March 30, 2012

TIDES US 2010 Form 990 - an example of transparency in action

Some senators have been complaining about environmental groups outside Canada being involved with public policy and political discussions in Canada.  I have written about the disclosure of foreign funding by Canadian charities at “So how much do Canadian charities receive from foreign sources according to the T3010 Returns?” .  But I want to point out that in fact the US has significant requirements in terms of disclosure with its Form 990.  Below is a copy of the TIDES US Form 990 to serve as an illustration.  It is 181 pages long and provides detailed information on the work of Tides US.  Far from there being no transparency about US funding of Canadian groups - there is tremendous transparency in the US 990 Return.  The IRS has spent a considerable amount of time revising its form 990 and now it includes a large amount of information that Canadian charities don’t have to disclose.

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February 21, 2012

ORNGE - A lesson for charities in the dangers of too little transparency

ORNGE, for those outside of Ontario, is a Canadian registered charity that runs the air ambulance service in Ontario.  Their helicopters are painted orange.  It is a charity but largely funded by the Ontario government.  ORNGE has been receiving a large amount of media scrutiny over the last few months.

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January 31, 2012

Blumbergs submission on the importance of transparency to the charity and non-profit sector

Here is a copy of my submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Motion 559 dealing with transparency.

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January 27, 2012

Canadian Charities and Free Transparency Tools - look before you donate your time or money

There are a couple of interesting websites which allow much easier searching of information from the T3010 databases.  One is (discussed at ).  Another interesting website is allows for visitors to search not only by charity name but also directors name.

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January 03, 2012

Article “Greater transparency needed in China’s charity sector”

Here is an interesting article on transparency in the Chinese charitable sector. “Charities will lose public credibility without transparency,” said one researcher. It is interesting to note that in one scandal involving the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the ” the scandal led to an 86.6-percent drop in donations to national charity organizations over the following six months”.  It appears that the Chinese government is taking steps to bring in greater transparency.

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Topics: Transparency

November 21, 2011

Charity Central’s Road to Accountability has good resources on transparency and accountability

Charity Central, based in Edmonton, has released a series of resources entitled Road to Accountability to help Canadian charities deal with the issues of accountability and transparency.

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July 07, 2011

CBC report on Canadian Cancer Society -thoughts on transparency, media coverage, + fundraising costs

The CBC recently prepared a short segment on the Canadian cancer society.  Here are a few comments on the issue. I will update this page over the next few weeks as more information comes to light.

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June 29, 2011

Transparency and Accountability - great quote from the Charity Commission of England and Wales

Here is a great quote from Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, that Canadian charities should think about.

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January 06, 2011

Charity Navigator to revamp rating system to emphasize transparency and accountability

The US organization Charity Navigator is in the process of revamping its rating system of charities to provide more information and weight to the issues of accountability and transparency.  Although Charity Navigator does not rate Canadian charities, the issue of transparency and accountability is as big here as in the US and Canadian charities should ensure that they are improving in this area.

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Topics: Transparency

January 05, 2011

Charity Transparency improved in Israel With Launch Of GuideStar Israel - search in 3 languages

GuideStar Israel is being beta tested.  It will provide a combination of government and NPO information on non-profits in Israel.  It is only a beta test but it is an important step forward for donors and those interested in the non-profit sector in Israel.  There are obviously gaps that hopefully will be filled by the organizations themselves.

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Topics: Transparency

November 13, 2010

Blumberg Segal LLP’s submission on C-470 compensation Bill - enough red herrings, more transparency

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance asked a number of organizations and individuals to submit one-page submissions on Bill C-470.  Here is the
Blumberg Segal LLP Submission to Finance on C-470

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October 11, 2010

Submission “Canadians demand more transparency in non-profit and charitable sector”

June 11, 2010

CRA announces funding to help Canadian charities on fundraising, transparency and false receipting

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, announced today contribution funding for seven new projects dealing with fundraising, transparency and false receipting under the Charities Partnership and Outreach Program (CPOP) of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  One of the registered charities that received funding was the Ontario Community Support Association and its Charity Law Information Program (CLIP).  I have been involved with CLIP programs since last year and you can find out more about CLIP at including some archived webinars that I did in the last year.

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May 15, 2010

Canadian charities understanding accountability, transparency and evaluation - helpful document

If you are trying to understand how accountability, transparency and evaluation apply to your Canadian charity this document from One World Trust entitled Pathways to Accountability: A short guide to the GAP Framework may be very helpful.

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April 27, 2010

Free Seminar on Transparency and Effectiveness in the Charitable Sector - ICFO

This seminar in Kitchener looks very interesting and I will hopefully be able to make it.  It is of the International Committee on Fundraising Organizations (ICFO).

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April 19, 2010

Bill C-470: Transparency, salary capping or knee-capping for the charitable sector?

Here is an article by Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf in CharityVillage on Bill C-470

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April 10, 2010

Transparency - What can the Charities Directorate of CRA disclose about registered charities?

The Income Tax Act (Canada) sets tremendous limits on the ability of CRA to disclose information about Canadian charities.  Essentially, the Income Tax Act in section 241 and its confidentiality provisions forbid CRA from disclosing any information about any registered charities either through informal request or a formal access-to-information request unless the information falls within certain narrow exceptions.  I will note below the provisions but I think that CRA should have greater flexibility to be able, especially in the few cases of major charity scams or tax avoidance schemes, to warn Canadians about any concerns that CRA has.  Unless a charity consents to disclosure (not likely), CRA now can only provide, after the charity has lost its registered status, either its “entirety of or any part of any letter sent by or on behalf of the Minister to the charity relating to the grounds for the revocation or annulment”.  By the time the charity has lost its registered charity status it could be years after CRA had significant concerns about the charity.

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December 20, 2009

Report on combatting abuse of non-profit organizations for terrorism-need transparency in NPO sector

Here is an interesting report from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on COMBATING THE ABUSE OF NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS International Best Practices from 2002.  It highlights the importance of transparency in non-profit sectors and financial management in thwarting abuse of charities.

December 05, 2009

Completed T3010B is now available online at the CRA website - great tool for transparency

I am so excited and it is not that I am going away on vacation today for a week.  The new T3010B Registered Charity Information Return, which is filed by Canadian charities for fiscal year ends beginning January 1, 2009 are now available online.  Until yesterday it was only the T3010A (the old registered charity information return) that was available.  There is a lot of additional information in the T3010 that is really exciting and provides stakeholders in the charity sector greater information on the individual charities and by aggregation the whole sector.

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November 27, 2009

“Transparency and accountability are crucial for NGOs” Op Ed Piece from Oxfam UK

Here is an OP ED piece by the finance director of Oxfam UK.  There is also a response from the UK TaxPayers’ Alliance in the comments section.

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Topics: Transparency

July 27, 2009

Charity Law Information Program (CLIP) - Annotated T3010B Registered Charity Information Return

Here is a copy of the Annotated T3010B  from CLIP.  It will be updated periodically to include different information from different sources.

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July 19, 2009

Canadian Charities and Transparency

I recently read a short article by Adam Rothwell of Intelligent Giving in the UK.  He argues that UK charities are not very transparent.  I am not sure that the situation is any different here in Canada.

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May 31, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency publishes sample T3010B and sample financial statements - very helpful

The CRA has just published a sample: T3010B, Registered Charity Information Return, with accompanying forms and financial statements.  This will be very helpful to charities as the T3010B is a new form.

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May 31, 2009

Sample Financial Statement for Canadian Charity on CRA website

If you are looking for a sample financial statement for a Canadian charity CRA has just published one of their website.  Every Canadian charity in addition to filing the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return needs to file with that return a financial statement.

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May 26, 2009

T3010A and T3010B CRA forms now saveable and fillable

CRA just advised that certain T3010 forms on their Charities and Giving Web site, have been improved so that they are now saveable in addition to being fillable.  By downloading the fillable/saveable PDF version of the form charities can save their work as they go, print the completed form and mail it to the Charities Directorate.

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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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