Recent changes to the Income Tax Act now allow Canadian registered charities to conduct public policy dialogue and development activities (PPADA) connected to the legal purpose of the charity as long as they are not directly or indirectly partisan. PPADA is essentially allowable non-partisan political activities.

Under the Income Tax Act, a registered charity used to be restricted to the amount of resources it could use for non-partisan political activities and it is prohibited from involvement with partisan political activities.  
 
On December 13, 2018, the Trudeau government made several changes to the Income Tax Act (Canada) related to charities, especially with regards to political activities.  The change allows Canadian registered charities to conduct public policy dialogue and development activities (PPADA) connected to the legal purpose of the charity as long as they are not directly or indirectly partisan.  Although PPADA is not defined in the Income Tax Act it will likely be viewed as what was historically referred to as allowable non-partisan political activities.
 
The emphasis now for CRA with controversial charities will not be on whether a group has spent more than 10% as that will be irrelevant but instead they will focus on whether they activities are not directly or indirectly partisan and all the political activities are related to the legal purposes of the charity.  Many charities have not updated their purposes in a long time. As well CRA will be looking at whether the group is complying with charity requirements in about 20 other areas – fundraising, receipting, T3010 filings and accuracy, objects, undue private benefits, business activities, dealing with non-qualified donees etc.

For more information see our directory on political activities and Canadian charities.    

If you are concerned about Canadian charities and political activities or public policy dialogue and development activities (PPADA) you might wish to contact Blumbergs to retain us to assist with your concern.