On the CRA database it has become apparent that CRA has recently revoked the charitable status of two religious organizations that conduct significant foreign activities. We have put in a request to CRA for information on why they were revoked. Unfortunately under the current rules even if CRA is aware of a problem with a charity it can only advise the public AFTER formal revocation has taken place. So the details available at this point are very sparse.
Canada has a mechanism to recognize certain foreign universities for purposes of donations. It is probably the most generous tax incentive system of any country in the world. Essentially if you are a degree granting university outside of Canada and you have 2 Canadian students generally studying at your university/college then you can apply to get on a list maintained by the Canada Revenue Agency. Once you are on the list you are considered to be a "qualified donee". That means you can issue Canadian official donation receipts under the Income Tax Act (Canada). WIth such status a Canadian who donates to your prescibed foreign university obtains the same benefits - of between 40 - 70% as if they had donated to a Canadian university.
We have just released our Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2015. Lots of interesting statistics and information on the Canadian charity sector. As well if you want information on individual charities or want to sort charities based on about 20 criteria checkout our charity data site at www.charitydata.ca.
The Vancouver Sun is reporting that North Shore Rescue is suing the Search and Rescue Society of B.C. over allegations that the latter groups has been using the name of the North Shore Rescue to raise money. It will be interesting to see what happens with the lawsuit. Here is the article "Charity denies wrongdoing in lawsuit over search-and-rescue fundraising". There is also a CBC article entitled "SARBC 'extremely shocked' over North Shore Rescue fundraising lawsuit".
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) are organizing a conference called "Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity" on Tuesday March 21, 2017. It will be in Washington but it will be live streamed for free for those who are interested. The live link will be available on the day of the conference.
The CRA has added a page on cause-related marketing page to the receipting part of their website. The CRA seems largely concerned that in some cases no official donation receipt should be issued when there is a cause related marketing arrangement between a Canadian charity and a for-profit company.
In August 2016 we launched a website to improve transparency on Canadian registered charities. It is at www.charitydata.ca We have just made a number of improvements to the website.
The CRA released a report today entitled Report on the Charities Program. It has lots of useful information on the charity sector, regulation of charities, statistics relating to the Charities Directorate and various new developments.
We are proud to present the Blumbergs’ Snapshot of the Ontario Charity Sector 2014. The data subset used is the CRA's 2014 T3010 data but only for registered charities based in Ontario.
Here is our article "Total revenue received from all sources outside Canada by Canadian Registered Charities in 2014". It provides a list of Canadian charities that received foreign income in their 2014 fiscal year. Foreign income for Canadian charities has risen to $1.8 billion - making it an important and growing source of revenue for Canadian charities.
The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal from the Opportunities for the Disabled Foundation v. The Queen (FCA).
Many non-profits and charities are not aware of the charitable fundraising regulations in Alberta. If a non-profit or charity is fundraising in Alberta and meets specific criteria under the Charitable Fundraising Act (the 'Act'), it may need to be registered. Generally, if a Canadian non-profit or charity intends to raise or raises more than $25,000 in Alberta from individuals in a financial year then the non-profit or charity would need to register under the Act.
The Excise and GST/HST Rulings Directorate of the CRA released a ruling in October 2015 which discusses the application of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) to a charity event.
[LINK TO UPDATED ARTICLE] Here is an article by Kate Robertson and Mark Blumberg on "Foreign Universities Applying for Prescribed University Status in Canada". It may be helpful for foreign universities that are looking to fundraise in Canada.
I will be presenting a webinar for Charity Village on January 28, 2016 on Top 20 Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities.
I recently contacted Industry Canada and they advised that as at December 18, 2015 there were 19,997 not-for-profit corporations under Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”) . The figure includes new incorporations, continuances from the CCA and continuances from other acts/jurisdictions. The number of continuance have slowed down with less than 50 per month being submitted to Industry Canada. The number of continuances to the CNCA was 12,525 as at December 5, 2015. There are also 3,163 not-for-profit corporations still under the Canada Corporations Act (“CCA”)
There has been a large amount of scrutiny of fundraising practices in the UK over the last number of years and especially the last few months. The Charity Commission of England and Wales has published new draft guidance "which states more clearly than ever that trustees must take responsibility for the fundraising undertaken by their charities."
The Conservative loss in the 2015 Federal election and the Liberal majority government will have some impact on the Canadian charity sector. Here is my article What does the 2015 Federal election mean for Canadian charities?
Here are the CRA letters from a number of recent Canadian registered charity revocations, annulments and penalties. These letters from CRA cover many different grounds for de-registration or the imposition of penalties.
Mark Blumberg will be team teaching, with Valerie Campbell and Sharilyn Hale, the Humber Fundraising Management Course "Ethical and Legal Issues". It was previously taught by Ken Wyman so we will have big shoes to fill.
On July 15, 2015 Mark Blumberg will be delivering a 2 hour presentation entitled "Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities" in Ottawa. The presentation is complimentary but if you are interested in attending you should register here.
The CRA Fundraising Guidance, is CRA's main document dealing with the obligations of registered charities when it comes to fundraising. The CRA Fundraising Guidance was initially published in 2009 but then significantly updated on April 20, 2012. At the bottom of each page on the CRA website it notes the last date in which the document was updated. In the case of the Fundraising Guidance it shows the last update was on June 16, 2014. I wondered what had been changed. There appears to be only one important addition - a new footnote to add an Ontario case in which a fundraiser was charged and convicted of fraud.
Here is an updated version of the Canadian Charity Legal Checklist. For those who are interested in reviewing legal compliance for their registered charity they may find the checklist helpful.
We are looking forward to presenting the Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2015 on April 14, 2015. For information or to register see: Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2015
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
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.