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Canadian Charity Law List

COVID-19 Updates – Part II

COVID-19 CHANGES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Corporations Canada provides simple way for non-profits and charities under the CNCA to extend time for financial disclosure and AGM

We are delighted that Corporations Canada today has provided a simple way for non-profits and charities under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”) to request an extension of the six-month timeframe for holding AGM’s and also a requirement to provide financial statements to members at least 21 days ahead of the AGM.  These are separate requirements and both covered under the simple online form.

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Blumberg Segal LLP Update for Clients and Friends – May 11, 2020

It has now been about 7 weeks that many businesses, non-profits and charities in Canada have either been shut down or are trying hard to adjust to the frequently changing environment.  It is hard to believe how much has changed.   For a sector that often talks about innovation – I can truthfully say that I have seen more innovation in the last 7 weeks than in the last 7 years.

The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy and other Federal supports will assist non-profits and charities.  McGill announced today that “To allow McGill students to begin, or continue, their academic path no matter where they are, fall 2020 courses will be offered primarily through remote delivery platforms”.   There is a greater appreciation of the importance of public health and prevention.  We have worked on a number of massive granting programs that are responding to the pandemic.

At Blumbergs we are working to ensure that we can continue to assist our non-profit and charity clients as they are facing some great challenges. We are doing regular client legal work, special work occasioned by the COVID-19 crisis, and we are trying to provide regular communication of reliable information through blogs, social media and webinars to assist charities and non-profits.

Our last updates on our website on March 15, 2020, and March 23, 2020, and April 24, 2020.

As of March 16, 2020, all Blumberg Segal LLP staff have been working remotely and it is working very well.

  • We are using conferencing and video conference software to facilitate communication and all meetings have been done electronically and this will continue for the foreseeable future.
  • We use online booking tools to easily allow clients to book calls and videoconferences.
  • We can receive client documents and large files through an internet portal.
  • We have provided webinars and updates to boards and umbrella organizations.
  • We have portals such as CanadianCharityLaw.cawww.CharityData.ca, and www.SmartGiving.ca with tens of thousands of pages of information on compliance and practical issues for Canadian charities and foreign charities operating in Canada as well as data on the charity sector and they are available 24/7.
  • We are offering online courses (as opposed to in-person programs) and we will be adding to the 12 available courses that we currently offer.  For example, we have recently launched a 4-hour course on foreign activities and cross border philanthropy and this Saturday we launched our course on Canadian Charities Working with Non-Charities in Canada (with a special offer to access it for free this week! see below)
  • For many years we have strived to do electronic filings, where possible, and now with the CRA Digital Services for Charities system online we can incorporate a non-profit and apply for charity status with all government filings being done online.  We can also do many other tasks or services online.
  • With the Charities Directorate now operating at greater capacity, we are continuing in our regular work of putting in applications and requests to CRA.

 

On April 20, 2020, we had our Blumbergs’ Charity Law Boot Camp in a virtual format.  It went very well.  As a result, we have decided to have 2 more online day-long courses that we will discuss below.

 

For more regular updates you can follow us on Twitter, Linkedin, and our website CanadianCharityLaw.ca has been and will be updated on a regular basis.

 

We wish everyone well in this difficult time and if we can be of assistance let us know.

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Fundamentals of Running a Canadian Charitable Organization/Operating Charity 2020

There are almost 86,000 Canadian registered charities.  About 74,500 are “charitable organizations” that conduct their own activities whether by using volunteers, employees or intermediaries that are not charities.  Some charitable organizations even make gifts to other charities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the charity sector – including some charities having to shut down, others seeing large increases in revenue and many needing to change the way they operate.  For many charities what was fine last year is not at all adequate this year.

This program will focus on compliance issues with an emphasis on those specifically relevant to charitable organizations that are registered charities in Canada.

It is vital that directors and staff of charitable organizations understand their legal obligations to avoid problems such as compliance agreements, penalties, revocation, and directors and officers becoming ineligible individuals.

There are limited-time early bird specials for those who are interested.  If you register and are unable to attend you can still access the recording for 30 days after the event.

[If you are involved in running a private or public foundation you might find this other event more helpful]

This course has never been offered before and we hope that it will provide very good value for Canadian operating charities.

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Fundamentals of Running a Private or Public Foundation in Canada 2020

Private and Public Foundations are an important part of the Canadian charity sector. With the COVID-19 pandemic there have been increasing demands on them to show flexibility and to ramp up giving.   There will probably be increased scrutiny of foundations over the next few months.

This program will focus on compliance issues with an emphasis on those specifically relevant to running a private or public foundation that is a registered charity in Canada.  While some foundations give out a small amount each year – others are giving hundreds of millions.  Large gifts might have been $10-20 million a few years ago but are now $100 million and over.

There are over 10,000 foundations (5800 private and 5000 public) and CRA is increasingly auditing them as CRA prioritizes higher risk registered charities with higher assets and expenditures for audits.  It is vital that directors and staff of foundation understand their legal obligations to avoid problems such as compliance agreements, penalties, revocation, and directors and officers becoming ineligible individuals.

[If you are involved in running an operating charity you might find this other event more helpful]

This course was originally offered in September 2019 and it is being offered for the first time online here.

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Blumbergs' COVID-19 FAQs for Registered Charities and Non-profits

We will have updated our COVID-19 FAQs section on our CanadianCharityLaw.ca website. The FAQ section will deal with common issues affecting Canadian registered charities and non-profit corporations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New Course on Canadian Charities Working with Non-Charities in Canada

We have just prepared a new course on Canadian Charities Working with Non-Charities in Canada.  Here is information on the new course and how to register.

There has been a lot of misinformation around the ability of Canadian charities to work with non-charities in Canada during the COVID-19 crisis.  Therefore we have prepared this course and we are offering it until May 17, 2020 at no cost using this code:

INCREASINGIMPACT149

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Canadian Charities Working with Non-Charities in Canada - A Very Simplified View of the Process

In this brief note, we try to suggest ten steps for a simplified contractor arrangement between a Canadian charity and a group in Canada that is not a charity (the “Intermediary”) implementing a project for the Canadian charity in Canada.  Often it makes more sense for a Canadian charity to hire another group in Canada to implement a project that may not be a registered charity, rather than the charity making a gift to another registered charity or qualified donee or the charity using its own employees or volunteers to conduct the activity.

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Guidance from Charity Commission "Manage financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus"

Here is some really good guidance from the Charity Commission of England and Wales to assist charities deal with financial difficulties.


The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and its application to Charities and Non-profits

The Canadian Government is providing a generous wage subsidy for businesses, registered charities and non-profits in Canada.  The subsidy would be effective retroactive to March 15, 2020. This subsidy provides for up 75% of the employee’s normal wage to a maximum of $847.00 per week or 75% of the wage, whichever is less.  This note will discuss the wage subsidy, how it works, who it benefits, who it misses and long term concerns with government support of the charity sector.

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CRA Charities Directorate "What's New" discusses Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The CRA Charities Directorate yesterday sent a “What’s New” which discusses the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and how to apply for it.  It also reminds people that the Charities Directorate Call Centre has resumed operations.

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Ontario PGT provides additional guidance on restricted gifts and COVID-19

On April 20th, the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustees circulated to some charity lawyers some additional information on dealing with restricted gifts during the COVID-19 emergency.  Here is our original discussion of a notice from the PGT released recently: Ontario PGT has issued a “Statement on Accessing Restricted Purpose Trust Funds Prior to Obtaining a Court Order During the COVID19 Pandemic”

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CRA Charities Directorate call centre is now operational

The CRA has announced on its webpage that its call centre is now open.

This will be very helpful for registered charities.   Keep in mind many registered charities will need to join the CRA MyBA system if they wish to access the wage subsidy from the Federal government. If you have problems getting into the MyBA system you can also call the Charities Directorate call centre. Typically, there is only a 2-4 minute wait to speak to CRA Charities Directorate but it may longer during the pandemic.

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COVID-19 and AGMs for Ontario non-profit corporation under the Ontario Corporations Act (“OCA”)

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing some non-profit organizations and registered charities to rethink the timing and manner of conducting their annual general meeting of members (AGM). Every organization is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply.   We are assisting organizations with numerous challenges in dealing with COVID-19 and if your organization requires assistance let us know.  As the situation is evolving on an almost daily basis, we may update this article.

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Webinar on Accessing Digital Services for Charities - April 14, 2020- recorded

Registered charities can access online services through what we affectionately call the CHAMP system but CRA now refers to as “Digital Services for Charities through the MyBA portal”. While registered charities may not have previously accessed this system, which launched June 2019, now may be a good time to look into the new system. The Canadian Charity Law Association has hosted a webinar on how to register and use these digital services on Tuesday, April 14 and the link to the recorded webinar is accessible here.  Your non-profit or charity will not be able to access the wage subsidy unless it has an account on the CRA MyBA system.

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Special purpose fundraising for COVID-19 – be careful what you ask for!

Many groups are doing special purpose fundraising for COVID-19 in which they are specifically soliciting or accepting for COVID-19 related programs.  Charities have to be careful of a number of issues when fundraising for a specific purpose.

After having worked with many groups in different types of disasters, the challenge is not only when you are fundraising you want to be successful in bringing in large amounts of money or gifts-in-kind but you also wish to be effective in spending those funds or distributing those gifts-in-kind.

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What to do if you have cancelled an event due to COVID-19 and the charity has already issued a tax receipt?

In a previous blog entitled Corona Virus/COVID-19 charity issues – cancelling events, refunds and the possibility of a charitable donation, we discussed how charities can try to turn the cancellation of an event into some donations.  But what if you were scheduled to have an event, people bought tickets and you had already issued the official donation receipts, but the event is now cancelled and people will not be receiving an advantage?

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FEATURED

Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars. Registration is free but space is limited. Topics are subject to change. More information on each of these webinars and how to register is provided here.

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CharityData.ca has been updated - check it out! More information on Canadian registered charities

We do regular updates of the portal CharityData.ca. Recently we just added more T3010 data including updated partial 2019 data and all of 2018 data.   We are now using 2018 data for searches and there are about 84,000 charities on the system.  So when you search the site, it is using as the base year charities listed in 2018.  The 2019 partial data reflects about 31,000 charities that were available in March 2020 before the CRA Charities Directorate had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Some further enhancements to CharityData.ca in April 2020 relating to categories and subcategories

As we noted above we have updated CharityData.ca. There have been further recent improvements especially relating to searches/filtering of all Canadian charities and their categories/subcategories. Canadian charities are actually divided by the Charities Directorate of CRA into over 250 subcategories which in some cases could be helpful for some purposes.

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CRA’s Charities Listing vs. Blumbergs’ Charity Data 2020

With changes in May 2019 in which CRA removed about 10 years of public information from the Charities Listing, the differences between the CRA’s Charities Listing and the Blumbergs’ CharityData.ca portal have grown. This article will try to show you some of the major differences between the two databases and why depending on what you want to do you might need to access both of them.

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The Privacy Commissioner Releases tips for videoconferencing and privacy

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has recently released some tips for ensuring that you protect your organization’s privacy, as well as the privacy of those you meet with. While we are still practicing social distancing, it is a good idea to read and follow these tips for any internal or external virtual meetings.

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If you want to understand the diversity of the Canadian registered charity sector

Most Canadians don’t understand how diverse the Canadian charity sector is. The public sometimes has stereotypes of charities – those helping the poor are viewed as charities or registered charities. This stereotype or misunderstanding of the charity sector often benefits charities. But in fact, it is not accurate and there are a lot of different organizations in the charity sector.

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CRA

CRA Charities Directorate announces extension of T3010 filing deadlines until December 31, 2020 in response to COVID-19

The CRA announced on March 20 that registered charities filing deadline for the T3010 that were or will be due from March 18, 2020, till December 31, 2020, will only be due on December 31, 2020. This will be a welcome relief for many registered charities in Canada. As well, this will be a relief to many accountants who need to do audits of charities that would have to be completed prior to the completion of the financial statements and filing of the T3010. This will reduce some of the stress on registered charities who may not even have access to their offices because they are working from home etc.

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CORPORATIONS CANADA UPDATES

Corporations Canada Listing updated for new filing deadline

As mentioned in our previous post, Corporations Canada has extended the deadline to September 30, 2020 for corporations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act  (“CNCA”) that have filing annual returns ordinarily due between February 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Corporations Canada’s online directory for CNCA corporations has been updated for any corporations with annual filings due during that period. Rather that stating that the filing is “overdue”, the filings are listed as “due to be filed”. Any filing done after September 30th will likely to be listed as “overdue”.

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Corporations Canada extends annual return deadlines to September 30, 2020 for federal non-profit corporations

On April 1, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it is extending the deadline for filing annual returns for federal corporations. Annual returns that are typically due between February 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020, can now be filed up until September 30, 2020. Under normal circumstances, corporations must file their annual return within 60 days of their anniversary date. The notice from Corporations Canada can be found here.

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ONTARIO UPDATES

Ontario government allows all OCA corporations to have virtual meetings and extends deadlines for AGMs

The Ontario government has passed an Emergency Order (PDF) that will allow all corporations under the Ontario Corporations Act (OCA) and Ontario Business Corporations Act (OBCA) to hold meetings of directors, shareholders, and members virtually (i.e. electronically or by telephone). As well, they have extended the timeframe by which corporations under the OCA and OBCA must hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in certain circumstances related to the emergency. The Emergency Order is in effect province-wide and is retroactive to March 17, 2020, the day the Declaration of Emergency came into effect.

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Additional Information from the BC Financial Services Authority on gifts of life insurance to charities

I wrote to the BC Financial Services Authority on May 4, 2020, asking for some clarifications relating to their Information Bulletin entitled “Charitable Donation of Life Insurance Policies in British Columbia” which we covered here.  On May 8, 2020, they responded to my questions.

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Ontario PGT has issued a "Statement on Accessing Restricted Purpose Trust Funds Prior to Obtaining a Court Order During the COVID19 Pandemic"

The Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee has issued a “Statement on Accessing Restricted Purpose Trust Funds Prior to Obtaining a Court Order During the COVID19 Pandemic“. Thank you to the CCCC for putting up the statement.

The statement will help Ontario charities (whether registered charities or not) or other groups that hold restricted charitable funds to understand how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Upcoming Events and Programs:

Blumbergs’ online courses on certain charity law issues;

Fundamentals of Running a Canadian Charitable Organization/Operating Charity 2020;

Fundamentals of Running a Private or Public Foundation in Canada 2020;

Upcoming Canadian Charity Law Association webinars.


Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?

Mark Blumberg

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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982