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Canadian Charity Law List

July 2021


Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2021 - online

Every year Blumbergs has its Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute.  This year for the second time we will be doing a “mini-institute” – very virtual, much shorter and more affordable but covering a number of topics that are of concern to Canadian charities.  So please join us on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, for the 10th Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute.  Registration and introductions will begin at 12:30 PM EST and the Institute will run until 4 PM EST.

We will be covering a number of different topics and they will be posted closer to the time.

It will be a half-day of practical legal and ethical compliance information geared toward charities, professional advisors and those interested in regulatory issues affecting charities and the non-profit sector.    The price is $125 for the Institute.  There is an early bird special of $95 for a limited time.

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If there is a Federal election called soon NPOs and registered charities need to pay attention to rules for political activities and third-party advertising

So the rumour mill says that the Liberals may call a Federal election in August.

Hopefully, we will not have the misinformation about charities and elections as we saw in 2019.

Essentially, if you are a registered charity there are 3 sets of rules that are relevant to your participation in “political activities” around the time of the election. There is the Income Tax Act (Canada) limitations on registered charities which applies only to registered charities and not NPOs.  There are Canada Elections Act and Third Party Advertising registration requirements that can apply to both NPOs and registered charities. Finally, there are Lobbying Act (Federal) requirements that NPOs and charities need to be mindful of in a Federal election.

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“Confidence in charity leaders has fallen sharply over the last two decades – what does that mean for the sector?”

In this excellent article by Steven Ayer, he writes that confidence in the charity sector has fallen considerably over the last two decades.   The article “Confidence in charity leaders has fallen sharply over the last two decades – what does that mean for the sector?” is definitely worth reading for anyone who cares about the charity sector and the important work that it does.

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Canadian Federal Pre-Budget Consultation for 2022 Federal Budget

The Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) has launched its annual Pre-Budget Consultations for the 2022 Federal budget.  If you wish to make a written submission you can do so on the FINA website.  All submissions need to be submitted by Friday, August 6, 2021.

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Blumbergs’ Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations for the Canadian Federal Budget 2022 with a focus on Transparency and Accountability in the Non-profit and Charity Sector

Here is the Blumbergs’ Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the Upcoming 2022 Federal Budget.  We offer 11 recommendations to the Finance Committee.

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The new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) is targetted now to come in later this year

I was in a session with the Ontario government recently related to user feedback for the new Ontario Business Registry (OBR). In that session, they advised that the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) is targetted now to come in later this year. It will be launched together with the Ontario Business Registry (OBR). They noted that there are a number of interrelated regulatory changes that need to take place for the OBR and ONCA to be proclaimed/brought into force and that the Ontario government hopes to give as much notice as possible of when it will happen. They said at the very minimum they will try for 1 month’s notice but the target date is within this calendar year.

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New Ontario Business Registry (OBR) will be launched

I recently received this note from the Ontario Government when I signed up for a mailing list relating to the new Ontario Business Registry (OBR) which will replace the ONBIS. The OBR will be launched at the same time as ONCA and I have discussed my concerns around the transparency provided by the OBR here. Here is the note from the Ontario Government:

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Grantmaking in Canada can be improved immensely but eliminating structured arrangements is dangerous and a red herring to the real problems with our sector

With respect to a recent bill passed by the Senate, but not the House of Commons, relating to structured arrangements/direction and control we have prepared the following blog posts with our concerns about the bill and its ultimate impact.

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Almost every charity should by now have access to their CRA My Business Account (MyBA) for charities

It has been over 2 years since CRA has been offering CRA My Business Account (MyBA) for charities.  There are a large number of transactions that can be completed on the CRA MyBA and it is often quicker to do them online than by mail. The most important transactions include filing your T3010 Registered Charity Information Return and if you are a non-profit that is not a registered charity then filing your charity application.   But there are many other tasks that can be completed with CRA.   CRA has a lot of information on the system on their website. Here is an infographic from CRA on the MyBA system for charities.

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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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CRA has revoked 14 charities for cause since January 1, 2021, also there is currently 1 penalty and 2 suspensions

I recently took a look at the CRA Charities Listing for groups that were revoked as a result of audit and there were 14 groups listed as revoked as a result of audit.

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Lots of media coverage on the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is a registered charity in Canada

A few weeks ago a Canadian registered charity called the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was involved in a scandal when it was discovered that its president had hired a private investigator to surveil the Chief-Justice of Manitoba who was apparently presiding over a case that the JCCF was involved with. This raised numerous issues relating to legal ethics, the legality of doing surveillance on a judge presiding over your case, not to mention whether it is appropriate for a Canadian registered charity to be engaged in allegedly illegal activities.

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Good news for Alberta and New Brunswick non-profits that wish to move to the Federal Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”)

Corporations Canada has made it easier for Alberta non-profit corporations under the Societies Act (Alberta) and New Brunswick non-profits under the Companies Act that wish to move to the Federal Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”). They have also made it easier for CNCA corporations to move to the BC Societies Act and the New Brunswick Companies, although this will probably not affect many groups.

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Canadian charities giving to Indigenous Charities and Qualified Donees - 2018

In this article Canadian charities giving to Indigenous Charities and Qualified Donees – 2018, Sharon Redsky, Wanda Brascoupe, Mark Blumberg and Jessie Lang reviewed the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return database for 2018 to see how many gifts and the value of those gifts were made from Canadian registered charities to “Indigenous Charities” and certain Qualified Donees such as First Nation Governments or ‘Bands’ (listed as “municipal or public body performing a function of government in Canada”). Together we refer to them as “Indigenous Groups”.

It appears there were 284 grants to Indigenous Groups out of 28,164 that were over $30,000.   So just over 1% of grants were to Indigenous Groups.    The total amount given by Canadian charities (including charitable organizations, public foundations and private foundations) to Indigenous Groups was $46,887,535.  This is about ½ a percent of the funds granted.

Even though Indigenous people are about 4.9% of the population, Indigenous Groups received just over one-half a percent of gifted funds.  As Indigenous people account for 4.9% of the Canadian population then Indigenous groups are receiving about 1/10th of the funding that they would receive as a result of population size, even if one ignores issues of need.  Indigenous Groups are getting about $1 for every $178 given to non-indigenous groups.

Just to put these total numbers in context, there are 11 non-Indigenous charities that each received more than all the Indigenous Groups in Canada combined in 2018.  As well, Brigham Young University, a foreign registered university and therefore a qualified donee received about $73 million in that same year from Canadian charities.  So, one foreign university received about 1.5 times more than all Indigenous Groups in Canada. One Christian religious private foundation in Cambridge, Ontario, in 2018 received more than twice what all the Indigenous groups in Canada received.

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New online course - Should Our Canadian Business Establish a Corporate Foundation?

We have created a new online course, Should Our Canadian Business Establish a Corporate Foundation?  This course will discuss when it may be advantageous for a Canadian business to launch a corporate foundation. Whether you are a large bank, small construction company or global media company, if you have a strong desire to do corporate social responsibility or have a positive impact in society it may make sense in some cases to have a corporate foundation. Such a corporate foundation could be a non-profit or a registered charity.

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Ontario publishes regulations for new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) - will it be brought into force on July 1?

A number of regulations for the new Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations (ONCA) have been published in the Ontario Gazette. This raises the question we asked on June 19, 2021 of whether ONCA will come into force on July 1, 2021? It is possible but impossible to know as the Ontario government has maintained a high level of secrecy over developments relating to ONCA. Probably more likely is that ONCA will be brought into force in January 2022 but we will see. Having the regulations be published is a small step in the direction of ONCA being brought into force- there are still other steps like the online business registry working.

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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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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?
  • Should Our Canadian Business Establish a Corporate Foundation?
  • 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
  • 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
  • Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 2021
  • 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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Changes to T3010 filings for registered charities that are under the Ontario Corporation Act, effective May 15, 2021

Registered charities under the Ontario Corporations Act will be affected by some changes when filing their T3010.   CRA will no longer be using the Form RC232, Corporations Information Act Annual Return for Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations.   This will affect about 20,000 registered charities that are under the Ontario Corporations Act.   This will not affect other registered charities that are CNCA corporations, provincial corporations other than Ontario, unincorporated associations or trusts.

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In 2021 T3010s will be due within 6 months of the end of a charity’s fiscal year, unlike 2020.

In 2020 CRA gave an extension to many charities to deal with the unexpected events around COVID.  In 2021, unless the situation changes drastically, there will be no extensions.  The normal rules apply for filing the T3010 for registered charities.  ie.  no later than 6 months after your charity’s fiscal year-end.

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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Upcoming Events and Programs:

Blumbergs’ Canadian Charity Law Institute 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.