Political Activities and Canadian charities

November 13, 2019

The CRA has released an updated 2019 version of its T3010 Registered Charity Information Return

The CRA has released recently the 2019 version C of its T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.  The major changes deal with replacing political activities with "public policy dialogue and development activities" (PPDDAs).  As a result of Finance's 2018 changes CRA no longer asks for much information on "public policy dialogue and development activities".  CRA asks whether your charity did PPDDAs and give you a paragraph to describe the PPDDAs and how they relate to your purposes but don't ask how much you spent on them.   So when a billionaire's foundation spends $500 million on this type of political activity - you probably will not be able to easily detect it.  Remember we are all created equal - some are just more equal than others. In fairness to billionaires, it was not billionaires asking for this change - it was mainly a few progressive groups.  

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November 03, 2019

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2020

Blumbergs is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp again on Monday April 20, 2020. An easy enough date to remember!   This is a one-day boot camp on compliance and standards issues for Canadian registered charities. You can find out more information and register for the program here. This Boot Camp will cover the differences between for-profits, non-profits and registered charities and why in some cases you may wish to have one or more of each to have maximum impact. It will focus on matters that are significant for any operating charity surrounding revenue generation rules, receipting, transparency, and protecting your charity against risks. Topical issues such as collaboration, foreign activities, political activities, the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA) and Ontario Non-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) will be touched upon as well.

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October 18, 2019

Interesting article by Press Progress on the True North Centre for Public Policy

Press Progress has written an article entitled Right-Wing Media Outlet Accredited For Leaders’ Debate is Also Registered as a Charity for Immigrants.  It is worth reading.  It is nice to see more media outlets using the T3010 information and also www.CharityData.ca as well as putting up source documents on the internet. 

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September 02, 2019

Elections Canada updates guide on political financing and third party registration

Elections Canada in late August 2019 updated their guide Political Financing Handbook for Third Parties Financial Agents and Auditors, which updates the last version of the guide which was published in June 2019.

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August 29, 2019

Tyee opinion piece “Why Environmental Groups’ Attack on Elections Canada Is Wrong, and Dangerous”

The Tyee, an online magazine, recently posted an opinion piece by Tom McMahon entitled "Why Environmental Groups’ Attack on Elections Canada Is Wrong, and Dangerous".  It is a very thoughtful piece from an individual who has a good understanding of electoral regulation.  It cautions that the attack on Elections Canada was wrong and dangerous and that we must be careful what we ask for.  It discusses changes in the US that led to a less than desirable political situation south of the border and he asks some environmentalists to "consider the dangerous door they are opening".

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August 29, 2019

CANADALAND Podcast on charities, political activities and the upcoming Federal election

CANADALAND recently had a podcast which dealt with a number of topics but one of them was charities, political activities, Elections Canada and the upcoming Federal election. The podcast was called "#227 Scandal? What Scandal?". In the podcast Jesse Brown is joined by Sandy Garossino, a former Crown prosecutor and columnist for the National Observer.  The discussion on charities and political activities takes place around 25:08 minutes in.

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August 20, 2019

Misinformation about NPOs/charities and political activities during the election is spreading

There has been a lot of media and social media coverage over the last few days about non-profits and charities and the rules around their involvement in the upcoming election.  To my dismay, much of it has been inaccurate.  While I am quite used to misinformation on the obligations of charities what is most interesting is the way in which "serious" media organizations such as CBC apparently made no attempt to actually check what the rules are and have put forward ridiculous ideas such 'if a charity registers as a third party with Elections Canada they could lose their charitable status'. As well while there are some new rules in the Canada Elections Act the main rules dealing with third party registration during an election have been around for decades.   

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April 29, 2019

Top Canadian Charity Law Issues by Mark Blumberg

Here is our list of the Top Canadian Charity Law Issues by Mark Blumberg. Hopefully it provides a good overview of the most common compliance issues for Canadian registered charities with an emphasis on concerns from the Charities Directorate of CRA.

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April 23, 2019

CRA’s Charities Education Program Letter

In December 2017, CRA introduced a new program, the Charities Education Program ("CEP") which is aimed at helping charities comply with the requirements for Canadian registered charities. CRA said it aims to visit 500 charities a year with this program. The primary targets for these visits are newer charities, as CRA is trying to ensure that the charity is starting off right and that the charity does in fact have adequate books and records. 

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April 23, 2019

Canadian Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg - April 2019

Here is our new Canadian Charity Legal Checklist.  For those who are interested in reviewing legal compliance for their registered charity, they may find the checklist helpful.  

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March 28, 2019

CRA announces upcoming changes to the T3010 and T2050, removing Political Activities

On March 15, 2019, CRA announced that there will be changes to the T3010 Annual Return and the T2050 Application to Register a Charity to account for the recent changes to the political activities rules for Canadian registered charities. Instead of reporting on their political activities, charities will report their public policy dialogue and development activities (PPDDAs). According to CRA, registered charities will have less to report for PPDDA than they previously reported for their political activities. The changes to the T3010 and T2050 are set to come in November 2019. Until the changes are made, CRA has provided instructions on how to fill out the current T3010 and T2050 for PPDDA. 

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March 25, 2019

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2019 (SOLD OUT)

The Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp will be held again on Monday April 8, 2019. This is a one-day boot camp on compliance and standards issues for Canadian registered charities. You can register for the program here

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March 19, 2019

Canadian Federal Budget 2019 and its impact on non-profits and charities

Finance Minister Morneau delivered the 2019 Federal Budget today.  Here is our article "2019 Canadian Federal Budget - How will it affect the Canadian charitable sector?"

Finance has already released a Fall Economic Statement that did contain a number of initiatives relating to the charity sector and you can see our article "Finance 2018 Fall Economic Statement and its Impact on Canadian Charities, Journalism and Social Finance".   

March 08, 2019

CRA Minister Responds to changes in Political Activities of Charities

Today CRA has released the Minister of National Revenue's response to the recent changes on Political Activities by Canadian registered charities. The Government has announced that this is their final response to the Report of the Consultation Panel on the Political Activities of Charities, which came out March 31, 2017. It has taken the Government almost 2 years to release its final response on the report which came out at the end of March 2017!  This report was promised for the summer of 2017 so I guess we can chalk this up to the Canadian government has never been so efficient at putting out announcements as in the week that the PM is being skewered on SNC-Lavalin.  I wonder if the Liberals will release the religion guidance they have been hiding for 4 years (and the Conservatives for many years before that).  

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March 08, 2019

Minister of National Revenue press release on the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS)

The Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier put out a news release on March 7, 2019 dealing the new Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector (ACCS).  I was expecting details in the budget but receiving these details today by press release was a bit surprising.  Forgive me for being a bit cynical in this time of the SNC-Lavalin affair in Ottawa I can only imagine that there is pressure on civil servants to put out lots of releases and information to distract, I mean focus, the attention of people on what is really important! 

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February 27, 2019

T3010 and political activities - changes are coming

The CRA recently posted on their T3010 page that "In December 2018, the rules governing the political activities of registered charities changed as a result of new legislation that permits charities to carry on unlimited public policy dialogue and development activities in furtherance of a stated charitable purpose. Under the new rules, the reporting requirements related to a charity’s spending on political activities are no longer relevant. The Canada Revenue Agency is revising Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return, and will publish instructions on its webpages soon."

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February 27, 2019

CRA releases Q&A on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities

The CRA recently released a question and answer document on the December 2018 political activity changes and the new guidance on public policy dialogue and development activities by charities.  Here is the Q&A

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January 21, 2019

CRA releases draft guidance “Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities”

The CRA today released its draft guidance "Public policy dialogue and development activities by charities".   This guidance will replace CRA's Guidance CPS-022, Political activities.  The CRA is asking for feedback on this draft administrative guidance and providing until April 23, 2019 for that feedback.  Here is a PDF of the draft guidance and here is a link to the draft guidance on the CRA website.  We will be providing further information on this draft to our clients and on our blog.  

January 14, 2019

Course - Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?

We have created a course entitled "Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?".   The course is $149 and you can register at https://charity-law.teachable.com/   Here is an overview of the course:

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January 13, 2019

Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 - an article on the many myths about private foundations

The compliance requirements and restrictions on private foundations in Canada are frequently misunderstood, even by those who run large private foundations.   Here is our article Fallacies about private foundations in 2019 that might be helpful in dispelling these myths. 

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January 10, 2019

“Impossible to Justify” A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy - David Callahan review

David Callahan recently reviewed Rob Reich's new book "Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better." in an article "Impossible to Justify" A Political Scientist Takes on American Philanthropy".  The review and the book are a further wake-up call that there are concerns in the public about philanthropy.    We can wait for people to become more cynical of the charity sector or we can act now to prevent that.   It is definitely worth reading David Callahan's review.  

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December 14, 2018

Bill C-86 Receives Royal Assent

On Thursday December 13, 2018, Bill C-86 received Royal Assent. Within this Bill, there are several changes to the Income Tax Act related to charities, especially with regards to political activities.  The change allows Canadian registered charities to conduct public policy dialogue and development activities (PPADA) connected to the legal purpose of the charity as long as they are not directly or indirectly partisan.   We are awaiting guidance from CRA on how they will interpret the new provisions on political activities.  Also the CWP decision will probably one day end up in the Supreme Court of Canada and perhaps they will have a thing or two to say about political activities and how purposes and activities relate to registered charity status.  

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November 29, 2018

Standing Senate Committee on Finance and their review of Political Activities - November 28, 2018

On Wednesday November 28, 2018 I presented to the Senate Committee on Finance in Ottawa. My presentation dealt with Bill C-86, Budget Implementation Act, 2018, and specifically the proposed changes to the rules and regulations on political activities carried out by charities within the Bill. 

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November 24, 2018

Special Senate Committee on the Charity Sector and Mark Blumberg’s testimony November 19, 2018

On Monday November 19, 2018 I presented to the Special Senate Committee on the Charity Sector in Ottawa.  My presentation dealt with a number of areas especially transparency of non-profits and registered charities, good charity regulation, and political activities by charities.

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November 05, 2018

New Canadian Registered Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg

Here is the new Canadian Charity Legal Checklist.  For those who are interested in reviewing legal compliance for their registered charity they may find the checklist helpful.  

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

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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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
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