We are pleased to announce that we will be holding a full-day event on international philanthropy on April 12, 2019: Blumbergs' International Philanthropy Conference 2019. See below for more details and we hope to see you there.

Over 5000 Canadian registered charities operate outside of Canada and they cumulatively spend over $4 billion per year on foreign activities. Canadian Charities receive over $2.5 billion per year from foreign sources. International philanthropy is very important but also increasingly complicated. Good intentions are not enough. There are significant risks and compliance issues when Canadian charities conduct foreign activities or foreign donors wish to donate to Canadian charities.

Blumbergs’ International Philanthropy Conference 2019 is a full day of presentations and discussions from various charity law and compliance experts that will include 3 parts:   

1) Fundamentals of Foreign Activities

The morning will consist of a 3-hour presentation by Mark Blumberg on the Fundamentals of Foreign Activities. The presentation will discuss international activities by Canadian charities and related regulatory issues.  Some charities operating abroad are not aware of, or compliant with, their legal requirements and foreign activities has been an area that has been scrutinized by CRA in its audits and can result in revocation of charitable status if the rules are not followed. Some of the issues discussed include:

  • Ideas for doing good abroad that do not involve registered charities
  • Some general considerations for Canadian charities carrying on activities outside of Canada
  • Review of the importance of international philanthropy
  • An overview of the Income Tax Act (Canada) regulatory framework governing the 5,000 Canadian charities conducting foreign activities
  • The distinction between qualified donees and non-qualified donees
  • A detailed discussion of CRA publication “Canadian Registered Charities Carrying Out Activities Outside Canada” on:
    • Direction and control over resources
    • Avoiding being a “conduit”
    • Abiding by local laws
    • Risk Management for international activities
    • Types of permissible relationships for Canadian charities operating abroad
    • Avoiding misuse of charitable assets
    • Charitable goods policy
    • Keeping books and records in Canada
    • Challenges in dealing with natural disasters
    • Transfers of Capital property to local partners
  • Misuse of international activities for private gain and abusive charity gifting tax shelters
  • Due diligence and procedures to avoid terrorist abuse
  • Inflated valuation of pharmaceuticals for developing countries
  • More in-depth discussion of books and records
  • Some important ethical issues with foreign activities
  • Can “local ownership” be compatible with “direction and control”.

2) CRA audits and foreign activity charities

CRA audits Canadian charities that conduct foreign activities.   Gary Huenemoeder will discuss the audit process, what CRA is looking for and how charities should respond to an audit.

3) Challenges and Recent Changes to Non-Profit Law and Regulation in Asia

Mark Sidel will discuss the regulation of non-profits and foreign charities operating in Asia as an example of the types of complexity and issues that face philanthropists and charities carrying out work in Asia and around the world. He’s the lead author of a recent report from the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) on nonprofit and philanthropic regulation in Asia and his presentation will discuss their most recent findings.

For example, China now has two years of experience in implementing recently a restrictive new law constraining the activities of foreign NGOs, foundations, universities and other nonprofits in China, the Law on the Management of the Domestic Activities of Foreign Nongovernmental Organizations. Recently China also adopted an omnibus domestic nonprofit code, the Charity Law. There has been significant concern and many questions in the international community about these developments, particularly the recent Foreign NGO Law. He’ll also talk about recent developments in India and elsewhere.

As most of the world’s population is in Asia and there is significant need in Asia, it provides a case study of restrictions and challenges with foreign activities.     

Cost: $225.00 (includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, materials, registration fees).  REGISTER HERE

(There is an early bird discount (code “International2019”) for a $50 discount.   It expires March 12, 2019.)

Blumbergs’ International Philanthropy Conference 2019 will be of interest to staff at non-profits and registered charities responsible for compliance issues especially program and finance staff, professional advisors such as lawyers and accountants who advise charities and non-profits, and board members of Canadian charities.


Mark Blumberg is a charity lawyer based in Toronto with Blumberg Segal LLP and has worked for over 20 years on issues relating to non-profits, registered charities and philanthropy, in Canada and abroad. Mark has written and lectured extensively on these topics. He is the editor of two blogs namely http://www.CanadianCharityLaw.ca and http://www.GlobalPhilanthropy.ca™ and manages http://www.charitydata.ca and http://www.smartgiving.ca.

Gary Huenemoeder has 37 years of experience at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) including spending 16 years as Team Leader Charities Audit for all of Ontario. Gary has extensive knowledge of charity audits, Income Tax Act requirements and CRA guidance regarding charitable and not for profit organizations. 

Mark Sidel is Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a specialist in the law and policy affecting nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in China, Vietnam, India, and the United States.  He serves as a consultant for The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (“ICNL”) for work in China and Vietnam.  Mark has served as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), and other institutions.  He also served in program positions for the Ford Foundation in Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok and New Delhi; in China he developed and managed the Foundation's work in law and governance (including the nonprofit sector); in Vietnam he established and managed the Foundation's country program; and in India he developed a new regional South Asian program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Mark has consulted widely on legal reform, civil society, philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and human trafficking issues.  Assignments include the Ford Foundation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asia Foundation, Resource Alliance, Oxfam, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and a number of other donors and NGOs.  Mark has published widely on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy in Asia and the United States.  His books include Regulation of the Voluntary Sector: Freedom and Security in an Era of Uncertainty (Routledge); Law and Society in Vietnam (Cambridge University Press); Philanthropy and Law in South Asia (with Zaman, APPC); More Secure, Less Free: Antiterrorism Policy and Civil Liberties after September 11 (University of Michigan Press); and other volumes.

If you have questions please call Daniela Campos at 416-361-1982 extension 252 or e-mail daniela@blumbergs.ca  

For lawyers this event qualifies for 6 hours of Law Society of Ontario (LSUC) Substantive Hours but does not qualify for Professionalism Hours.   

Timing and content is subject to change.  There are a limited number of spaces available for this conference. 

Tickets are fully refundable until March 12, 2019 but not thereafter.   If you register and are unable to attend, you are welcome to substitute someone else from your organization at any time. Dates and locations may be subject to change should circumstances arise.  All efforts will be made to notify you as soon as possible in this event.

To find out more about legal services that Blumbergs provides to Canadian charities and non-profits please visit www.canadiancharitylaw.cawww.globalphilanthropy.ca or www.charitydata.ca.