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Top Canadian charity law issues by Mark Blumberg

Here is our list of the Top Canadian Charity Law Issues by Mark Blumberg. Hopefully, it provides a good overview of the most common charity law compliance issues for Canadian registered charities with an emphasis on concerns from the Charities Directorate of CRA.

 

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Not-for-profit boards need a succession plan for their CEOs/EDs

Notwithstanding the vast differences between for-profit and not-for-profit entities, both need succession plans to quickly and effectively replace CEOs/EDs, whether the departure is planned or abrupt.

 

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Implement effective governance practices in not-for-profits

There are increasing pressures on not-for-profit boards to implement effective governance practices. The growth in the sector and the increase in financial, cybersecurity, and other risk factors have fuelled pressures on not-for-profits to be more accountable to its members, donors and other stakeholders.

 

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Upcoming deadlines and changes for charities and other not-for-profits

Charities and not-for-profit organizations need to be aware of some upcoming changes to rules and laws.

 

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Legal issues for charities and NPOs on social media networks

It is recommended that an organization implement policies and procedures that minimize the legal risks associated with using social media. This includes training protocols to educate volunteers and employees on these risks.

 

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Senate of Canada to study charitable sector

On January 30th, 2018, the Senate of Canada passed a motion to appoint a Special Committee of the Senate to review issues related to the charitable sector in Canada. The Senate confirmed that the Committee’s general mandate will be to examine “the impact of federal and provincial laws governing charities, non-profit organizations, foundations, and other similar groups, and to examine the impact of the voluntary sector in Canada.”

 

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Gala event gone bad – President’s Club Charitable Trust

We report on this gala event not to comment on the legalities from the English law perspective, but to offer some preliminary comments on how Canadian law might apply if the President’s Club Charitable Trust’s fundraising event had happened in Canada. Canadian law requires employers to take steps to provide a workplace free from sexual harassment, with significant fines possible.

 

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Tax court addresses clergy residence deduction for religious teachers

The clergy residence deduction provides for a limited deduction for housing provided to a member of the clergy or supplied by a member of the clergy. It is a deduction that has existed for a long time and seems to have been designed to address the situation of a member of the clergy who is provided with a manse by a local congregation, but who may be expected to use the house in the course of clergy duties.

 

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Not-for-profits need a plan to determine whether to take a stand or policy position

Not-for-profits should continuously assess current and emerging issues to determine whether to take a stand or policy position. Emerging issues may be strategically important to the organization and are often time-sensitive; the opportunity to take a stand on an issue may be fleeting because attention may soon be re-directed to something new. Not-for-profits will need […]

 

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Revenue Generation for Charities

The Canada Revenue Agency’s policy statement, “What is a related business?”, describes the rules charities need to follow when considering a revenue-generating activity.

 

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Withholding on foreign workers

Charities spend a great deal of time and energy focusing on audits from the Charities Directorate. While this attention on the Directorate is justifiable it is important to recognize that charity regulation is only one function of the Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”) and that charities are answerable to the CRA for many of its activities.

 

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Charities and not-for-profits: Beware the usual rules

Charities and not-for-profits are obviously subject to a layer of laws that are related to their special status. Often overlooked though, is that they are equally subject to the same rules and regulations as other economic actors. Indeed, sometimes there are linkages between these two worlds making the need for good legal awareness that much more critical.

 

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CRA’s Report on the Charities Program 2015-16

In January 2017, the CRA released its Report on the Charities Program 2015–2016, which provides interesting insights into Canada’s charitable sector. A common thread weaving through issues related to obtaining and maintaining charitable status is the need to create, maintain, and report/file information required by the Charities Directorate and the Income Tax Act.

 

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CRA revises position on the retention of church envelopes

As a condition of charitable registration, charities are required to keep proper books and records. This requirement not only enables the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) to audit charities efficiently, but it also ensures that charities are able to justify and validate the information provided on their T3010, Registered Charity Information Returns. One of the most common […]

 

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Observing the impossible law

That charities are subject to laws that cannot be obeyed is symptomatic of several problems. In part this can be traced back to the federal government’s lack of constitutional jurisdiction in legislating in this area (a topic we have written about many times). But the role of the courts in ensuring that laws meet the principles of natural justice has become muddied with the long record of losses by charities at the Federal Court of Appeal. However, the solution to this particular problem—including some of the more problematic parts of the political activities tests may be simpler than redrafting the constitutional division of powers.

 

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