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Canadian Charity Law List

March 2020

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CRA Charities Directorate announces extension of T3010 filing deadlines till December 31, 2020 in response to COVID-19

The CRA announced on Friday night 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.  While this does not solve the issue of the AGM deadlines, it 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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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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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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"Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses" will also help charities

Here is a document from finance released today 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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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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Blumbergs releases new Canadian Charity Legal Checklist for 2020 by Mark Blumberg

Here is an updated Canadian Charity Legal Checklist by Mark Blumberg.  It is a checklist for Canadian registered charities to assist them with managing compliance issues.  We use it as part of our informal risk reviews that we do for registered charities. It focuses in on top CRA compliance issues.

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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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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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A discount for Blumbergs online courses until April 1, 2020

Over the last year, Blumbergs has released 8 online courses.   In case you are interested, we have provided until April 1, 2020, a 50% discount coupon for new registrants wishing to access our Blumbergs charity law courses.  We realize for some people now is a particularly stressful and busy time – others have to stay home, cannot access work and perhaps looking for something to do.   Once a course is purchased you have access to the course for a whole year.  Here is a link to all our courses. The coupon for 50% off is CanadianCharityLaw50now

 

The courses include:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If you require pricing for a group or multiple licences let us know.

 

 

 

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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.  With the current uncertainty around coronavirus, 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 less worry and risk.   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.

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.

 

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CRA replaces RC59 with Form AUT-01 Authorize a Representative for Access by Phone and Mail

CRA has said that they will no longer accept the RC59 Business Consent for Offline Access and now as of today one will need to use the new Form AUT-01 Authorize a Representative for Access by Phone and Mail.  

The new form is quite important because it allows a non-profit or charity to authorize someone to communicate on behalf of the charity with CRA. If you are not on the CRA system and/or authorized then CRA will not be able to discuss the charity’s affairs with you.

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Very surprising statistics from the Charities Directorate on recent charity registrations

I recently looked at a couple of ATIP documents from the Charities Directorate and I was quite surprised at the decline in the number of charity applications that CRA is accepting. These statistics go back to 2000.

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Upcoming Webinars for the Canadian Charity Law Association

The Canadian Charity Law Association is delivering some upcoming webinars.  The next one is on foreign activities on Thursday.  Registration is free but space is limited. Topics are subject to change.

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Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2017

If you want an overview of the charity sector from T3010 data you might find our Blumbergs Canadian Charity Sector Snapshot 2017 to be helpful.  2017 is the last year that there is currently full data available from CRA.

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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