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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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What is the CRA policy on political advocacy activities carried out by registered charities?

Registered charities have special concerns when it comes to the legal and administrative application of the Income Tax Act. To maintain charitable status under the Act, a charity must devote substantially all of its resources to charitable purposes and activities—and avoid excessive political activity…

 

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Proposed Saskatchewan law would regulate lobbyists

A new Bill currently before Saskatchewan’s legislature would regulate lobbying in the province. Bill 120, the Lobbyists Act, would require persons who are paid to lobby elected officials to register their lobbying activities with a proposed government registry. The Bill contains numerous exemptions, which some critics say weaken the proposed law, but it will add a valuable layer of transparency to government, and may be strengthened in the future.

 

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Contract administration – beyond the handshake agreement

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for not-for-profit organizations to find they have entered into a contractual relationship that did not receive the required level of oversight, discussion and approval. Such contracts dramatically increase the risk of harm to your organization.

 

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First Reference author and collaborator Jeffrey Sherman named Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants

Jeffrey D. Sherman is the lead author of all four volumes of First Reference’s Internal Controls Library: Finance and Accounting PolicyPro (including Operations and Marketing PolicyPro), Information Technology PolicyPro and Not-for-Profit PolicyPro. While we knew our internal control publications were in good hands before, we don’t mind saying we’re especially proud to have Jeffrey’s name on them now.

 

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New rules arriving soon for non-profits in federal jurisdiction, Ontario

You not-for-profit organizations and charities out there probably remember that, in the not-too-distant past, the federal and Ontario governments enacted new laws governing the activities of NFPs. Well, some expect these laws to come into force within the next six months. That’s sooner than you probably think.

 

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Canadian charity law checklist features compliance issues

Charity and non-profit lawyer Mark Blumberg offers a compliance checklist for Canadian charities via the GlobalPhilanthropy.ca charity assistance project.

 

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Volunteering: a pleasure or a burden?

After I joined the board of directors at a not-for-profit arts organization, it didn’t take long for me to wonder how I’d balance my new obligations with the rest of my day-to-day life. I’d volunteered before, but only informally. Now I have regular responsibilities, mainly meetings and fundraising. I’ll probably invest 70 to 80 hours volunteering with the organization this year. It’s a worthy cause, but it’s also worthwhile to question the time commitment.

 

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What qualities make a good non-profit director?

How can a not-for-profit organization ensure that its board members are living up to their responsibilities? How will they know whether their performance measures up to expectations? Can wide-ranging assessments of board members’ performance provide useful information to individual members and the board as a whole to help the board and its organization reach their potential?

 

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Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act

Ontario’s legislature wasted no time following the passage of the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act to enact its own Act to revise the law in respect of not-for-profit corporations (Bill 65). The Bill received royal assent on October 25, but the government hasn’t set a date for it to come into force yet.

 

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Moving forward on the HST

We last discussed British Columbia’s and Ontario’s transition to harmonized sales taxes in March, and now they’re here. In fact, as you well know, they’ve been here for more than two months, and not everyone is happy about it. British Columbians in particular are angry, and have called for a referendum on the issue, which will take place next September. Ontarians have once again shown their stoic side as the government tells them what’s best. While many have complained, no one has made a significant attempt to repeal the tax.

 

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Provincial fund to help not-for-profit organizations with infrastructure costs

If you work in the not-for-profit sector, chances are that your organization performs some sort of community service, quite possibly helping disadvantaged persons or designated groups, such as visible minorities, Aboriginals, persons with disabilities or addictions, or women. For this reason alone, not-for-profit organizations are essential to the well-being of our communities and cities. But you already knew that.

 

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Ontario introduces not-for-profit corporations act

In late May, Ontario Bill 65, the not-for-profit corporations act, received second reading in the provincial legislature. This is the culmination of several years of consultation with the not-for-profit sector.

 

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Amendments to PIPEDA disappoint privacy watchdogs

On May 29, the federal government introduced Bill C-29, the Safeguarding Canadians’ Personal Information Act, which makes substantial changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Bill had been in development for several years, and one of its primary objectives was to address a significant gap in PIPEDA, the issue of mandatory disclosure of “material” breaches of personal information by the companies or organizations responsible.

 

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Not-for-Profit: The perils of bad governance

When a board of directors, senior staff, volunteers and members of a not-for-profit are marching to the same beat, an organization can do great things and win the admiration of the community at large. But when they fall out of step—for example, when the board loses control of the executive director, or the organization squanders the respect of its members or volunteers—things can go very wrong, very fast.

 

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Charities, not-for-profits and the Income Tax Act: recent developments

I recently read a couple of articles dealing with the relationship between not-for-profit organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency, particularly with respect to fraudulent charitable tax receipts and what non-profits can do about accidental profits.

 

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