The consolidation of all Government of Canada websites into one domain at www.canada.ca has started. In theory this is an opportunity to have a more streamlined, secure government website. I have two concerns about how this will affect charities.
First of all the current "Charities and Giving Website" is easy to find and prominently displayed on the CRA site. In the current iteration the "Charities and Giving" part of the canada.ca website is under "Taxes" and near the bottom after "Excise taxes, duties, and levies". I am concerned that it will be more difficult for the 600,000 directors of Canadian charities and 2.5 million employees to find important information on the regulation of charities. Here is a screenshot for the current CRA site and how it is more prominently displayed:
As you can see the Charities and Giving part of the site is quite clear.
Here is a screenshot of the new Canada.ca website with the Taxes tab selected:
Second, many charities link to the CRA website for many reasons. If this is a relatively simple move of the domain and the rest of the links and structure are maintained then this will be time consuming but manageable. If this is a completely redesigned architecture of the site it will mean that charities will have to do a lot more work to update their many link to new CRA charity pages.
The whole government transition is supposed to take place by the end of 2017. It looks like the Charities Directorate's pages will be moved in about 3 months - will be nice if the sector gets a heads up on how the project is coming and what they can expect.
Here is a June 2016 article from the Ottawa Citizen: Federal government prepares biggest refresh of its web offerings ever
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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.