 abroad and made a list based on their names and in some cases did some google searching and review of their T3010 activity information to check.  Hardly scientific and there could be organizations that are included on the list that are not “Jewish” or “Israeli” and other organizations included on the list that are neither. 

Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?


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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