A few weeks ago a Canadian registered charity called the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was involved in a scandal when it was discovered that its president had hired a private investigator to surveil the Chief-Justice of Manitoba who was apparently presiding over a case that the JCCF was involved with.  This raised numerous issues relating to legal ethics, the legality of doing surveillance on a judge presiding over your case, not to mention whether it is appropriate for a Canadian registered charity to be engaged in allegedly illegal activities.

It is alleged that none of the board of the JCCF was aware of this action, which also raises issues around whether there is appropriate oversight by the board of directors.

Registered charities need to comply with the law and if it is illegal to hire a private investigator to surveil a judge on a case then it would be prohibited for a registered charity in Canada to do so.   As well, there may be issues around when a charity pays for an allegedly illegal expenditure.

There are other charity law issues including whether an organization has a public benefit or if the negatives of the organization may outweigh the public benefit.   If there is not a net public benefit in the charity activities, then it can be a problem that it is a registered charity.

There are also systemic issues like CRA cannot disclose whether it is auditing this charity because of the confidentiality provisions of the Income Tax Act.  Therefore the public is in the dark about whether there is an audit or follow-up on this type of behaviour.  That can reduce public trust in the charity sector which is unfortunate.  I have suggested in the past, that a better system would allow CRA to at least confirm an audit when a matter is in the public sphere, similar to what happens in the UK and Australia.

In terms of transparency here is some of the information that is available on the group from Corporations Canada website[(also PDF as of July 23, 2021]:

 

Federal Corporation Information

Federal Corporation Information – 765993-8

Beware of scams and other suspicious activities. See Corporations Canada’s alerts.

Note

This information is available to the public in accordance with legislation (see Public disclosure of corporate information).

Corporation Number    765993-8
Business Number (BN)  843748609RC0001
Corporate Name Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms
Status Active
Governing Legislation  Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act – 2014-10-17

Registered Office Address

41-287 Southampton Drive Southwest
Calgary AB T2W 2N5
Canada

Note

Active NFP Act corporations are required to update this information. Changes are only legally effective when filed with Corporations Canada. A corporation key is required. If you are not authorized to update this information, you can either contact the corporation or contact Corporations Canada. We will inform the corporation of its reporting obligations.

Directors

Minimum 3
Maximum 15
  • Troy Lanigan
    587 Pacific Ridge
    Victoria BC V9B 6P9
    Canada
  • Ted Morton
    3319 Upton Place Northwest
    Calgary AB T2N 4G9
    Canada
  • Alan Honner
    201-3416 Dundas St West
    Toronto ON M6S 2S1
    Canada
  • Gareth Hudson
    9 Norris Coulee Trail
    De Winton AB T0L 0X0
    Canada
  • Bud Smith
    147 Saint Paul Street West
    Kamloops BC V2C 1G2
    Canada
  • Bruce Pardy
    58 Doncaster Place
    London ON N6G 2A5
    Canada
  • Barbara Kay
    59-243 Post Rd
    Moody ME 04054
    United States
  • Jonathan Allen
    234929 Conc 2 Durham
    Durham ON N0G 1R0
    Canada
  • Thomas Bateman
    52 Wiggins Drive
    Fredericton NB E3A 5N6
    Canada
  • Grant Brown
    107 Huron Street
    Stratford ON N5A 5S7
    Canada

Note

Active NFP Act corporations are required to update director information (names, addresses, etc.) within 15 days of any change. A corporation key is required. If you are not authorized to update this information, you can either contact the corporation or contact Corporations Canada. We will inform the corporation of its reporting obligations.

Annual Filings

Anniversary Date (MM-DD)          10-17
Date of Last Annual Meeting       2019-12-05
Annual Filing Period (MM-DD)     10-17 to 12-16
Type of Corporation                     Soliciting
Status of Annual Filings
  • 2021 – Not due
  • 2020 – Filed
  • 2019 – Filed

Corporate History

Certificates and Filings

Certificate of Continuance    2014-10-17    Previous jurisdiction: Canada Corporations Act – Part II (CCA-II)
By-laws    Received on 2014-11-28

Certificate of Amendment Footnote*  2019-12-18   Amendment details: Number of directors

Return to footnote*referrer Amendment details are only available for amendments effected after 2010-03-20. Some certificates issued prior to 2000 may not be listed. For more information, contact Corporations Canada.

 

 

Note that although they are a “soliciting corporation” they appear to have failed to file their financial statements with Corporations Canada.

 

Here are some of the documents that are freely available on the Corporations Canada website if you click the link “Order copies of corporate documents“:

Certificate and Articles of Amendment

Registered office & Directors

Certificate and Articles of Continuance

Bylaws

Annual Return (2015)

Annual Return_(2016)

Annual Return (2017)

Annual Return_(2018)

Annual Return (2019)

Annual Return_(2020)

Directors

Directors_0

Directors_1

Directors_2

Registered office

 

 

Here is a “List of requested corporate documents from Corporations Canada” plus the dates of filing.

 

Here is a link to the CRA Charities Listing for JCCF and also information on CharityData.ca for JCCF.  To understand the difference between the CRA website and the CharityData.ca website and the pros and cons of using each one – here is an article entitled CRA’s Charities Listing vs. Blumbergs’ Charity Data 2020.

 

 

 

Here are some articles that have appeared in the last couple of weeks on the JCCF:

 

Canadian Lawyer: Sending a private investigator to follow a judge is not about ‘defending constitutional freedom’

Toronto Star: This Alberta lawyer hired a private investigator to tail a judge. Who is John Carpay?

CTV News Winnipeg: A closer look at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms and where it gets its support

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: Statement by John Carpay, President July 12, 2021

CBC Manitoba: Lawyer files misconduct complaint after private investigator hired to follow Manitoba chief justice

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: Statement from the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

CBC: Head of group representing churches in COVID-19 challenge takes leave after having Manitoba judge followed

The Lawyer’s Daily: Manitoba AG requests law society investigate lawyers associated with the JCCF

Winnipeg Free Press – Freedom-fighting ‘daredevil’ or right-wing ‘warrior’? Meet John Carpay — the man behind the tailed-judge scandal

Winnipeg Free Press – Manitoba’s call for probe into lawyers’ conduct ‘groundless, unjustified,’ justice charity says

Winnipeg Free Press – Justice minister asks regulator to probe lawyers’ conduct after judge followed

Winnipeg Free Press  – Justice minister requests investigation into lawyers after judge spied on

Winnipeg Free Press – Charity behind snooping takes on headline-grabbing cases

Winnipeg Free Press  – An egregious assault on the judicial process

Winnipeg Free Press  – Peers sound off on Joyal investigator’s ‘poor judgement’

Winnipeg Free Press – Taxpayers in dark about potential review of charity after it spied on Manitoba judge

Winnipeg Free Press – Justice Centre board condemns judge’s surveillance; president on leave

Winnipeg Free Press  – Fringe group that had chief judge tailed should be pushed back to the shadows

Winnipeg Free Press – Right-wing centre condemned for hiring P.I. to follow Manitoba chief justice