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Canadian Charity Law List

July 2020


Transparency in the Canadian Charitable Sector and the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return Online Course

The issue of transparency and the charity sector is being widely covered at the moment.  Every year we do a 3-hour course on transparency and the T3010.  On August 5, 2020, at 1 PM we will have our course Transparency in the Canadian Charitable Sector and the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return available online for the first time.  Failing to deal with transparency can be very costly for a charity, its reputation and the reputation of those involved in the charity.

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We have recently added two new online courses for Canadian charities

We have recently added 2 new full-day courses namely Fundamentals of Running a Canadian Charitable Organization/Operating Charity and Fundamentals of Running a Private or Public Foundation in Canada. These are in-depth courses which will help those who run operating charities and foundations in Canada understand the regulatory and compliance issues that they have to deal with.  We also have many other online courses that are available

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If the T3010 annual charity return improves perhaps the charity sector and transparency will also improve

In 2012 I had suggested certain additional questions be added to the T3010. There are many groups actively opposing any greater transparency in the sector and so it is disappointing but not shocking that there is today less transparency in the T3010 than a decade ago.

If you have suggestions for questions to be added to the T3010 let me know. I am definitely cognizant that organizations have limited capacity for completing a more complex T3010 form. One day CRA will look at revising the T3010. Here are some suggestions for additional questions that they may want to ask.

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Mark Blumberg's written submission to the Finance Committee on transparency in the non-profit and charity sector

Here is my Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the Upcoming Federal Budget on Transparency and Accountability in the Non-profit and Charity Sector.  I provide 10 recommendations and the top two are:

  • Recommendation 1: That the Federal government amend Section 241 of the Income Tax Act in order to allow the CRA to disclose serious non-compliance with legal requirements by a registered charity, Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations or certain other qualified donees.
  • Recommendation 2: That the Federal government amend Section 241 of the Income Tax Act in order to allow the CRA to disclose to the public information contained on the T1044 Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return.

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WE Charity, ME to WE and WE Charity Foundation - is the story complicated enough yet?

Many people are struggling to understand the CSSG and WE Charity story.   Partly it does not help that information is coming out daily that could have all been released weeks or months ago.  In addition, there are really three interrelated stories and some people are more interested in some of the stories than others.

My view is that to understand the story there are essentially three components to the story and here is a very short summary of them.

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What is WE Charity Foundation? It is a wee story I tell you. In the story you will learn about transparency or lack thereof in the charity sector

What is the WE Charity Foundation? It is a charity that probably no one had heard of until recently when the Canadian government decided that it was uniquely qualified to receive a $912 million grant. According to the Kielburgers “WE Charity Foundation does not hold WE Charity real estate assets” and “Regarding your  question about the WE Charity Foundation: It is a legal entity that never previously operated nor held any funds for any purpose, and was created in part to manage legal liability,” [Global News]

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Some recent Finance Committee meetings on WE Charity and the CSSG

The Finance Committee has had a number of meetings to inquire into the CSSG and WE Charity and we will try to make it easier to find the meetings and related documents on this page.

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WE Charity filings with Corporations Canada

WE Charity is a Federal Corporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”).  The CNCA is corporate legislation that applies to both Canadian non-profits and charities that are set up under the CNCA.   As it covers a number of different types of entities, not just charities, the CNCA has relatively few requirements for a CNCA corporation.

Here is the We Charity’s Corporate Profile Report from July 11, 2020.  Is it ok?  Is there something wrong? Does it look fine?

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Corporations Canada moving forward to extend deadlines for AGMs etc for CNCA corporations

As we have noted previously, the Federal government has brought in a new bill C-17 dealing with various issues especially extending CNCA deadlines for CNCA financial statement disclosure and AGMs and now that bill has received Royal Assent this week.  Passing the bill will not automatically extend deadlines for CNCA corporations to have their AGM but it is an important step.  There still needs to be an order approved by the Minister before any timelines are actually changed. Some groups have already requested and received an extension until the end of the year in a simplified process that we have discussed earlier.

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CRA releases letter on whether an entity is eligible for CEWS and discusses public institution

Here is a CRA letter on whether a public institution is eligible for CEWS.

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CRA Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Application Guide

Here is an application from CRA relating to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

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Lengthy FAQ from CRA on wage subsidy

Here is an FAQ released by CRA on the Federal wage subsidy.

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Some compliance trends or task over the next 6 months for Canadian registered charities

Here are a number of trends or compliance suggestions for charities over the next six months.

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Ontario gradually reopening under Stage 2 - will have impact on NPOs and charities

Ontario is gradually reopening. In the Ontario government’s A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2 the Ontario government sets out its plan for reopening. Charities should pay careful attention to requirements that relate to their activities.

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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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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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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. This course explains the rules for working with non-charities, even in times of crisis such as these.

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New course on restricted gifts in Canada by Mark Blumberg

We recently launched a new course on restricted gifts for Canadian charities: “Restricted Gifts – Managing the Opportunities and Dangers of Restricted Charitable Gifts“.  For every course, I need to have a picture and for this one, I picked a horse. Why a horse you might ask? Is it because one of my staff loves horses. Perhaps. But truthfully it is because there are two different extremes when it comes to thinking about a gift to a charity. One can be summarized as “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” – the donor is wonderfully generous, whatever they want we should give them, we should not ask too many questions and we should not seem in any way to be ungrateful. On the other hand, is the image of the trojan horse – literally a donor through a “generous” gift causing tremendous problems for a charity. Whether it is because the donor has a sketchy reputation, the donor is a very controlling personality and wants to continue controlling the funds or the donor has very specific ideas about how the funds should be spent which are at odds with those within the charity or may even seem like a great idea today but in a year or two perhaps not so much. In the age of COVID-19 we see how tens of billions of dollars are inaccessible to help – often because of poorly thought through restricted gifts.

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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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Pre-budget consultations for the 2021 budget - due August 7, 2020

The Federal Finance Committee has announced a pre-budget consultation.  If you are interested you can participate by submitting a brief by August 7, 2020. Here is a news release.

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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 Directorate Business Resumption Plan and Audits

CRA has just published its plan for the resumption of full activities.  In this article, we discuss the resumption of the Charities Directorate as well as their audits.

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CRA notice on charity applications – yes CRA is processing charity applications

CRA has been processing charity applications during the COVID pandemic – even when they were “shut down”.   This recent CRA notice advises charities that if they have a deadline to respond to on a charity application that the deadline will be extended (makes good sense) and that charity applications will not be closed just because there is no response.  Keep in mind that this is a dual-edged sword – if you take longer to respond to CRA’s requests your charity application will also take longer.  It also discusses other aspects of the notice for charity applications.

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Further extension for T2 and T1044 filing deadlines for June, July and August 2020 filers

CRA has previously announced that the T2 Corporation Income Tax Return (the T2) and T1044 Non-Profit Organization (NPO) Information Return for non-profits and others that was due between March 18, 2020 and June 1, 2020 can be filed on June 1, 2020. Now CRA has also announced that T2s and T1044s that are due in June, July or August 2020 can be filed on September 1, 2020.

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Corporate Requirements and Changes

COVID-19 and AGMs for Federal non-profit corporations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”) - UPDATED

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. For those who wish 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, Corporations Canada has just implemented a streamlined process that can be used to request an extension.  Here is our updated article COVID-19 and AGMs for Federal non-profit corporations under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”)- May 13, 2020 which reflects the new process for requesting the AGM and financial disclosure extensions.

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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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Upcoming Events and Programs:

Blumbergs’ online courses on certain charity law issues;

Transparency in the Canadian Charitable Sector and the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return Online Course;

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.