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.
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 […]
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.
While non–profit organizations and charities are usually busy carrying out the purposes of their organization, record keeping often takes a back seat to other priorities. However, good record keeping practices by a non–profit organization or a registered charity should not be overlooked.
For most Canadians and Canadian Charities the Anti-Terrorism rules are a red herring to be reviewed only in the rarest of situations, if at all. However, recent events in Israel provide some motivation for Canadian Charities doing work abroad to take a closer look at these rules. According to international news reports the Israeli authorities have arrested the Gazan head of an international Christian charity on the allegation that he was funneling international aid donations to Hamas.
The Ontario Ministry of Finance is proposing a new regulation under the Employer Health Tax Act, to include special Employer Health Tax rules for registered charities. The new regulation could be effective as early as January 1, 2017.
Whether it is assisting Syrian refugees to settle in Canada or helping those fleeing from floods and fires, the goodwill of the people and charities in Canada always make headlines. In times of disaster, it seems many charities want to raise money and get on the bandwagon to help those in need. Although this may be a laudable goal for charities that want to show their benevolence, sometimes it could simply get them into trouble.
The relationship between non-profit members and directors is sometimes akin to the relationship between parents and their newly-licensed teen-aged drivers. The key to the family car grants the teenager new freedoms, but sometimes, a parent’s only option is to reclaim the key. Members elect or appoint directors, delegating to them the power to manage the corporation. Corporate statutes and by-laws restrict the ability of members to participate in the management of the corporation once the directors hold the reins. Often, the only way for members to effect changes that the board opposes, is to reclaim the reins, by removing existing directors and appointing more amenable ones. http://canlii.ca/t/gh81g” target=”_blank”>Vaughan Community Health Centre Corporation v Annibale (2015 ONSC 2559 (CanLII)), recently examined the roles of members and directors, and the importance of adhering to corporate by-laws and statutes.
One of the unstated pillars of gift planning is to find ways of assuring a donor that his/her wishes will be carried out after death. Unfortunately, this can be a double-edged sword. While it may help convince a donor to give now the future needs of a charity can be difficult to anticipate. Consequently, it is important to balance flexibility with respect for the donor’s wishes when discussing gift planning arrangements.