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Canadian Charity Law List

January 2021


Blumbergs' Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2021

We will be having our Blumbergs’ Charity Law Boot Camp on April 21, 2021.   It is a one-day workshop that deals with questions for those considering establishing a social enterprise, non-profit or charity. There is an early bird special if you register soon.

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New Ontario Business Registry will one day become active and you should sign up now to get reminders and information

The Ontario Ministry of Government Services is launching a new Ontario Business Registry at some point over the next year or two.  This Registry will one day contain profiles on any business that is registered (including non-profit corporations), groups incorporated or licenced to carry on business in Ontario.  For now, there is no registry but you can sign up for an email list to get updates in the future about the registry.   This is not your normal email list where anyone can sign up.  This is only for groups to provide their “official email address”.

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CRA provides additional information on foreign activities by Canadian charities

CRA has now changed the way the export data and publishes that data on the T3010 online so that with Schedule 2 dealing with foreign activities now has unlimited entries for Q2, Q3 and Q7.  Before there were only a few spaces for answers and the rest were provided by a charity in a separate sheet but not included on the online T3010.

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Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint by Lucy Bernholz - a very useful critique of the NPO sector in the US

For those interested in understanding the complexity of US non-profits, much of which is similar in Canada, you might find the Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint  by Lucy Bernholz to be quite interesting.

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New course – Running and Maintaining a Federal Non-Profit Corporation under the CNCA – An Introduction

We have recently prepared a new course on Running and Maintaining a Federal Non-Profit Corporation under the CNCA – An Introduction.

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New course - Separation and Independence by Canadian Charities from Entities that are not Canadian Charities

Canadian charities can have relationships with non-charities but need to have adequate separation.  We have now added a further course on “Separation and Independence by Canadian Charities from Entities that are not Canadian Charities” which discusses the importance of having adequate separation and how to monitor and achieve adequate separation.

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New Course – Should you agree to be a director or board member of a Canadian non-profit or registered charity?

There are over 600,000 directors of Canadian charities alone. There are many more people in Canada who serve on the boards of non-profits that are not charities. Non-profits and registered charities need to have directors who are capable, caring, connected for these sectors to operate properly.


This course will give you ideas of issues, questions and items to consider before agreeing to be a director or board member of a Canadian charity or non-profit. This course cannot answer the question for you of whether you should join a particular board as it is often a deeply personal and highly fact-specific decision that is sometimes easy to make and sometimes not. However, hopefully, this course will help you make a more informed decision.  The course is currently available for free.

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OECD releases a very interesting report on different countries and how they treat philanthropy and charities

An interesting report from the OECD on charities in many different countries recently was published. It was given a really exciting title namely “Taxation and Philanthropy” so you might have missed it at the checkout at your local grocery store.  It has some interesting information on philanthropy in different countries.  It also shows the tremendous problems of comparing one country to another.  Here is a link to the report (the HTML is accessible for free) and I will probably be blogging further on it in the future.


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Going the Extra Mile: The Liability of Foreignness in U.S. Foundation International Grantmaking to Local NGOs

I recently ran across a very good article entitled: “Going the Extra Mile: The Liability of Foreignness in U.S. Foundation International Grantmaking to Local NGOs”.  It was written by three US professors namely Carrie R. Oelberger, Jesse Lecy, and Simon Y. Shachter.  Essentially for a number of reasons posited, local NGOs only receive about 10% of grants from US foundations, reflecting about 15% of funds from US foundations targeting the Global South.  They don’t look at size of local NGOs but I would surmise that if one looks at small local NGOs the problem is much worse.  We have the same problem in Canada with funders doing international philanthropy and little desire by some to fix it. I have written about this recently.

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La Presse Inc. is first registered journalism organization registered under new category of qualified donee

La Presse Inc. is now the first registered journalism organization registered under new category of qualified donee.  You can see it listed here.  As CRA notes “A registered journalism organization (RJO) is a qualified donee; therefore, it can issue official donation receipts and the Income Tax Act also allows registered charities to make gifts to an RJO.”

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Registered charities reporting the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and other Federal subsidies, on their T3010

Many Canadian registered charities will be receiving funds from the Federal government relating to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) and other programs. Some of these charities will have never received funding from the Federal government before. This note discusses how to report such Federal funding.

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Bloomberg Businessweek: "How a Charity Superstar Innovated Its Way to Political Scandal" - with coverage of the WE Charity scandal

Recently an article appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek entitled “How a Charity Superstar Innovated Its Way to Political Scandal: The Kielburger brothers courted celebrities, became voluntourism pioneers, and built a Davos-friendly model of philanthrocapitalism. Then a Canadian Covid-relief deal got people asking questions.“.  It is well worth reading and raises a number of new allegations, some of which I have heard before privately, but others which are quite new.   I am not even going to try to summarize such a long, comprehensive and well-written article by Natalie Obiko Pearson, Danielle Bochove and David Herbling.

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Some quick stats on the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”)

Did you know that there are:

  • 31,462 active CNCA corporations (As of September 1st 2020)
  • 3,364 incorporations last year alone:  (Fiscal year 2018-2019)

At this rate, we will have double the number of Federal corporations in less than 10 years.  Not bad for an act that came in in 2011.

The CNCA is a remarkable Federal non-profit act and groups who are establishing new non-profit entities should in most cases be establishing CNCA corporations and not provincial corporations.

If you need assistance establishing a CNCA corporation, or want to move from your provincial act to Federal, please contact us.

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Reminder from Corporations Canada re: AGMs in 2021 for CNCA corporations

Here is a reminder we just received from Corporations Canada relating to AGMs in 2021 for CNCA corporations and that they can be done virtually, partially virtually or by unanimous resolution in many cases.   Also if you wish to delay the date for your CNCA AGM you will need permission from Corporations Canada.   In 2020 there was an extension on deadlines for providing financials and having your AGM – one should plan on there not being a similar extension in 2021 and try to have your AGMs on time.

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PBO report on costing for proposal for donated private shares and real estate

The PBO just released a report on a private member’s bill, Bill C-256, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (donations involving private corporation shares or real estate).  The PBO report notes “This private member’s bill would amend the Income Tax Act so that charitable donations of the cash proceeds of the disposition of real estate and privately-held shares would not be subject to capital gains tax. The donations would have to be made to a qualified donee within 30 days of the disposition of the property to an arm’s length third-party.”   This note discusses the proposal and the PBO report on it.

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CBC "Pandemic tests limits of religious freedom as churches set to fight B.C.'s COVID-19 rules in court"

The CBC’s Jason Proctor wrote an article today on “Pandemic tests limits of religious freedom as churches set to fight B.C.’s COVID-19 rules in court: Group of churches claims public health measures unfairly target religious gatherings“.  It quotes Mark Blumberg and CRA on the importance of registered charities complying with legal requirements in Canada or they can face CRA compliance action.  Mark Blumberg also notes that they also may have to deal with civil litigation from survivors of COVID or their estates.  It should be noted that out of 32,000 religious charities in Canada, very few are deliberately violating the public health restrictions.

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Mark Blumberg's testimony to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) on CSSG/WE Charity Scandal

On Friday, December 11, 2020 I gave testimony to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) on the CSSG and We Charity scandal.   Here is the video of the testimony. The part dealing with procurements and the WE Charity scandal is at 14:07, I present at 14:13:30.  Lots of great questions. There is also some heated exchanges later on whether a public inquiry is necessary, whether there are other charities who could have done the project and whether WE Charity would have received $543 million. In fairness to Nathaniel Erskine-Smith who was asking some of the questions, he admitted that the WE Charity scandal was a mistake, which is a lot more than some Liberal supporters.

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Why does CRA ask about charitable "activities" and not just about charitable "purposes"

In a recent CRA document, we obtained that was released through access to information, it provides a good explanation of why CRA cares about charitable purposes and ALSO charitable activities. For most people the point is obvious. If you are going to set up a religious charity for example and have a charitable purpose, but your activities are going to be extremely harmful to the public, people would expect CRA to reject the charity application.

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Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2018

Here is our Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2018.

We recently reviewed the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return database for 2018 as part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project.  The database covers about 84,323 of the 85,800 registered charities in Canada that had filed their T3010 and were processed into CRA’s Charity Listing database by May 2020

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Blumbergs Online Courses

We have created some online courses on various charity law issues. These courses are meant to be easier to access, more convenient and available 24/7 exactly when needed. You can do an online course at your pace and redo sections if you wish.

We have courses on the following subjects:

  • Top 20 Charity Law Issues for Canadian Registered Charities
  • 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
  • Ontario not-for-profit corporations under the Ontario Corporations Act and dealing with ONCA
  • Receipting for Canadian Registered Charities
  • Should We Establish a Canadian Social Enterprise, Non-Profit or Charity and How to Do It?
  • Multiple Corporate Structures for Canadian For-Profits, Non-Profits and Charities to Enhance Flexibility + Impact
  • Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2020
  • Canadian Charities Working with Non-Charities in Canada Course
  • Restricted Gifts – Managing the Opportunities and Dangers of Restricted Charitable Gifts
  • Foreign Activities and Canadian Charities
  • Fundamentals of Running a Canadian Charitable Organization/Operating Charity
  • Fundamentals of Running a Private or Public Foundation in Canada
  • Transparency in the Canadian Charitable Sector and the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return
  • Membership of Non-Profits and Charities in Canada
  • So now you are a registered charity – What is next
  • Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2020
  • Finance Bundle

We have created various price points depending on the needs of the organization.  We also will create bulk discount codes when courses are needed across a whole organization.

We are also doing customized courses for different organizations depending on their needs. Some are focused on boards of directors while others are focused on staff.  Let us know if your organization needs a customized or live online course.


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Ontario government has extended ability for OCA corporations to have virtual meetings until May 31, 2021

The Ontario government has recently extended the ability for Ontario Corporations Act (OCA) corporations to have virtual meetings until May 31, 2021. It is contained in O. Reg. 544/20: EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY SUSPENSION PERIOD. This will be useful for some Ontario corporations that have governing documents that don’t allow for virtual meetings as they will be able to have virtual meetings despite the governing documents until May 31, 2021. Any corporation with such restrictions should consider revising their governing documents to allow for virtual meetings. Alternatively consider moving out of the antiquated Ontario system to the Federal CNCA.

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Blackbaud's "Tax Receipting and the Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities" delivered by Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg delivered a webinar for Blackbaud on “Tax Receipting and the Top Compliance Issues for Canadian Charities“ on January 21, 2020.

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Upcoming Events and Programs:

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Boot Camp 2021 – online

Blumbergs’ 21 online courses for charities;

Free 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.