Here is a copy of the Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List – May 2008 with articles on subjects such as the Burma Cyclone and Sanctions, Flow-Through Share donations schemes, risk management and volunteers, planned giving in a global world, the Banyan Tree Foundation etc

Blumbergs Canadian Charity Law List – May 2008

1) Burma Cyclone May 2008 – Canadian Aid groups need to be aware of sanctions relating to Burma

The recent Cyclone Nargis in Burma has killed many people and caused tremendous devastation. I was not planning on sending out a newsletter in May but the recent events in Burma are a cause for concern. Many Canadian charities are treating the Burmese situation like any other natural disaster – not aware of or compliant with the Canadian sanctions against Burma. Well meaning Canadians should be careful to respond appropriately in order to ensure that their donations will be effectively used and that they are complying with the law. Canadian organizations need to carefully consider their approaches to the cyclone. Canadian individuals and charities need to be aware that in December 2007 Canada enacted the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). These are very tight sanctions with only very limited exceptions. Any international
development or humanitarian aid organization that is interested in providing direct or indirect assistance to the people of Burma should carefully consider the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations. The consequences of not following the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations include fines and/or imprisonment. Disaster relief in Burma is going to be particularly complicated due to the difficult political situation in Burma. This is not the time for well meaning but inexperienced organizations to act on their own. CRA today has put out a pamphlet entitled “Disaster relief – information for organizations” ( and “Disaster relief – information for donors” ( which will hopefully provide some basic information to charities and donors with respect to Burma and also the
recent earthquake in China.

2) Are Canadian flow-through share donation schemes “Kleptophilanthropy”?

Packaged flow-through share charity donation arrangements are being touted by certain promoters who stand to make a tremendous financial gain if they are widely used. This article discusses some of the negatives associated with such schemes and encourage the Ministry of Finance to explicitly prohibit double or triple dipping into tax benefits.

3) Bequests in Wills to Charities: Avoiding Legal and Ethical Problems when Supporting Good Causes – a recent presentation to the Ontario Bar Association

In the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) Continuing Legal Education Program “Righting Wills IV: Essential Tips for Practitioners” on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, I delivered a presentation on “Bequests in Wills to Charities: Avoiding Legal and Ethical Problems when Supporting Good Causes”. It covered topics such as why bequests are important, when to use them and their drawbacks, 15 common legal mistakes and 5 ethical concerns for lawyers in dealing with bequests as well as sample language for bequests to charities and related issues.

4) 2008 Index of Global Philanthropy provides useful information for Canadians

The Hudson Institute Center for Global Prosperity 2008 Index of Global Philanthropy is an excellent resource for comparative statistics on global philanthropy, official development assistance and remittances. In this brief article, I have looked at the Canadian figures contained in the report.

5) Planned Giving in a Global World

“Planned Giving in a Global World” is my presentation at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) 2008 national convention. The presentation discusses planned giving by Canadian charities for projects outside of Canada including basic information that a planned giving officer needs to know to allow for planned gifts in support of charitable activities outside of Canada. It also discusses the legal requirements and restrictions for Canadian charities operating abroad; examples of charities losing their status for non-compliance with CRA requirements; different organizational models for charities operating abroad; common mistakes and concerns with charities operating outside of Canada; and an overview of recent developments and flexibility in charities operating abroad.

6) Volunteer Risk Management for Canadian non-profits and charities

Volunteers are one of the most important assets of non-profit and charitable organizations in Canada. Risk management is an important part of proper stewardship of the assets of a non-profit or charity. Failure to manage risks can result in damage to the non-profit including injuries to people or assets, financial costs to the non-profit and, perhaps most importantly, loss of reputation and goodwill. This article encourages Canadian charities to make greater use of volunteers and discusses 35 ideas for risk management and reducing the risks associated with volunteers.

7) Banyan Tree Foundation, law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain sued for $55m in class action lawsuit

A Hamilton law firm has recently brought a class action lawsuit against a number of parties for their involvement with the Banyan Tree Foundation including the law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain. The Statement of Claim and press release are interesting to read. The allegations in the statement of claim have yet to be proven in court.

8) Reasons for a U.S. Charity to set up in Canada

This article suggests 10 reasons why a US charity may wish to fundraise in Canada and to consider encouraging the creation of a Canadian sister charity.

9) List of Foreign Countries and the Canadian Charities that operate in those countries

In these three attached schedules, I provide a list of Foreign Countries and the Canadian Charities that operate in each of those countries from the 2006 T3010 data. The countries are divided up into A-H, I-R, S-Z. As an example, if you are interested in Canadian charities that operate in Israel there is a list of the charities that self-identified as operating in Israel.

10) CRA Model Objects

The CRA has provided some suggestions for model objects for Canadian charities which will assist some charities at the incorporation stage.


PwC has partnered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Queen’s School of Business to create the first Voluntary Sector Reporting Awards in Canada, which was launched on Monday May 5, 2008. These awards aim to recognize volunteer organizations that practice transparent reporting. For a link see

I am currently attending the annual meeting of the Canadian Coalition for International Cooperation (CCIC) in Ottawa which runs from May 22-24, 2008. I will be presenting the Ethics Review Committee report at the AGM.

If you require legal services with respect to non-profits or charities please contact myself at or at 416-361-1982 x. 237

For further information on legal resources for Canadian Non-Profits and Charities please visit the Blumbergs’ Canadian Non-Profits and Charities page or

Hope that you found the above material helpful and please feel free to forward the e-mail newsletter to anyone who you think may be interested. They can also sign up to the BLUMBERGS non-profit and charities law newsletter, among other newsletters, at Blumbergs’ Newsletter Page

Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., TEP

Blumberg Segal LLP
Barristers & Solicitors
390 Bay Street, Suite 1202
Toronto, Ontario, M5H-2Y2

Tel. (416) 361-1982 ext. 237
Fax. (416) 363-8451