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Canadian Charity Law List

COVID-19 Updates


We are in unbelievable times.  Charities, non-profits and the public are being tested in an unprecedented way.   We will continue to try and provide relevant and helpful information to our clients and others in the public who are interested or concerned with these issues.  For more frequent updates, check out our main website www.CanadianCharityLaw.ca or follow us on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook.  We hope to have a couple of important announcements over the next few days.

Our team of 10 lawyers and support staff have been working tirelessly over the last few weeks and that is not surprising given that we really only work with charities, non-profits (and some philanthropists) and these charitable and non-profit organizations are in the forefront of the COVID-19 response and are also being hit really hard by the crisis.

This morning I tweeted:

“So proud of my team. Took a dormant family foundation and turned it into a ventilator charity in one week. All new members, directors, officers, name, address, bylaws, articles, etc. When there is a will there is a way.”

If we can help your non-profit or charity let us know.

We hope everyone keeps safe.

Finance releases further information on wage subsidy for business, non-profits and charities - more details to follow

On April 1, 2020, Finance released further information on wage subsidies for business, non-profits and charities. The wage subsidy is about $71 billion in total so it is quite important and we are now getting a better idea of what is covered and not covered by the wage subsidy. With many non-profits and charities having to make difficult decisions, with programs shutdown and revenue reduced substantially, even a little bit more information can be helpful in the decision-making process.

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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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Charities and NPOs included in Federal government 75% wage subsidy

Trudeau announced on March 30, 2020 that NPOs and Charities will be included in the wage subsidy. On March 27, 2020 there was an announcement from the Federal government that they will be providing to small businesses a wage subsidy that could be as high as 75 percent. This was a lot higher than the original 10% wage subsidy they had promised on March 18, 2020.  However, it was not clear whether this applied to Canadian charities and non-profits and Trudeau has now clarified that it will apply to non-profits and charities.

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

We will have just released today a new 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.  In the meantime, here are some of the FAQs that will hopefully be helpful for charities and non-profits in Canada.

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"Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses" will also help charities

Here is a document from finance released March 18 Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses. It is a large package of different measures from the Government of Canada to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

It outlines some significant incentives and changes that will impact individuals, businesses and charities. The only specific reference to charities was an employee subsidy “Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.”

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New Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest free loans to not-for-profits that have payroll over $50K

Here is a document entitled “Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19“.

In the Additional Support, it describes the Canada Emergency Business Account, which is a little misleading as that will provide $25 billion in interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for both small businesses and non-for-profits. They just need to be repaid by December 31, 2022. The plan is described below.

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Global Affairs Canada Guidance on eligibility of COVID-19 potential costs

Global Affairs Canada has recently released a Guidance on eligibility of COVID-19 potential costs. It provides that expenses such as repatriating Canadians from projects abroad are eligible project expenses, repatriated staff can continue to receive compensation in Canada, and local employees on the ground will also be able to have 30 days of salary after a project has been suspended.

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Notice of Ways and Means Motion to introduce An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19

Here is the Notice of Ways and Means Motion to introduce An Act respecting certain measures in response to COVID-19 that is available on the Department of Finance website.

It covers many issues relating to the COVID-19 crisis.

One item is that both registered charities and non-profits are able to claim a partial wage subsidy with certain restrictions.

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Corona Virus/COVID-19 charity issues - cancelling events, refunds and the possibility of a charitable donation

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting charities in numerous ways.  In this short note, we will discuss cancelling events and refunding money or attempting to turn that into a potential charitable donation. We have received a number of inquiries from clients about how to do this and here are some tentative thoughts. Cancelling events or programs can have a huge impact on the revenue of a charity – also there are lots of sunk costs associated with cancelling an event. Some charities would like to give people a choice of receiving a refund or instead turning the amount into a charitable donation. Some people may be receptive to this approach and it might reduce the impact of the cancelled event or program on the charity.

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Extension for non-profits to file T2 Corporation Income Tax Return and T1044 Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return

On March 28, 2020 we blogged about “There will be an extension for incorporated non-profits to file T2 and all NPOs that need to file T1044″.  We noted that there would be an extension of the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return, and for non-profit corporations and others, the T1044 Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return.

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CRA update on Coronavirus - expect the Charities Directorate to be largely closed until April 5, 2020

Here is a message below from the CRA Commissioner that was recently distributed to employees of the CRA. It does not specifically mention the Charities Directorate but it is likely that much of the Charities Directorate will not be considered to be critical services and you can expect the Charities Directorate to be largely shut down until April 5, 2020. The Charities Listing and Charities and Giving website are operating normally.

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Now might be a good time to look at utilizing CRA's online services

The Charities Directorate has announced that they are largely shut down at the moment. Many changes or filings can be done online and now may be a good time to checkout CRA’s online offerings.

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How to make submissions to the Charities Directorate during COVID-19 closure - avoid faxes and couriers

While the Charities Directorate, as a ‘non-essential’ department of the Canadian Revenue Agency (“CRA”), is currently closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 crisis, many charities may need or want to make submissions to the Charities Directorate.  However, due to the Charities Directorate closure, not all forms of submissions will get through.

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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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Corporations Canada loosens requirements for electronic signatures on documents

This is one of those posts that will probably be of interest to very few people.  Many have probably not thought of the issue of electronic signatures (or e-signatures) for filings with Corporations Canada.  Others may have thought about it and assumed that it has been permissible for a long period of time.   Luckily, I have a strong team of smart people – because I was not really thinking about this.

Over the years and up to a few days ago, Corporations Canada had concerns about e-signatures but now they seem to be more flexible in their approach.

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Keep up to date on changes from Corporations Canada affecting the CNCA

Corporations Canada has email notices that you can sign up for dealing with the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”), CBCA (business), and changes to online services. As well, you can get annual return reminders for your own particular CNCA corporation. The page is here.

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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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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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Ontario government companies branch and PGT still operating

We checked with the Ontario Government recently. The Companies Branch is still providing over-the-counter service and checking their mail. However, they advised that this could change and they suggested that anyone who may come to their office should call beforehand.

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Ontario government response on COVID in a fiscal update

On March 25, the Ontario government provided a “Fiscal Update”. It provides $7 billion for health care and support for people. As well, it provides $10 billion for tax and other deferrals for businesses and individuals.

There was a reference also to “Enhancing funding by $148 million for charitable and non-profit social services organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, churches and emergency services to improve their ability to respond to COVID-19, by providing funding directly to Consolidated Municipal Service Managers and District Social Service Administration Boards who would allocate this funding based on local needs.”

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Some religious institutions are not closing and either conducting religious services or allowing them to happen

The CBC recently reported “Some Toronto-area mosques remain open despite dire warnings about COVID-19“. This might be a problem for a number of different religious groups.

It is important for charities from a charity regulation point of view to have not only objects that are charitable but also to have a public benefit. If you undertake or allow your facilities to be used for reckless activities then you could have more of a dis-benefit than a public benefit. So if you endanger your adherents and there is more prejudice than public benefit from your organization operating, then expect that you could lose your charitable status in addition to many other consequences that are even more dire.   If you lose your charitable status you will need to disgorge any assets within a year or face a penalty equal to be assets.

Here is some guidance from CRA dealing with charities and risk.

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If your Canadian charity has assets/reserve and you don't have a reserve fund policy you should stop fundraising

There is a backlash brewing against charities that are putting up desperate requests for funding but when people look at their annual report, financial statements, website or T3010 they see that the charity has a lot of money or other assets. The backlash is going to be particularly harsh against charities with significant assets who for various reasons decide to be “fiscally responsible” and lay off staff or cut disbursements to other charities (for example because of the stock market decline). Every charity that has, or appears to have a large amount of assets (cash, investments, reserves, buildings etc) AND wishes to fundraise should have an explanation as to why they have those reserves. This is called a reserve fund policy.

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Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2020 - April 20, 2020 - now online

The Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp will be held again on Monday, April 20, 2020.  We have been doing our Boot Camp once a year in Toronto for over ten years.  Given the circumstances, we have converted the event to an online full-day program.    Same content – just more accessible to people outside of Toronto and in the current circumstances a necessity.   You can register for your ticket now.  Those who sign up will be provided with the recording after the event and it will be available to them for a period of one year. We are very pleased that although we had a few cancellations the number of recent registrants is higher than the cancellations.   We now have 119 registrants.

This is a one-day boot camp on compliance and standards issues for Canadian registered charities. You can find out more information and register for the online full-day program here. This Boot Camp will cover the differences between for-profits, non-profits and registered charities and why in some cases you may wish to have one or more of each to have maximum impact. It will focus on matters that are significant for any operating charity surrounding revenue generation rules, receipting, transparency, and protecting your charity against risks. Topical issues such as collaboration, foreign activities, political activities, the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CNCA) and Ontario Non-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) will be touched upon as well.

We are really looking forward to being with everyone on April 20, 2020 and for those who that dates become difficult but who are registered, they will be able to access the Boot Camp presentation at time that is convenient for them after the event.


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CAA announcement on COVID-19 crisis worth reading

I have gotten so many useless emails from companies talking about continuity of services etc.  I thought I would share this email from CAA South Central Ontario that I thought was impressive.  Essentially they are giving healthcare workers and first responders, whether members or not, free roadside assistance in Ontario during this crisis.  They also announced that “When we’ve got extra capacity amongst our fleet of vehicles and drivers, we are working with these organizations to assist with delivering vital supplies where they’re most urgently needed.”

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Blumberg Segal LLP Update for Clients and Friends - March 23, 2020

We are working hard to ensure that we can continue to work with our non-profit and charity clients as they are facing some of their greatest challenges. For some, it is dramatic changes such as cancelling major fundraising events or having to close down programs.  For others, it is a massive surge in beneficiary need that requires their response.  For others, it is the need to dramatically change the whole orientation of the organization in a very short period of time. 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 and social media to assist charities and non-profits.


Our last update on our website on March 15, 2020, seems so long ago!  The world is changing so quickly.   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 will be done electronically over the next few weeks.
  • 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 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 8 available courses that we currently offer.  For example, we will be launching a 4-5 hour course on foreign activities and cross border philanthropy in the coming days.
  • For many years we have strived to do electronic filings, where possible, and now with the CRA CHAMP 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.


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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Upcoming Events and Programs:

Blumbergs’ Charity Law Boot Camp,

Blumbergs’ online courses on certain charity law issues;  and

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.