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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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Overview of record keeping obligations for non-profit organizations and registered charities

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.

 

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Israeli arrests provide lessons for Canadian charities

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.

 

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Ministry of Finance accepting comments on new Employer Health Tax rules for charities

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.

 

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Even in the face of disaster, charities should not stray from their purposes

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.

 

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Non-profit members and directors must adhere to corporate statutes and by-laws

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.

 

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