One release is a caution encouraging Canadians to be an informed donor and see part of the CRA website on being an informed donor. The other is a reminder that in a disaster the urge by some to set up a new organization may not be the best course of action may be to donate or help “existing qualified donees (e.g., other registered charities) that have the experience, resources, and infrastructures already in place to respond rapidly and effectively in such locations.” http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/whtsnw/tms/rthqk-haiti-eng.html I very much agree with such advice.
I would also remind Canadians of this blog entry on a report DISASTER GRANTMAKING: A Practical Guide for Foundations and Corporations http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/comments/disaster_grantmaking_a_practical_guide_for_foundations_and_corporations_rev/ Being generous is not good enough - funds have to be given to the right organizations to make a difference.
News release Donations for victims of earthquake in Haiti
Ottawa, Ontario, January 14, 2010… In the wake of an earthquake that devasted the country of Haiti earlier this week, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food), has a message for Canadians who plan to donate: be an informed donor. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is encouraging potential donors to go to http://www.cra.gc.ca/donors and consult the CRA’s charities listing to confirm a charity’s registered status.
“Canadians have opened their hearts and their wallets in the wake of the terrible tragedy in Haiti,” said Minister Blackburn. “When Canadians decide to donate, they do so with the best of intentions. Sadly, there are some who would exploit the generosity of Canadians. I would like to remind Canadians that there are resources on the CRA Web site that may be of assistance, including a listing of all registered charities. Recognizing the contributions that individual Canadians have started making and will continue to make in the days ahead, I encourage all Canadians to be informed donors and donate wisely.”
The CRA is reminding Canadians who plan to give to a registered charity to go to http://www.cra.gc.ca/donors or call 1?800-267-2384 for tips on how to be an informed donor.
For more information, go to http://www.cra.gc.ca.
Disaster relief Applicants for charitable status
Following news of a disaster, many organizations want to provide assistance and relief to those affected, and some choose to apply for charitable registration with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
It is important to note that disaster relief organizations must meet the same essential requirements as all other applicants for charitable registration. This includes the need for the organizations to show how they will direct and control their resources and activities outside Canada. In urgent circumstances, the CRA will expedite consideration of these applications.
Applicant organizations should also be aware that in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, the affected area is often volatile and dangerous. Typically, local authorities limit access to an affected area to well-established, experienced relief organizations. Accordingly, applicants should consider donating money or goods, or offering services, to existing qualified donees (e.g., other registered charities) that have the experience, resources, and infrastructures already in place to respond rapidly and effectively in such locations.
For a list of registered charities, see the CRA’s Charities Listings. Refine your search by using the category “Disaster Funds”.
More information on donating to disaster relief organizations can be found on our Giving to charity: Information for donors Web pages, or by calling our Client Service Section at 1-800-267-2384.
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.