Recently, the CBC published an article entitled Charity Gospel for Asia files for creditor protection after $170M lawsuit.   It is interesting that people have not heard of Gospel for Asia including those who have worked in the international development sector for decades.  The reason that it is interesting is that Gospel for Asia was one of the largest charities in Canada sending money abroad.  For example, in 2016 they allegedly sent over $16 million abroad. Here is a 2016 article that we wrote.  On the CRA Charities Listing they go by GFA World.  Here is their information on CharityData.ca.

Gospel for Asia or “GFA World” is a Canadian charity that has been embroiled in a class action, in which its donors have alleged various concerns with the operation of the charity.  The news article highlights the concerns expressed by the charity’s former donors, which include a lack of transparency as to where the charity’s funds were actually going, and appeals for urgent fundraising, when it appears that the charity was sitting on large amounts of reserve funds in foreign bank accounts. In the midst of these allegations, GFA has moved for bankruptcy protection, citing the ongoing pandemic.

This news article highlights the importance of transparency in the charitable sector. Because registered charities have such a high degree of trust, when a charity breaches that trust, it undermines public trust in the charity sector as a whole.

I used to say that charities should be more worried about a critical Toronto Star article than a CRA audit because the Toronto Star is quite public and the CRA audit results are not unless you are penalized, suspended or revoked.  I guess now I should say that charities who do bad things should worry first about class action lawsuits, then Toronto Star articles and finally a CRA audit!  Those poor CRA auditors just don’t get any respect.

Here is our directory which discusses foreign activities by Canadian charities.   There are many great charities conducting foreign activities but remember that with the privilege of being a registered charity there are rules that you need to follow as a result of the Income Tax Act and 5 court decisions.   If you want to carry out foreign activities but not in compliance with the charity rules then perhaps you should be running a non-profit that is not a registered charity!  Every time I hear from people that wish to relax the rules for foreign activities for charities I think of Gospel for Asia and numerous other large organizations that have very questionable foreign activities that I have covered on this site and think that we need greater oversight over charities in this space and not less.  But hey that is just my opinion.