It was with sadness that I read that Terry de March will be stepping down as Director General of the Charities Directorate.  Thankfully he is not going far.  While Terry de March is leaving his position of Director General, Charities Directorate, he will be remaining at the CRA as a Special Advisor to the Assistant Commissioner of the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch of the CRA, continuing to support the ongoing development of the charities regulatory program.

As Terry Carter, noted in his Charity Law Update, “Terry de March has been an excellent head of the Charities Directorate over the past two years (after having been Acting Director for one year). To his credit, Mr. de March had been very successful in improving communication between CRA and the charitable sector through the expansion of CRA publications, as well as instituting regular consultations with sector stakeholders. Terry de March will be missed by the charitable community as an approachable Director General who had a genuine interest in encouraging the development of the charitable sector in Canada.”  I agree that Terry de March was an excellent DG – dramatically improving the Charities Directorate website, introducing dozens of reforms to help small and rural charities, reducing waiting times on applications for charitable status,  providing very well thought out and practical guidance to charities and initiating many consultations with the charitable sector.  What makes his contribution even more remarkable was that it was done while waging a battle with abusive tax avoidance schemes that have cost Canadians about 5 billion dollars in the last 5 years and involved over 175,000 taxpayers.  Needless to say some of the scammers and purveyors of abusive gifting schemes, and their well paid professional advisors some of whom call themselves ‘charity lawyers’, may greet this news with some relief – hoping that his successor will not be as resolute in dealing with these issues. Also a few telemarketers who take 95% of the revenue from their fundraising efforts will not be missing Terry de March.  I am quite confident that any replacement to Terry de March will continue the effort to remove the very few rotting apples that are stinking up the sector and reducing public trust in this vital part of our country. 

Terry Carter noted in his Charity Law Updated at http://www.carters.ca/pub/update/charity/09/julaug09.pdf that:

Terry de March Steps Down as Director General of the Charities Directorate
By Terrance S. Carter
On July 10, 2009, Brian McCauley, the Assistant Commissioner of Canada Revenue Agency announced that Terry de March will be leaving his position as Director General of the Charities Directorate on
October 2, 2009. This announcement has come as a surprise to the charitable sector. Terry de March has been an excellent head of the Charities Directorate over the past two years (after having been Acting Director for one year). To his credit, Mr. de March had been very successful in improving communication between CRA and the charitable sector through the expansion of CRA publications, as
well as instituting regular consultations with sector stakeholders. Terry de March will be missed by the charitable community as an approachable Director General who had a genuine interest in encouraging the development of the charitable sector in Canada.  Mr. de March will be replaced by Ms. Cathy Hawara as interim Director General of the Charities Directorate effective October 5, 2009. Ms. Hawara previously served at the Privy Council Office as Director of Appointments in the Senior Personnel Secretariat.

Just in case you did not know what the Legislative Policy and Regulatory Affairs Branch of the CRA does:

“The LPRAB is accountable for interpretations, rulings, and associated administration under the Excise Act, Excise Act 2001, Excise Tax Act, Income Tax Act, Air Travellers Security Charge Act, Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006Parts IV and VII of the Employment Insurance Act, and Part I of the Canada Pension Plan. It is also responsible for the registration and monitoring of Charities and Deferred Income Plans. The Branch provides functional direction to the regions on all Excise GST/HST matters, CPP/EI, and Charities issues.”

By the way if you are a typical Canadian charity or volunteer in the charitable sector you may not be aware that the tax incentives provided to Canadian charities for donation are the most generous in the world and that many scammers consequently have been trying to take advantage of Canadian charities and the tax incentives entrusted to them – but the odour has made its way around the world – you can see the recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Report on Abuse of Charities for Money Laundering and Tax Evasion https://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/blog/oecd_report_on_abuse_of_charities_for_money_laundering_and_tax_evasion_-_ca/  The report looks at 19 Western countries and how their charitable sectors can be used for money laundering and tax evasion.

The mission statement of the Charities Directorate is:

…to promote compliance with the income tax legislation and regulations relating to charities through education, quality service, and responsible enforcement, thereby contributing to the integrity of the charitable sector and the social well-being of Canadians.

Terry de March has done a superb job implementing the mission of the Charities Directorate.

Mark Blumberg is a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto, Ontario.  He can be contacted at mark@blumbergs.ca or at 416-361-1982. To find out more about legal services that Blumbergs provides to Canadian charities and non-profits please visit www.canadiancharitylaw.ca or www.globalphilanthropy.ca