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News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Advocacy and Public Policy

Comply with lobbying and other political advocacy laws

Charities and other not-for-profits involved in lobbying and other political advocacy must comply with evolving laws governing these activities. Even amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the landscape continues to shift.

 

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If your Canadian charity has assets/reserve and you don’t have a reserve fund policy you should stop fundraising

CRA in its Fundraising Guidance explains the importance of having a reserve fund policy. By the way this is not “new”. The guidance has been around since 2012.

 

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The new Form T3010, Registered Charity Information Return

In November 2019, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revised Form T3010, to reflect recent changes in the law governing political advocacy. All registered charities and Registered National Arts Service Organizations (RNASOs) must complete a Form T3010 each fiscal year.

 

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ON government access to information disclosure on ONCA – so many pages and so little said

Since February 2019 there has not been any update from the Ontario government about ONCA coming into force. As we have noted before the Ontario government is no longer referring to ONCA coming into force in early 2020. A few months ago we put in a freedom of information request on ONCA and the computer company developing the new ONBIS system. We just received the answer to my ATIP request and needless to say it does not answer either of the questions with there being some significant redactions.

 

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The charities and the Canada Elections Act amendments series

Two major changes to the field of political participation received royal assent on December 13th, 2018: changes to the charities’ political activities rules in the Income Tax Act, and changes to the Canada Elections Act.

 

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Ontario court strikes down limits on non-partisan political advocacy by charities

An Ontario court decision rendered on July 16th may completely change the rules about political advocacy by Canadian charities. The decision struck down the law limiting a charity’s non-partisan political activities. This affects every Canadian charity hoping to get public support for policies relevant to its charitable purposes and activities.

 

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Alberta moves to strengthen its lobbying law: Proposed legislation would be among the strictest in country

If amendments to the Lobbyists Act, introduced on April 11 by the Government of Alberta, are passed by the Legislature, the Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018, would make Alberta one of the strictest regulators of lobbying in the country.

 

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Back to school: A new world for foreign universities

The system of rules imposed on registered charities are complex and are imposed both on the collection of revenue and its spending. In theory, all of these rules now apply to foreign universities.

 

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Charities can now help businesses in the aftermath of disasters

aftermath of disasters

In August 2017, the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) updated its Guidance CG-014 on community economic development (“CED”) activities and charitable registration. There were a number of updates to the Guidance, but the most significant was the inclusion of the statement that charities are now able to support, on a more long-term basis, the efforts of businesses that are helping to rebuild communities affected by disaster.

 

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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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“All or substantially all” – A look at CRA’s political activities test

Given that the Minister of National Revenue is considering the results of the recent Consultation Panel on the Political Activity of Charities which provided suggestions on the political activities test it may be worthwhile to look at a specific aspect of the test which relates it back to the related business rules (and social enterprise). […]

 

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Church and religious organizations: Maybe Adam and Eve could have appealed their sentence

We are often contacted by charities seeking to insulate themselves from potential legal action by disgruntled former members of their organization. This typically results from situations where the individual has been kicked out of the organization for specific misconduct. Although, for the most part, these disputes result in acrimonious name calling from time to time, these matters are litigated. A recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal is one circumstance where an irate former member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses took the matter to Court.

 

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Political activities: Consultations may have side effects

As our readers know, the new government has taken steps to revamp the restrictions on political activities by charities, by dismantling the political activities audit program and by promising a new approach following consultation with the public and members of the charities industry. It is important, however, to note that the changes may not only effect the charity realm as Nova Scotia Community Interest Corporations have similar restrictions.

 

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Cannabis legislation and regulation

The Liberal Party of Canada made the legalization of marijuana a priority during the 2015 federal election campaign and now the Liberal government has taken a step toward enacting that promise. On June 30, 2016, the Government of Canada launched a Task Force to advise it on the design of a legislative and regulatory framework for legal access to cannabis. The prescribed framework was the Government’s commitment in the 2015 Speech From the Throne to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to cannabis.

 

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