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Canadian Charity Law List

December 2019

Featured

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2020 - April 20, 2020 but don't miss the early bird special!

Blumbergs is pleased to announce that we will be hosting Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp again on Monday April 20, 2020. An easy enough date to remember!   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 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 only do the Boot Camp once a year in Toronto so sign up early to take advantage of the limited number of early bird specials and register for your ticket as the event typically sells out.

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It is giving season time again - some thoughts on effective giving

Some thoughts on charitable giving and some of the biggest mistakes that donors make.

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Mormon church has US$100 billion dollar fund and questions asked about it.

The Washington Post recently had an article entitled “Mormon Church has misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund, whistleblower alleges”.  We discuss the article and some thoughts for Canadian charities dealing with reserves, fundraising and transparency.

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Another exposé on super wealthy using DAFs in a way that raises lots of questions

There was recently an article in VOX entitled “Google’s Larry Page gave $400 million in Christmas donations. Not a penny went straight to charity. How Silicon Valley billionaires skirt charity rules each holiday season.”   The article discusses how Larry Page gives a large amount from his private foundation to a donor-advised fund or “DAF”.  It is not clear what the purpose of that donation is.

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Donor Advised Funds can have greater secrecy - it can also be a problem

This blog discusses donor advised funds and the double-edged sword when the donors are secret.

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Church of Atheism of Central Canada v. CRA - atheism is not a religion for Canadian charity purposes

A recent Federal Court of Appeal case Church of Atheism of Central Canada v. Canada (National Revenue) deals with a group promoting atheism who applied for registered charity status, CRA rejected the application, the group appealed to the FCA and the FCA dismissed the appeal.  The FCA sided with CRA that the atheist group should not be a registered charity.  Essentially atheism is not a religion and therefore could not be registered under “advancing religion”.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation is for now a qualified donee in Canada

There is a list called “foreign charities that have received a gift from Her Majesty in right of Canada”.  As the name suggests a group that gets a “gift” from the Federal government can apply to CRA to be on the list for a period of 2 years.  Being on the list means that the foreign charity can issue official donation receipts to Canadians and also receive gifts from Canadian charities.  When a Canadian charity provides funds to a foreign group that is listed as a qualified donee under this category there is no need for direction and control.  The Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation has been added till February 19, 2021.  Groups that are on the list must be careful to only issue official donation receipts in accordance with the Income Tax Act (Canada).

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Online Charity Law Courses from Blumbergs - 24/7 compliance education for registered charities

We have created several online courses for those who are interested or need to understand compliance issues that affect Canadian registered charities.  You can do an online course at your pace and redo sections if you wish.  We just launched a new course “Ontario not-for-profit corporations under the Ontario Corporations Act and dealing with ONCA” – it will help Ontario non-profits under the Ontario Corporations Act understand upcoming corporate changes and options – we have an introductory price of $49 till the end of the year.  Some of the other courses include:

Receipting for Canadian Registered Charities

Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) In Canada

Fundraising from Canada – A course for groups outside of Canada

Mergers of Canadian Non-Profits and Charities and Dealing with Uncertain Times

 

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Canadian donations are far more than that which is claimed by taxpayers on their returns

Here is a list of the amounts of donations claimed by donors on their Canadian tax forms.  We have lamented, especially the 2006 year, when there was over $1.3 billion in abusive charity gifting tax schemes claimed that these were not real donations.   However, the bigger story is not those who claim amounts they are not entitled to – but the many Canadians who don’t claim any or all of their receipted donations.  Here is a list of the years and the amounts claimed by Canadian individuals on their income tax returns.  It goes from $4.2 billion in 1997 to $9.5 billion in 2017.  Just to provide some context in 2017 Canadian registered charities issued over $18 billion in official donation receipts, even though only $9.5 billion were claimed on individual tax returns.

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Stats Can releases information on charitable donations and it is as meaningless as always

Statistics Canada every year releases a little report on “Charitable donors“.  The numbers are very detailed and very specific – but unfortunately, they are also close to meaningless.   I will let others, and there will be many, discuss the increases and decrease and the headline – which could be the same headline for many years “Fewer in number, but increasing in generosity”.  While many newspapers will cover the Stats Can piece I will focus on how useless this whole exercise is.

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Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2017

We are pleased to launch our Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2017 with information on the Canadian registered charity sector for 2017. 2017 is the last year that there is currently full data available from CRA.

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CRA

CRA will not alert public about charities that get funds from foreign states that support terrorism

Although it is not news many Canadian charities would be surprised that CRA is not prepared to disclose which charities received funds from countries listed as supporters of terrorism, namely Syria and Iran.  This is perhaps not the most important piece of information for donors and charities to be aware of, but as we have noted in the past on this blog and in our submissions on transparency relating to charities – there is lots of room for improvement relating to charities and transparency in Canada.

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CRA’s Top Five Audit Issues

If you have ever wondered what are some of the most common findings CRA has when it audits charities well here is the “Top Five Audit Issues“:

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The CRA has released an updated 2019 version of its T3010 Registered Charity Information Return

The CRA has released recently the 2019 version C of its T3010 Registered Charity Information Return.  The major changes deal with replacing political activities with “public policy dialogue and development activities” (PPDDAs).  As a result of Finance’s 2018 changes CRA no longer asks for much information on “public policy dialogue and development activities”.  CRA asks whether your charity did PPDDAs and give you a paragraph to describe the PPDDAs and how they relate to your purposes but don’t ask how much you spent on them.

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Increase in numbers of organizations in two qualified donee categories

There are a couple of important qualified donee categories that have increased in size – first the “List of municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada registered as qualified donees” which is largely aboriginal bands and secondly, the “List of universities outside Canada registered as qualified donees”.

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CRA terminates some municipalities as qualified donees

I know the title sounds a little harsh, but I recently checked a list that the CRA maintains of municipalities that are “qualified donees” or groups that are able to issue official donation receipts and yes CRA has “terminated” some municipalities like the Village of New Norway in Alberta.  Actually a quick Google search brings up “As at Nov. 1, the Village of New Norway ceased to exist as such, and officially becomes part of Camrose County, as the Hamlet of New Norway.”  I guess if your municipality disappears then CRA will list it as terminated on their database.

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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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982