Lack of transparency continues when the Canadian government makes a gift to a foreign charity

June 24, 2016 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law

On the CRA website there is a list of foreign charities that received a gift from the Canadian government.  CRA has just released a new Guidance CG - 023 Qualified donee: Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada which discusses how foreign charities are placed on the list.

Currently there are two organizations on the list:

Switzerland                       Aga Khan Foundation                                                       2015-03-20 to 2017-03-20
United Kingdom                The Rhodes Trust - Public Purposes Fund                     2014-08-01 to 2016-08-01

Unless another gift is provided to The Rhodes Trust they will lose their status on August 1, 2016.  

What I found most interesting and perturbing is that the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was ostensibly qualified for this list from 2014-04-22 to 2016-04-22.  Obviously as the end date was April 22, 2016 it no longer qualifies.  However, what is perturbing is that on March 9, 2016 when I look at historical captures of the site the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was not listed.  Therefore either the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was only listed sometime after March 9 and before April 22 or alternatively it was only listed on the CRA website after the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation was no longer considered a qualified donee and eligible for a donation.

Clearly there is something wrong with the system if Canadians don't even know who the foreign charities are until after they are no longer on the list and no longer qualified donees.   

On a less important note the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation is now no longer on the list.  They had been on the list since 2010.  

This type of list could be very helpful in assisting Canadians with donations to certain foreign entities.  However, the secrecy around which foreign charities are on the list and how they got on the list is unfortunate.   I have written previously about my concern about lack of transparency around this category here, here, here and here

Here are some additional links:

Information on Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada

Foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada: Summary of recent legislative changes

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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.

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